how to clean grime off wood furniture
Kristina Davis

Learn how to clean grime off wood furniture without damaging the finish. Get familiar with the best cleaning technique for wood furniture.

The durability of your furniture largely depends on how you use and maintain it. When cleaning, you can damage the wood finish if you are not careful.

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Hence, you have to use the right soaps, cleaning tools, and solvents.

This guide contains the dos and don’ts of cleaning wood furnishings.

We are going to discuss the simple cleaning method and the advanced cleaning method.

Plus, we added a bonus section for those who may be interested in discovering the best cleaning soaps for their wood furniture.

Let’s get to it.

Before cleaning, you need to get a few things such as:

  • 2 Microfiber cloths
  • Cheesecloth
  • Clear dish soap or dishwashing detergents
  • Semi-solid furniture polish
  • Water
  • Industrial wood cleaners such as turpentine.
  • Mineral spirits (optional)

The first place to make inquiries about the best cleaning agents to use for your furniture is the manufacturing company, as there’s no general cleaning rule for all furniture.

How to Clean Grime Off Wood Furniture

Whether you are looking for how to clean grime off painted wood furniture or normal furniture, you can refer to the methods mentioned below.

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In case you are not certain what cleaning method you should apply first.

Start from the simplest cleaning techniques and proceed to the advanced ones if the grime is tough.

Simple Method

Follow the steps below to clean grime off wood furnishings.

Step 1. Perform the chore outdoors or in a well-ventilated garage, as the solvents and detergents can leave a pungent smell in your home.

Step 2. Dust the wood furnishing with a microfiber cloth to get rid of a good percentage of the dust particles on the surface.

Step 3. Prepare a solution of dishwashing detergent and water. If you prefer liquid soaps, dilute the mild liquid soap with water.

Step 4. Put the microfiber cloth inside the solution, then, wring it.

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Once the microfiber cloth has lost most of its liquid, wipe the wooden surface with the cloth without dampening it.

Step 5. Be quick, so the water won’t wet the surface. Use another dry microfiber cloth to remove the remaining moisture on the surface.

Step 6. In case the wood fixtures or movables have spots with tough grime or sticky stains, increase the dish soap concentration in the solution.

And focus on the stained spots until the surface is perfect. Again, avoid wetting the wood surface with the solution.

If the stains remain on the surface after doubling the soap concentration, try the advanced cleaning method.

Advanced Cleaning Method

For the first advanced cleaning method, you will need industrial wood cleaners or mineral spirits.

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Use recommended industrial wood cleaners such as turpentine and avoid the solvents that are labelled as conditioners, as they may contain oil which may diffuse deeper into the wood finish.

If you don’t know the perfect industrial wood cleaner for your furniture, a good rule of thumb is to apply it on a tiny inconspicuous spot before using it on a wider surface.

If it does not affect the tiny spot negatively, you can proceed.

Follow the manufacturer’s guide when preparing the cleaning solution.


Step 1. Dip the microfiber cloth into the solution and wring for a few minutes. Wipe the wooden piece especially the stained areas.

Step 2. Let the chemical action on the wooden surface before proceeding (about 10-20 minutes).

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Step 3. Repeat the process with another cloth. The microfiber cloth should wipe the stains this time if the solution was effective.

Step 4. When you see no dirt on the furnishing surface, wipe with a clean and dry microfiber cloth until the surface is dry.

Repeat this process until the surface is clean and shining.


1. Avoid scrubbing the wood finish with a brush or an old toothbrush. It can damage the surface and make it rough.

Plus, in the process of scrubbing with a soap solution, your wood finish will get wet.  

2. Depending on your taste and furniture, you may need to apply some wax after cleaning.

The wax returns the shining look and extends the wood’s lifespan. We recommend a semi-solid wax that has no traces of silicone.

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Apply the semi-solid wax to the wood furnishing.

3. Do not use polish sprays on your wood movables or fixtures since it may deposit a residue.

4. Avoid concentrated chemicals such as Trisodium phosphate.

These chemicals should only be used in a professional setting. Trisodium phosphate can harm you if they come in contact with your eyes or skin.

The Best Soaps for Cleaning Grime Off Wood Furniture

Are you searching for the best soap for your wood furniture?

You can opt-in for any of the three soaps, including ammonia wash, oil-based soaps, and vinegar-soap mixture.

Vinegar Soap Mixture

Vinegar is a weak acid that can deplete the layers of grime, dirt, and oil stains on your wood furniture.

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It is not just restricted to furniture; vinegar can clean many items in your home.

When used in the right proportion, vinegar works magic.

Mix a quarter cup of vinegar with a half teaspoon of diluted liquid detergent, a quarter cup of lukewarm water, and a few drops of olive oil.

Mix the ingredients thoroughly before applying them on the wooden surface.

Dip a microfiber cloth in the mixture. Squeeze and twist the cloth before wiping the wooden surface.

Vinegar leaves a pungent smell which dissipates after a few hours.

Oil-Based Soaps

There are several oil-based soap brands. Ensure the oil-based soap is specifically made for wood furniture.

You can compare different brands to know which suits you best.

Don’t forget to check users’ reviews to know what issues may be associated with the product.

Ammonia Wash

Combine a solution of water and ammonia in a ratio of 8:2 plus a half teaspoon of mild detergent.

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Ensure the mixture is mixed thoroughly before applying it to the wood furnishing. Wipe the wood finish, but don’t let it wet it.

Wipe with a clean and dry cloth after application.

The ammonia in the mixture can discolor the wood Finish if it is allowed to sink in or stay long.


We hope after reading this guide, you have enough information on how to clean grime off wood furniture.

We recommend going with the basic method first and then proceed to the advanced ones. Check out our recommendations for best places to buy furniture as cheaper rate online.