Cleaning Painted Wood Furniture?

Category Furniture
Painted furniture adds a colorful touch to your decor. However, when cleaning you want to be sure not to damage to painted finish. This is a page about cleaning painted wood furniture.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 10, 2016

My desk has fire damage from smoke only. The original base paint is a light color, then gold painted sentences cover the top and legs to tell a story. I have been afraid to touch it. Hopefully the fresh air has helped any smell over the past 5 mths. Wow that long? Appreciate any helpful advice:) Thank you.


February 15, 20170 found this helpful

What kind of damage? Is it just smell? Discolored? Paint bubbled? We need more info.

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February 17, 20170 found this helpful

Put crumpled newspapers in the drawers. That will absorb some of the odor.

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March 13, 2016

I have a dresser that is yellow in color. It's very old. How can I clean it?


August 22, 20170 found this helpful

"English furniture polish" always works for me.

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August 23, 20170 found this helpful

I use Guardsman Furniture Polish. It cleans and polishes.

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July 26, 2006

I have just bought white wooden furniture. I would like to know how do I keep this clean without removing the paint off with strong cleaners.


Natasha from Malaysia


By Margie Minard (Guest Post)
July 27, 20060 found this helpful

I just helped my VERY pregnant daughter clean her house, including the white painted doors, hand rails, etc. and she is most impressed with the Soft Scrub!! There is a gel and a grainy type, either one with bleach. Personally, I just love either type. Use it all the time on my smooth top electric range.

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July 28, 20060 found this helpful

Murphy's Oil soap...When I was pregnant with my first child, we used my HUSBAND'S bassinet. But my MIL didn't have time to clean it, so I did it. No fumes, nice olive smell. And it is great at breaking down dirt, not paint.

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July 21, 2015

I have this gorgeous red lacquered and painted Chinese cabinet that is in dire need of cleaning and re-lacquering. Some of the lacquer is in tact, but a lot is now almost matte. So I'm guessing I have to clean it off wiithout damaging the artwork.

Has anyone done this who could give me some tips please. By the way I'm in Spain so no proprietory brand names please. I will never be able to find them here!




February 7, 20180 found this helpful

I would suggest wiping it with a soft damp cloth. For the lacquer, maybe lightly sand it where its wearing thin, and put a fresh coat of laquer on. I don't think that the old needs to be removed first. That surely would be fairly destructive to the pretty artwork. Lacquer and varnish will tend to fill in the flaws of the first older coat and should look fresh and newly done with a new coat.

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February 8, 20180 found this helpful

Be careful about restoring anything yourself if this is an antique. You can ruin its value. It may be worth it to talk to an antiques dealer first

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November 3, 2011

I have a family heirloom trunk that my grandfather painted in a style similar to tole painting. It has a heavy brown patina of dirt and probably smoke all over it. I would like to clean the yellow background but on a trial section. Baking soda removes some of the overpainting along with the dirt. I am not sure what kind of paint he used, but I remember this piece from the early 1950s and I think it is much older than that.


By Tom L.


November 7, 20110 found this helpful

To start with why don't you try just plain water. This is how they clean valuable paintings that have hung for centuries. Dampen a paint brush, the kind used for oil painting. Get a half inch wide one. Dip it in water, lightly blot then brush a small spot to see if it works. If it looks like it is coming clean continue. This method will not get the chest soaking wet or damage the paint. Blot dry when you are finished with a spot. It will take a long time but you will preserve the chest.

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January 23, 2010

Water spilled onto the surface of a decorative painted and varnished bench. It soaked a bright pink Post-It note pad. The pink color soaked into the surface of the painted bench and stained it. Rubbing it with a damp cloth did nothing. Any thoughts on how to fix it?


By Cherylr from NJ


September 9, 20180 found this helpful

I don't have any first hand experience with this exact problem, but... I would try a very small amount of a product called goo gone. It's used for removing gum residue from price tag stickers on various products. Try a very small amount on a small area. May work.

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