How to Clean Dirty Wood Furniture
Knowing how to clean and protect the wood on your furniture pieces properly is necessary to ensure the wood’s longevity.
So, what is the best way to clean dirty wood on furniture pieces? The best way to clean wood is by using a product that is specifically designed for that type of finish. If there is no such product available, a general-purpose household cleaner can be used, but always read the label carefully to ensure it is safe for use on wood.
Keep reading to learn about this common situation in which many homeowners find themselves.
Cleaning Based On The Wood Finish
To clean wood, you need to know what kind of finish is on your furniture, which is mainly determined by its age, use, and care.
If your furniture was made pre-1950s, it probably has an oil/wax finish. If it was constructed between 1950 and 1990, it probably has a varnish or lacquer finish. And, if your furniture was made after the year 1990, it is most likely finished with a water-based (latex) paint.
If you do not know the year that the furniture was produced, there are some general cleaning methods that we will get into later.
If Your Furniture Has An Oil/Wax Finish
These finishes are generally easy to clean without damaging the wood, but they may darken light woods over time. There are many different types of cleaning products available on the market that can be used safely on this type of finish, such as Murphy Oil Soap®, Old English® Wood Cleaner, and Conditioner™, Minwax® Wood Cleaner and Restorer™, and Endust for Wood®.
The exact choice depends on the condition of the wood surface, so read labels carefully to determine which product will work best.
If Your Furniture Has A Varnish/Lacquer Finish
These finishes are not as easy to clean as oil/wax finishes, and harsh chemicals or solvents can damage the surface. A good quality wood polish can be used to clean and protect these finishes, such as Howard Feed-N-Wax®, Briwax®, and Old English® Wax Polish for Furniture™.
Be sure to read the product label to ensure it is safe for your type of finish.
If Your Furniture Has A Water-based (Latex) Paint Finish
These finishes are the most difficult to clean and should only be cleaned with mild detergent or soap, such as dishwashing liquid.
Avoid using any type of solvent or ammonia-based cleaner on this type of finish, as they can damage the surface. A soft cloth or sponge should be used to apply the cleaner and then wiped off with a clean, dry cloth.
If You Are Unsure Of The Finish
If you are unsure about which cleaning agent to use, a general rule of thumb is to start with a mild detergent and work your way up to harsher chemicals if needed.
Be sure to read the labels on all of your products carefully and follow the directions explicitly. Using too much of one product or using the wrong product can often do more harm than good.
For dusting, soft cloth or brush will work best. Avoid using feather dusters as they can push the dirt and dust further into the surface of the wood.
In addition, never use water to clean wood furniture – it will only cause the finish to swell and become damaged. If the furniture is particularly dirty, the wood may require a gentle cleaning agent in addition to just dusting.
After you have removed all the dirt and grime from your piece, finish by doing a final pass with a dry cloth or pad to remove any streaks that may have occurred during the cleaning process.
Be sure that when you are finished, no moisture remains on the surface of the wood, as this will cause damage to the pieces. If small amounts of moisture remain after you think you have finished, use a soft cotton cloth to dab away any excess liquid until none are remaining.
Things To Know Before Cleaning Wood Furniture
Before cleaning wood, inspect the piece carefully. Look for dents, nicks, and other imperfections, as well as signs of wear, such as surface scratches or dust in crevices. Use a soft cloth to dust away loose particles.
If there are any cracks or splits in the wood, or if it is chipped, do not clean it with water. This could cause the wood to swell, which will prevent it from shrinking back into place when it dries.
Remember that no solvent or ammonia-based cleaner should be used on any type of finish because they can damage the surface. A soft cloth or sponge should be used to apply the cleaner and then wiped off with a clean, dry cloth.
After you have removed all dirt and grime from your piece, finish by doing a final pass with a dry cloth or pad to remove any streaks that may have occurred during the cleaning process.
How To Prevent Wood From Getting Dirty
There are a few ways to prevent your wood furniture from getting dirty. First, always use a placemat or coaster when you are sitting down for a drink. This will help to protect the surface from spills and condensation.
You can also buy a furniture polish that will help to seal the wood and make it resistant to dirt and dust. Finally, try to keep your pets off of the furniture. Pets can track in dirt and hair, which can be challenging to remove. If necessary, you can try using a pet hair remover to clean up any messes.
Why You Should Regularly Clean Your Wood Furniture
Wood furniture is often a beautiful addition to any room in your home. However, if it is not properly cleaned and maintained, that beauty can quickly fade.
Here are some reasons why it is important to clean your wood furniture regularly:
- Dust and dirt can build up on the surface of the wood, which can lead to scratching and damage over time.
- Sunlight can cause the wood to fade and become brittle.
- Spills and moisture can cause the wood to warp and rot.
- Pets and other creatures can leave behind dirt, hair, and droppings, which can be challenging to remove.
- Furniture polish can help to seal the wood and protect it from dirt, dust, and moisture.
How Often Should I Clean My Wood Furniture?
Wood furniture needs not only care but also protection. Think of it as taking care of your skin (with moisturizing creams) and protecting it against sunburn (by wearing sunscreen). The same applies to wood furniture; you need regular maintenance (care) and adequate protection (e.g., by applying suitable varnish ).
Ideally, it would be best to clean your wood furniture at least once a year. However, if you have pets or small children, you may need to clean it more often. Dust and dirt can build up over time and cause the wood to deteriorate.
If you do not have the time or energy to clean your furniture yourself, you can always hire a professional to do it for you. Just be sure to ask them about the products they plan to use, as some products can be harmful to wood furniture.
How To Protect The Wood
There are a few ways to protect the wood on furniture pieces.
- Use a sealant or varnish. This will help to keep the wood from being damaged by liquids and will also help to keep it looking new for longer.
- Use wax or polish. This will help add a layer of protection and make the wood look shiny and beautiful.
- Use a furniture pad. This will help to protect the wood from scratches and dings.
Choose whichever method works best for your needs and your budget. Whichever method you choose, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and apply them consistently. By protecting your wood furniture, you can enjoy it for many years to come.
How To Repair Damaged Wood Furniture
The first step in repairing damaged wood furniture is identifying the type of wood it is made from. This information can be found on the furniture’s label or in a product manual. Once you know the type of wood, you can find a suitable repair kit or instructions online.
If the damage is minor, you may be able to fix it yourself using a basic repair kit. These kits often contain a mixture of shellac and wood flour, along with a wax coating to protect the repaired area.
However, if your furniture is severely damaged or has been badly neglected, you may need to use a kit designed for more serious repairs. In this case, it is best to consult a professional repairperson.
How To Get Rid Of Stains on Wood Furniture
In addition to repairing the surface of your furniture, you may find that you need to remove some stains from scratches or other blemishes. If possible, try first using a cleaning agent designed for use on natural wood furniture.
If these cleaners do not work effectively enough on their own, apply them gently using a soft toothbrush and then rinse thoroughly with water before proceeding with the rest of the restoration process. Once the entire surface of the furniture has been adequately cleaned and dried, it is a good idea to apply a protective layer of wax.