Wood has been used since the dawn of tool building and humans have gotten pretty good with it. We make some of the most beautiful items and many more that are attractive and functional. Wood furniture is one of the most sought after styles in household items. But time and incorrect wood cleaning can produce wear and tear and weaken the wood as well.
In ages past, wood cleaning took only oils and elbow grease, but people didn’t have to worry about specialized shiny finishes or heirloom pieces. Nowadays there are so many products on the market, it’s hard to choose which one is truly going to clean your wood furniture and leave no ill effect, on it or on you.
If you are interested in Do It Yourself wood cleaning projects you can clean your furniture yourself. There are some tests that can indicate if you are working on a finish and if you successfully clean the piece, you’ll need to select and apply a new finish afterward. Dusting with a soft cloth is the first step. Try to get into any crevices and grooves as well as working around joints. Don’t use a rough duster since it can scratch the wood. Your cloth of choice should be soft and lint free.
Proper wood Cleaning is important in the maintenance and ongoing life span of your wood surfaces.
If you find areas that have a lot of grime, it’s okay to use a very gentle brush like a baby’s toothbrush or the brush attachment of a vacuum but go lightly, again this is to avoid scratching.
The next step is to use a mild dish detergent diluted with water. Test this first in an inconspicuous spot. Dab the detergent on with a cotton ball or cloth and give it a few minutes. If nothing adverse happens, like a color change or loss of varnish, it’s okay to prep a bucket of diluted detergent and wash down the piece.
Do not let the water sit. Washing should be performed by a quick wipe with a soapy sponge in the direction of the grain, and then a wipe down immediately. Water cannot sit on wood even if it has a varnish.
Test your varnish with mineral spirits. This needs to be used in a ventilated area. Dab some on the piece with a cotton swab or ball and see if it wipes finish off. If it dissolves in the alcohol, it’s likely shellack and if not it’s a varnish or heavier polyurethane. If you need cleaning after this, the piece will likely need professional refinishing.
As you can see, there’s more to cleaning your wood furniture than it seems. It’s best to buy a product that is made with your furniture in mind. If you have questions or are not sure if you should have a professional look at the piece, give us a call. We make wood cleaners at Wash N Seal, so we know a lot about wood.