How to Clean Wood Furniture
Clean Wood with Wax or Varnish Finish
If your wooden furniture has a finish such as wax or varnish, clean it every few months with lemon oil (which is actually scented mineral oil). Slightly moisten a rag such as a soft T-shirt or an old cloth diaper with water, then add a little oil. Rub the rag over the furniture to pick up dust. Buff the surface well so that you leave a minimum of residue.
Freshen up Old Paint
If you like the paint on an old piece of furniture but it appears a bit worn (and you don’t want to repaint or refinish the piece), rub a little mineral oil into it. This will get rid of caked-on dust and brighten up the color. An alternative way to clean a painted piece is to wash it with mild dishwashing liquid.
Remove Wax from Hinges
To remove wax buildup from hinges, try scrubbing them with a small steel wool soap pad. (Be careful not to scrape the adjoining wood.) Wipe the hinges clean with a damp cloth.
Prevent Chairs from Scratching Floor
If your wooden chairs are in a room with a waxed floor, wax the bottoms of the chairs’ feet so that they slide easily along the floor. This protects both the chair and the floor.
Remove Candle Wax
To get candle wax off your wooden tabletop, gently scrape or peel up as much as you can get without gouging the wood. Then use a hand-held hair dryer to soften the wax that’s left. Hold the dryer several inches away from the wax so that the wax doesn’t heat up too much. (Otherwise it will actually adhere to the wood.) Once the wax is soft, blot it with a paper towel. Repeat if necessary.
You can also use an iron to remove candle wax from wooden furniture. Again, gently scrape as much wax as you can from the wood. Then place three or four layers of paper towels or brown paper bags on top of the remaining wax. Hold a hot iron over the layers of paper, but don’t touch the iron to the paper (the heat could burn right through the finish on the wood). As the wax melts, the paper will absorb it. Repeat if necessary.
Remove Tablecloth Adhered to Table
Rub a liberal amount of mayonnaise over flannel that has come off the back of a tablecloth or table pad and stuck to your tabletop. Let the mayonnaise sink in for about an hour, then wipe up the muck with a clean paper or cloth towel.
Erase Crayon Marks
To remove crayon marks from your wooden furniture, rub mayonnaise into the affected area. Let it soak in for a few minutes, then rub the area clean with a damp cloth.
You can also use dry laundry starch (available at supermarkets) to remove crayon marks. Mix the starch with water according to the package instructions. Apply the mixture with a paintbrush and let it dry. Wipe the area clean with a dry cloth.