To keep the wood surfaces in your home clean and beautiful without damage, you need to consider the kind of wood and the treatment it receives.
General Cleaning for Wood Furniture and Paneling
One of the first rules of cleaning wood is this: never soak it with water.
Wood is porous, and applying water will swell the pores. Water can also damage many types of finishes – the proof is that most of us have a table or desk with tell-tale rings on them left by wet cups.
While dusting with a barely-damp cloth shouldn’t harm painted wood surfaces, any application of water to oiled, lacquered, or unfinished wood is likely to leave permanent, disfiguring marks.
Can You Clean Wood With Vinegar?
It isn’t a good idea to clean wood with pure, undiluted vinegar. In addition to leaving water marks, the acid in the vinegar could “eat” certain kinds of finishes.
However, for polishing wood, a homemade treatment of half olive oil and half white vinegar can buff up stained and oiled wood finishes nicely. Simply apply with a soft clean cloth and rub in well. Blot off any excess with a second cloth.
How To Clean Wood Floors With Vinegar
- Add a cup of white vinegar to your mop bucket for extra grease-cutting power. Don’t let pools of water stand on the wood afterwards, or you may wind up with water marks, especially on darker woods.
- Stand on a towel and “walk” it around the room to wipe up any excess water.
While vinegar can be safe, DON’T use other solvents like alcohol, ammonia, or acetone-these will damage your furniture or even strip off the paint.
How To Clean Wood Floors (without vinegar)
Don’t want to use vinegar? Follow these steps to clean your hardwood floors like a pro:
- Clear The Space. First, clear the room of any furniture that is easily moveable. Chairs get in the way and are easy to move.
- Dust The Floor. Begin by sweeping or dusting your floor with a microfiber mop. Use a microfiber mop instead of a broom. This will trap dust and allergens instead of pushing it around the room. Be sure to keep the mop on the floor so you don’t release any dirt. You won’t use water in this first step.
- Apply Hardwood Cleaner. Next, you’ll lightly spray the floor with hardwood floor cleaner.
- Mop The Floor. Use a dampened wet microfiber mop pad (included in this kit) and walk it back and forth in direction of the grain. Be sure the mop isn’t dripping wet and clean up any standing water right away. It only needs to be slightly damp.
How To Polish Your Wood Floors
Want your floor to really shine? You’ll need to polish it. This doesn’t have to be done every time you clean the floor. Once every 3 months is the recommended schedule. It will really make your floor look great and protects it at the same time!
- Follow the steps above for cleaning your floors.
- Shake the hardwood polish well and spray on the floor in an “S” pattern.
- Use a clean microfiber pad to massage the polish into the wood against the grain.
- Smooth the surface with the grain.
It helps to polish your floors in small sections and be sure to start in one corner and end in a spot where you won’t have to walk over the floor for an hour. Avoid heavy traffic for 24 hours if possible. If your hardwood is heavily worn or old, you may need to think about refinishing it. Enjoy your great looking floor!
Types Of Waxes For Wood Surfaces
Adding a shine to wood furniture, especially antiques or exotic woods, is as easy as applying some wax. Waxes made specifically for wood furniture are designed to provide extra protection from moisture, dust, and stains as well as a pleasing soft sheen. Even better, if you want to refinish your furniture at any point, wax will not cause problems.
Liquid waxes are the easiest to apply, and often dry quickly, but you may need to apply more than one coat to really see results in terms of both looks and protection. The results from liquid wax usually last up to four months, depending on how much wear your furniture gets.
Paste waxes offer superior, long-lasting protection to fine wood furniture. It isn’t necessary to apply more than one coat to most woods, but the extra effort can take your wood from looking good to looking great. The hard, shiny finish given by paste wax is well worth your time for treating lacquered and oiled woods.
How To Remove Water Stains On Wood
As with stains on carpet, it’s best to treat water stains on wood as soon as possible after they happen. Blot up any excess moisture and try one of the following home remedies, depending on what you have lying around the house:
- Apply shaving cream. Leave for 5 minutes and wipe up.
- Apply real mayonnaise on a cloth. Let rest on the stain for up to 10 minutes and wipe off.
- Gently apply metal cleaner. Leave for 5 minutes and wipe away excess.
All-In-One Wood Cleaners
Finally, many products are available that treat wood while cleaning it. These products, while effective for painted, sealed, and laminated wood surfaces, should be tested in an inconspicuous place on unsealed or oiled woods before trying. These cleaners can be a convenient and effective solution for wood surfaces in areas that are frequently soiled, such as kitchens or bathrooms. Try products from Bona, specially designed to clean sealed woods. Check out our recommended wood cleaning kit below.