Removing Wax Buildup on Antique Murphy Bed?

Removing Wax Buildup on Antique Murphy BedI bought a beautiful 1890s Murphy bed all original. It has wax build up in all the crevices. It even appears to have been waxed over old dust so it's bumpy around the decorative scrolls. How can I safely remove the build up without damaging the piece?


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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
March 3, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would start cleaning with Murphys Oil Soap.

October 28, 20180 found this helpful

No, don't use oil. It will oxidize over time and turn the wood black.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
March 5, 20183 found this helpful
Best Answer

If this wasn't so old, I'd tell you to strip it, sand it, and refinish it. But considering this is really old that one won't work.


You're basically going to need a soft bristle brush, buck, vinegar, and water. This will take a lot of time to clean. Mix 1/2 water and vinegar in a small spray bottle. Spray a small area on the wood, let it sit for a few minutes and now use the brush to start cleaning the deep crevices. You'll need to have a clean cloth to wipe this off.

You can try some small pieces of steel wool to get the hard parts off. Don't rub too hard because you can remove the finish and leave marks behind.

March 7, 20180 found this helpful

Thank you I am trying the vinegar water solution and it's working. Taking my time to do this right. Thank you for your infgo.

March 4, 20180 found this helpful


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
March 5, 20181 found this helpful

This may be a valuable piece of furniture so I would think seriously about whether to ask a true professional for an answer to your question.


  • Different types of wood could react to any cleaning method in an entirely different way so if you try anyone's suggestions I would strongly recommend doing a test spot and leave overnight to see how the wood reacts.
  • Almost all professional sites say to not use any type of oil cleaner on old furniture as it will darken (almost black) any places where the original finish has worn away and it cannot be removed.
  • The most often suggested way to clean away wax buildup is with a half & half solution of white vinegar and water.
  • There is no best way to clean a finish. It depends on the kind of dirt. NOTE: Use a water wash sparingly--water can loosen old glues.
  • Here is part of a site's recommendation for this type of work.
  • Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Dampen a soft cotton, lint-free cloth with the solution and use it to wipe the surface of the piece to break down and remove the wax buildup. Follow the grain of the wood with each stroke. Replace the cloth with a new one as the wax buildup transfers to the cloth's surface.
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  • Here is a link to the full site's recommendations:
  • You have a very large piece of furniture so this will be a big undertaking - don't be disappointed with your hard work - start on all unseen places to see how it looks before tackling the front sides.

Here is a link to a discussion about cleaning vintage/antique from Antiques Road Show:


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