Cleaning Wood Furniture

October 28, 2010

Hands polishing a wood tableClean all surfaces using only a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth. Use a mild soap as required.

Avoid using wax or harsh detergent. They may damage the finish.


In order to prevent fading, do not expose any furniture to extreme sources of heat or direct sunlight.

Never place pots on surfaces or electrical appliances.

Refrain from writing without a desk pad.

Avoid contact with rubber protectors or plastic place mats on items such as lamps, radios, computers, or telephones.

Keep even humidity conditions in your home to prevent splitting.

Remove spills or liquid from furniture right away.

By Mpr3ssive from New York, NY

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September 22, 2006

I have a cleaning service and if I am dusting particularly dusty furniture, I like to spray orange oil on my rag, run hot water over it and wring it out.

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October 30, 2004

Dip an old soft toothbrush into furniture polish and brush lightly. Then buff with a clean cloth. By Peggy

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July 18, 2005

The best way I've found to clean chair and table leg or staircase spindles is to use wet dental floss. It gets into all the grooves and you can get to the dust quicker and more efficiently than by using just a cloth.

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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.

August 8, 2020

Cleaning person used some kind of cleaner that left greasy streaks on new coffee table. Any suggestions on how I remedy this?

Greasy streaks on wood coffee table


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August 8, 20200 found this helpful
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You can use equal parts of white vinegar and hot water. Use a little on a soft clothe. Finish off by using a dry soft clothe to finish drying residue.


You can also use dish detergent and water , with the same steps.

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August 8, 20200 found this helpful
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Dish detergent offers the gentlest way to clean steaks like this from a coffee table. You will need to mix equal parts of your dish detergent with warm water in a bowl. Now mix this up so that it suds up. Now apply only the suds to the table. You don't want to apply water to your brand new coffee table no matter what. Water can damage your wood and warp your table. The suds alone will clean the greasy streaks off the table. Apply the suds with a nice clean cloth and rub them around. Make sure not to get too much water on the tabletop. Now keep rubbing until it is clean and dry.

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August 11, 20200 found this helpful
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Take a slightly damp microfiber rag and squeeze a dab of white, pasty toothpaste on it. Rub gently on the surface where the streaks are.


When done, wipe off any toothpaste with a dry microfiber rag and buff lightly.

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August 12, 20200 found this helpful
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I would suggest looking for the brand name of the table and contacting the company for advice on how to clean this table as there are so many different types of finish on tables and some 'cleaners' could damage the surface.
Or; contact the store where purchased (even if it has been several months ago) and ask same question or try and get contact information on company that made the table.

I do not believe I would try anything more than 2 or 3 drops of regular strength blue Dawn dish soap (careful if it's concentrated kind) mixed in a quart of water (cleans grease off the baby ducks - right?). Use a clean soft cloth, ring out well and wipe across table - finish wiping table quickly and immediately dry/polish with a soft dry cloth.


I have used a slightly damp microfiber cloth on some furniture and dried as above - this did well but may not be the same finish as your table.

I would say to be sure you do not let anything you try on the surface stay very long or you may have more (different kinds) spots.

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October 8, 2017

I recently bought a wood dresser which has a sort of rough finish. Whenever I pass over it with a paper towel or a micro fiber rag it tends to grab and pull the material I am wiping with (I'm using Pledge on the rags).

There is now paper towel caught in-between the grooves. Can someone recommend a type of material I should buy which won't get caught in the grooves of the wood?

Cleaning a Wood Dresser with a Rough Finish


October 10, 20171 found this helpful
Best Answer

There is nothing wrong with rough surfaces, except that they can be difficult to clean at times. However, the rustic look is very in right now! This includes some things having a rougher finish.


  • As stated below, you could use a sponge to clean the rough surfaces. An old t-shirt may also work well, as the material isn't as easily caught and torn. You can even cut an old t-shirt into multiple "t-shirt rags", just be careful not to let the edges snag on the furniture while cleaning.
  • You could use an old toothbrush to get in the cracks, they are good to really scrub when you need to.
  • Refinishing the furniture would eliminate the problem, but would take away the look that you seem to really like. If you can use one of the methods above to clean the furniture well and it isn't too much of a hassle for you, then no need to refinish it.

Enjoy your new dresser!

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September 2, 2010

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


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September 4, 20100 found this helpful

Please be careful using any type of oil in a homemade recipe. I made up a recipe using oil (besides other stuff) and it too me weeks and weeks to get the gunk off my furniture!


oil seems to attract more dirt than it removes.

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September 5, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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July 29, 2019

I have a fifty year old dark pine dining room set that needs a good cleaning to make it shine again. What can I use?

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October 20, 2015

I just purchased a used cherry table with a matte finish. Down the center of the table there is a high-gloss sheen. I think it may be from the previous owner using a high gloss spray oil and then realizing they should not have. Any clue what I can use to safely remove the high gloss oil from the table, without hurting the original matte finish?

The image is dark, but you can see the high gloss down the center. Ignore the fan, still looking for the right chandelier :)

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April 5, 2015

I am trying to clean a filthy curio cabinet. It is just the wood. What can I use that I have around the house to clean the wood?

By Kim Hunter

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October 28, 2014

I just bought a used large desk (very shiny, nice cherry veneer) which has what looks like many oily fingerprints. I tried to use just a soft, dry rag but it didn't help a lot. I was afraid of using a wet rag or any chemicals to avoid causing damage. Any tried and safe method to clean the cherry veneer furniture without harming it? Thanks.

By Sue F. from Portland, OR

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June 20, 2014

I would like to give my dining room furniture a good cleaning, what is the best cleaning method and product?

By Joan


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June 20, 20140 found this helpful

Depends. Is it wood? Are you also talking upholstery chairs as well?

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April 28, 2012

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


April 28, 20120 found this helpful

I personally like using Orange Glo for my wood furniture.

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November 2, 2011

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.


November 2, 20111 found this helpful

I have redone house (wood work included) it does get build up. The dresser I have in my bedroom is way over 100yrs old, maybe I can help. If it's just build up from every day living like you said I would try plain vinegar (if you want to put lemon you can) maybe the citrus would help out, some don't like vinegar smell if its strong.The strength depends on how built up they are? So first go with 1/2 vinegar 1/2 water; if you add lemon just squirt the juice 2-4 times or 1 whole lemon. That is for quart size spay bottle. If that doesn't easily remove it add more vinegar. After you get them clean,you can make your own Murphy's type oil with either baby oil or mineral oil.If you are wanting to use a more soapy cleaner like Murphy's soap you add a squirt of dish soap to the oil. I hope this works for you. The only other thing I could suggest without seeing them is take straight half lemon with salt rubbing in a circular motion (how I clean my cutting boards or really dirty wood). Without a picture one of these will work.

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November 3, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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