My dining room chairs seem to have caked on dirt, and I do not know how to clean them. It is probably there from people's hands. I had them cleaned once, but the dirt seemed to come back.
By Barbara W.
goop, or any "waterless hand cleaner". Not the one with "grit." Use a paint brush and brush it on the top rail, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and then wipe it off with paper towels. When nothing more comes off on the paper towel, wipe it with cheesecloth or some fabric that will absorb any leftover moisture and gunk. Then buff if you feel like it.
Needs be, do it again. Does not affect the wood unless you leave it on too long so that it dries. Not caustic. Might want to cover the seat because it will drip. If you're cleaning a table, do a section at a time so it doesn't dry. Can also be used on "desk" leather. Amazing stuff.
We have some chairs with wooden arms and these have become dirty from use (dirty hands?). Does anyone know how to clean this black off the arms without removing all of the varnish and stain stain?
By cybergrannie from Ocala, FL
If it was my chair, I would just use a regular cleaner like Mr. Clean. A cleaner such as that will not damage the varnish with occasional use. I take it you are simply trying to remove grubby fingerprints and skin oils and such that has built up over time. Don't be putting any sort of oil on it, that will just add to the gunky buildup.
What is the very best furniture polish? I don't care about the price. I just bought a new real wood table and chairs and I want to use the very best. On hand, I have Pledge and Old English oil. The pamphlet that came with table said not to mix different brands/types or the wood may appear cloudy.
By Judy from Riverside, CA
Fiddes. It is from the UK and available on eBay.
To clean wood furniture, etc., pour two tablespoons vegetable oil, add 4 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 quart warm water into a container. Wash with soft cloth and dry with clean dry cloth. It cleans just like Murphy's oil.
By Betty from Fond du Lac, Wi.
Help. I made up some homemade wood cabinet polish with olive oil and lemon juice and applied to my oak and teak furniture. It looked great, but I've done something wrong because now there is a sticky film on them that everything adheres to and they look dirty and yukky.
How do I get them nice and clean again? Some of the furniture is varnished, some not. The varnished furniture seems to be less sticky. Any suggestions would be appreciated. The furniture is new and I'm really upset that I've ruined them.
Since I don't live in the U.S., please could anyone suggest something that is easily procured anywhere. Some American brand names cannot be found in Europe or else I have no idea what the European substitute would be. Many thanks.
Cettina from Malta, Europe
By Sandy in Los Angeles
Anyway, back to your problem. I think that you should just wash the furniture with your usual household cleaner. I would use Mr. Clean, about a capful in 2 litres of warm water. Since you are wanting to dissolve a layer of dirt and oil, I think you need a detergent type cleaner. Or, I would use a capful, like 20ml in 2 litres of water, of ammonia. Ammonia cleans up oil by combining with it to make soap.
I don't really think that vinegar would be very effective. Acids, which vinegar is, don't combine or dissolve with oil. Think of oil and vinegar dressing. Of course, they do have some effect, but I think you would be better off with the household cleaner. Just don't soak the wood with the cleaner. Murphy's Oil Soap is an oily product that we have here in Canada. I don't know what is used for really; I have used it to coat the inside of things when I was making plaster molds for crafts. I don't think that I would use it on my furniture. I think you would get an oily residue with it, which is what you already have.
As for the other suggestions; lemon juice and vinegar are both acids, so have a similar effect on things; one just smells better. Baking soda is a slight abrasive and sometimes scratches delicate things; it is also a base, as is ammonia, so you can use a solution of ammonia to do a similar job without abrasion or fear of scratching. Mixing baking soda with vinegar will neutralize them, as one is as acid and one is a base. I suspect that a paste of vinegar and baking soda as suggested on other posts slightly neutralizes the baking soda, but that there is not enough to thoroughly do it, so you would get virtually the same effect by mixing water with the baking soda to make a paste. Good luck with your cleaning.
Louise, Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada (08/09/2007)
Editor's Note: Green scrubbing pads are rather abrasive, so be sure to test on an inconspicuous area first.