By in DIY Tips

How To Clean Wood Furniture

How To Clean Wood Furniture

Good furniture isn’t cheap. But with a little care and attention every now and again, good furniture can last a lifetime in its original condition. Perhaps even longer.

Grime and dirt can build up on your wood furniture over the years, eventually making it very difficult to clean if left for too long. In this article, we’ll be giving you cleaning tips for wood furniture. So you can make sure that you’re doing all that you can to keep your favourite wooden furniture around for longer.

1) How To Dust Wood Furniture

It seems silly, doesn’t it? Dusting seems pretty straight forward. But there’s a difference between knowing how to dust and knowing how to dust well. The latter will ensure that your dusting doesn’t cause any scratches or marks to the wooden furniture.

  • Make sure that you dust your wood furniture regularly – once a week or every other week is recommended, depending on the accumulation of dust where the furniture is positioned.
  • Use a clean, slightly damp microfibre cloth and gently wipe the layer of dust from the surface, taking care not to press so hard that it may scratch. The reason behind using a water-dampened microfibre cloth to begin with is to collect all the dust particles onto the cloth, instead of just pushing the dust around or into the air.
  • Dusting the surface in the direction of the grain can seem a little pointless, but over time this can help the wood to hold onto its distinctive patterns.
  • Once the layer of dust has been removed, and the surface has been completely dried of any moisture from the cloth, you can go ahead and give the furniture a light dusting with a feather duster (or any soft duster) to remove any traces of dust particles. When using a feather duster, be careful with any sharp quills that may scratch your wood furniture.

2) How To Clean Wood Furniture

The most important thing to remember when cleaning wood furniture is to always make sure that any cleaning products you use is suitable for wood surfaces. If unsure, try the product on a small unnoticeable patch of the furniture, such as the back, bottom or inside of the furniture.

  • Avoid cleaning your wood furniture too frequently. Reserve cleaning only for when it is necessary, or once every couple of months. There is also no need to use spray polish every time you clean your furniture. Despite how good it smells afterwards, it’s worth resisting the temptation as over-polishing can lead to dulling.
  • Gently clean the wood with a very mild solution of the cleaning product and water, targeting any visible marks and stains.
  • Always wipe away the residue with a dry microfibre cloth once you’ve cleaned the surface, avoiding any moisture soaking into the wood.
  • If there any stubborn marks or particularly grimy areas, mineral spirits can sometimes perform miracles on these problem areas. You will want to soak a clean cloth in mineral spirits and lightly wash the marks away, before wiping away any excess with water and then drying as usual. Again, you will need to test a small unnoticeable patch for blemishes first when using mineral spirits.

3) How To Polish Wood Furniture

Polishing your wood furniture only needs to be done every few months – at most, only twice a year! Polishing is important to protect your wood furniture and should not be used as a cleaning method. Instead, view it as a preventative measure.

  • When using a new wood polish or wax, always test the product on a small unnoticeable area of the furniture first. Once you’ve found a reliable wood polish, there is no need to switch to other products if you can help it.
  • Follow step one and two to dust and clean your wood furniture before you start polishing. This will ensure a clean and dust-free surface that is ready for polishing.
  • Lightly rub the polish or wax with the grain, to create a thin and even coat over the surface.
  • Make sure that the polish is dry before buffing the surface area with a clean, microfibre cloth.
  • Some wood furniture is oiled and will therefore require an oil treatment which involves allowing the oil to soak into the wood before you wipe away any excess oil and proceed to buff the surface.

How To Clean Different Wood Finishes

If your wood furniture has a finish, perhaps stained or painted, then your cleaning method may differ depending on the type of finish. You will have to refer to the furniture manufacturer’s recommendation. If you’re unsure of the finish, it’s always best to start as mild as possible with your water-detergent solution. Then graduate to stronger solutions until clean. This way, you have total control of the strength and can test each strength solution on a small unnoticeable patch to determine which strength your furniture can tolerate.

Paint Finish

A good washing up liquid should be enough to tackle any grease and stains.

Varnished Finish

You can damp dust but avoid introducing too much moisture to the surface. To polish, apply the product onto a cloth before polishing. Treat any particularly stubborn marks with a very mild washing up liquid.

Veneer Finish

Depending on the veneer, you may run into some complications during the cleaning so it is advised you take care. If the furniture becomes soaked with moisture, it may cause the veneer to bubble or peel. If the veneer is synthetic and hard-coated, this will make it easier to wash with water and washing up liquid. Otherwise, gently wipe with a damp, clean microfibre cloth.

Stained Finish

Stained wood should be treated as unsealed wood, but take care when introducing any moisture to the finish and damp dust only.

If you follow these steps, the shine should soon come back to your wood furniture! Good luck!


If you’re shopping for new wood furniture, you might be interested in these quick links:

Elyse Trigwell

is a regular contributor to Frances Hunt’s blog with a real insight to the goings on at Frances Hunt. Her content varies from 'Pick of the Week' where she outlines the latest deals and newest trends available at Frances Hunt, to where Frances Hunt have featured latest in the upcoming furniture magazines

More Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *