Wooden furniture is a household favourite. Not only is a wooden finish simple, elegant and versatile, but it also requires very little maintenance. However, regular cleaning is necessary to keep the wood looking fresh and healthy. Knowing how to clean a wooden surface is important if you want to maintain the longevity of your favourite pieces and keep them looking timeless.
There are several ways to restore a wood appearance back to its fresh, original condition without causing any damage. A little dirt can accumulate on wood over time that which is easier cleaned as soon as possible so you don't risk any markings. This is especially prevalent with tables and cabinets, which could be prone to smudging and stains.
Remember, the best cleaning methods will depend on the finish, stain and type of your wooden furniture. If you’re unsure on the details of your pieces, it’s always best to begin with a simple cleaning approach using mild solutions and determine how to continue from there.
How do you remove smudges from wood furniture?
Before using any cleaning solution on the whole item, test a small amount of product in an inconspicuous location (maybe an area on the underneath). To remove dirt and smudges, start with a mild cleanser before moving to a stronger one if the gentler one fails and implement the following steps:
- Add a drop of washing up liquid to a cotton ball or pad which is damp with water.
- Wipe the ball on an unnoticeable part of the furniture, such as the inner part of a table leg. If you notice the detergent spoiling the appearance of the test area, continue without the soap. If there is no evidence of impairment, then you are safe to continue.
- Mix the liquid and water into a bucket and use the solution to sponge down the entirety of the piece.
- The furniture should not be soaking wet. Instead, wipe the sponge lightly over the surface. Dry it thoroughly just a few minutes after letting the solution linger.
How do you get fingerprints off wood furniture?
The above process should work to remove most small blemishes from your wooden surfaces. Fingerprints, however, can be stubborn and you may need to use a different cleaning technique to achieve an impeccable finish. You can rid your wooden furniture of any unwanted prints in the following manner:
Step 1: Polish the piece of furniture as normal using a commercial polish or you can make one from scratch by mixing one cup of mineral oil with a couple of drops of lemon extract.
Step 2: Use a soft cloth to clean the wood with your polish. Always follow the grain of the wood and wipe down the surface area gently. Do not use any rapid or circular motions as this can result in swirling imprints.
Step 3: Sprinkle cornflour over the polished wooden surface.
Step 4: Buff the surface with a soft, thoroughly dry cloth. The cornflour is used to remove any excess polish and prints.
How to remove water rings from furniture
One of the most common marks to appear on wood furniture arises from people forgetting to put their drink on a coaster. Luckily, various household products are perfect for buffing out any water rings with ease. Try one of the below techniques to remove the stain and move onto the next if one does not work.
Method 1: Baking Soda
Make a paste using one teaspoon of water and one tablespoon of baking soda. Dip a soft cloth into this solution and rub the water ring gently until you see it disappear.
Method 2: Petroleum Jelly
Apply a blob of petroleum jelly lightly over the watermark and leave it to sit overnight. Wipe the jelly and watermark away in the morning using a cloth.
Method 3: Toothpaste
Place a ball of non-gel toothpaste onto a soft cloth and massage it onto the wooden surface to remove the stain. Wipe it off with a moist cloth and leave it until it dries thoroughly. If the watermark runs deep, make a stronger solution from baking soda and toothpaste. Use a dab of toothpaste and an equally-sized measurement of baking soda and mix together. Slide the paste along the grain of the wood, clean it off using a damp cloth and then when it dries, polish the wood using lemon oil.
How to clean wood furniture with vinegar
Despite it's strong smell, vinegar is a perfect natural cleaning product as it does not damage wooden finishes. Before you start cleaning, remove any cushions and items from the likes of wooden stools and dressing tables and dust the wooden surface with a cloth. You can either use white vinegar mixed with water for cleaning purposes or olive oil mixed with white vinegar for polishing.
Step 1: Measure your solution by using three tablespoons of vinegar for every cup of filtered water. If there is no damaging effect when wiping an inconspicuous area, dampen a cloth with your solution and proceed to clean the entire surface.
Step 2: Ensure that when you come to wipe down the whole piece of furniture that your cloth is damp and not overly saturated as too much liquid can be extremely damaging to the wood. Rub the furniture with the cloth and move with the grain to remove any marks. When the cloth becomes dirty, rinse it with clean water or replace it.
Step 3: Buff the wood in circular motions to remove any excess moisture. If you realise you have missed any spots, simply use the cleaning solution again. Buffing away moisture should be the last step.
Hope this helps! Fern xx