what can I use to clean wood furniture
Kristina Davis

You can find wood furniture in every room of your house. You may be asking yourself what can I use to clean wood furniture?

You will find that wood furniture is much easier to maintain than you might have thought.

One of the great things about wood furniture is its versatility. You can always refinish the wood to match the color in a specific room. You will find yourself with a new piece of furniture every time you refinish it.

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If you are not looking to refinish but clean your wood furniture, there are several ways you can accomplish it with little effort.

You can use dish detergent, mineral spirits, and vinegar to clean wood furniture. These liquids mixed with water will help keep your wood furniture looking great for years.

What Can I Use to Clean Wood Furniture?

Wood furniture is effortless to maintain. It would be best to regularly care for your wood furniture to prevent dirt and grime from building up.

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind:

Dust Regularly

It would be best if you dusted wood furniture regularly. Include your wood furniture along with your other dusting chores.

Use soft, dry cloths or feather dusters to remove any dust and dirt.

Tip: Weekly dusting will help prevent the buildup of dirt and grime on your wood furniture.

Use Dish Detergent and Water

use dish detergent

When cleaning wood furniture, it is essential to remember that you must always start with the mildest cleaners and then move on to stronger cleaners.

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You want to avoid damaging the wood in your wood furniture.

If you notice the dirt that doesn’t seem to be coming off with regular dusting, it is time to up your game.

Try dish detergent and water. Mix one teaspoon with two quarts of water.

The first thing you need to do is test your dish detergent mixture on a small area of your wood furniture.

Find a hidden place, under the seat or behind the leg. Rub the dish detergent on it, and if there is no damage, you may continue with your cleaning.

It is best if you use a soft cloth or a sponge. Dip your cloth and wring it out until it is only damp. Start from the top of your piece and rub with the grain.

It is best to dry your wood furniture with a microfiber cloth as soon as you are done cleaning. You don’t want to leave any wet areas.

Use Black Tea

use black tea

You might want to reconsider indulging in your afternoon tea when you realize that black tea can be used to remove the toughest of grime from your wood furniture.

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The tannins or tannic acid in black tea cuts through the waxy buildup on wood.

Mix two black tea bags in two cups of hot water. Let the tea cool. Once the tea has cooled, moisten a soft cloth with the tea solution.

Always starting at the top of the piece, rub in the direction of the wood grain. Rinse your cloth in plain water and wipe away the dirt lifted with the tea.

Use the tea mixture to complete one section at a time. It is best to dry each area when finished using the tea.

Tip: It is essential to dry your wood furniture after cleaning.

Use Vinegar and Water

Many people like to use chemical-free cleaning products, so another option for cleaning your wood furniture involves vinegar.

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Mix three tablespoons of vinegar for every cup of water you are using. Add a tablespoon of dish detergent to help minimize the scent of vinegar.

You would use the vinegar mixture the same way as the dish detergent. Rub with the wood grain and wipe away any dirt. Once done cleaning, be sure to dry.

Use Mineral Spirits

use mineral spirits

Mineral spirits are 100% petroleum distillates, and they have no additives. They are similar to paint thinners, but they usually have less odor.

When the milder forms of cleaner don’t seem to be working, it’s time to bring out the big guns.

You will need to wear gloves and a mask. Apply mineral spirits in a well-ventilated room.

Put a small amount on a rag and wipe onto the wood, following the grain of the wood. Use a clean rag to remove the dirt that is being lifted.

Tip: Mineral spirits are usually lower in odor than traditional paint thinners.

What Can I Use to Clean Stains From Wood Furniture?

remove wood furniture stains

Our furniture shows the wear and tear of our everyday lives. There are some ways that we can remedy some of the accidental damage that may happen to our wood furniture.

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Here are some ways to clean stains from wood.


Forgot to use that coaster again? That’s okay! We have the solution. Ideally, it would be best to clean watermarks as soon as you notice them.

There are two ways that you can get rid of watermarks:

  1. Apply olive oil or mayonnaise to the whitened area and let it sit for about an hour. Wipe it away and then buff the site back to a shine.
  • Apply non-gel toothpaste on a cloth or sponge and rub the watermark gently until it disappears. Wipe away the toothpaste and buff it back to a shine.

Ink Marks

You can easily clean ink marks. Use a damp cloth and dip it into baking soda. Rub in the direction of the wood grain until the ink stain disappears.

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The baking soda will dull the shine, so it is essential to buff the area, so it matches the rest of the piece.

Tip: It is essential to buff after cleaning to restore the piece’s shine.

Stickers or Glue

Use a plastic scraper to remove as much of the sticky residue as possible. Apply mineral oil or olive oil to the affected area and rub gently.

It is best to apply the wood polish you usually use to restore the shine.

Mold or Mildew

clean mold or mildew

It is best to clean furniture with mold or mildew outside. Vacuum the affected piece, so any loose spores do not contaminate your work area.

If the wood is painted or stained, the mold has not penetrated the wood, so you can clean it with the water and dish detergent mixture. Use a scrub brush and gently scrub the affected area.

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If you feel that this has not given you the desired results, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and thoroughly spray the affected area.

Let this sit for an hour. Wipe the piece down with a damp cloth and then dry thoroughly.

If mold has penetrated the wood, you will need something stronger.

You can use diluted bleach. You can mix one part dish detergent, ten parts bleach, and 20 parts warm water. Apply the mixture to the affected area with a sponge or a brush and allow it to air dry.

Once dry, if there are still signs of mold, it is best to sand the area down to remove any lingering mold.

What to Use to Clean Wood Furniture Before Painting

The most important part of preparing your wood furniture for painting is to remove any dirt.

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You can use any cleaning methods discussed, but always begin with the mildest and work your way up.

You don’t want to damage the wood before you paint. Any damaged areas should be sanded down before you apply paint.

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If you have been asking yourself, “what can I use to clean wood furniture?” I hope that we have helped answer your question.

There are plenty of options for what to use to clean wood furniture and keep it looking almost brand new.

Preventive maintenance is the most important way to maintain that shiny new look of your wood furniture. You want to slow down that aging process, and regular dusting and cleaning with mild solutions will help your wood furniture look sleek.

Cleaning wood furniture does not have to be a huge chore, and doing a little weekly will help you maintain your wood furniture for years.