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Tips for Cleaning Wood Furniture

Cleaning Wood FurnitureWhether you just bought some brand-new wooden furniture or you have antiques that have been in your family for generations, cleaning is essential to preserving wood furniture. There are countless diverse ways to finish wood, including painting, staining, varnishing, and even leaving it unsealed. While different types and finishes of wood require specific ways of cleaning, there are universal tips for cleaning all wooden furniture pieces.


The first step to keeping your wood furniture clean is frequent dusting, a step that often gets overlooked. If you don’t dust, dirt will accumulate in layers on the wood.

While it’s important to remove dust from your furniture, you also want to capture the airborne residue to ensure it doesn’t get into the air. Using a moist fabric will pick up the dust and allow it to cling to your cleaning instrument. Make sure to be gentle with your wood furniture when cleaning and dusting, using items such as:

  • Standard duster: perfect for sensitive, breakable surfaces like lampshades, picture frames, mirrors, etc.
  • Microfiber cloth: great at picking up dust, microfiber is absorptive and versatile.
  • Soft fabrics: shirts, pillowcases, and other soft items can be great in a pinch for dusting your wood furniture

Dusting is an important part of wood furniture cleaning and long-term maintenance. Making sure you dust frequently will help your furniture in good condition.


Once the dust is removed from your wood furniture, you can begin cleaning. No matter what kind of finish your wood has, avoid multi-surface spray. If sticky areas or spots need to be removed, soak a cloth in a mild cleanser, make it damp, wipe it down, and rinse with water. Dry it quickly as soon as possible.

Specific wood polish or cleaner can be useful, containing silicone oil, which protects wood, but can interfere with refinishing efforts. If you’ve used oil polish, furniture oil, or other cleaners, they can be slippery. With wood furniture that’s been finished with polyurethane, varnish, or shellac, you have an additional layer of protection. A liquid or paste wax made for furniture can help protect this finish.

Deep Cleaning

If you’re cleaning an old wood furniture piece that you picked up at a garage sale, flea market, or even the attic, it probably needs a more thorough touch-up. Baking powder or baby powder can soak up smelly odors while you get to work. When cleaning dirty wood furniture, use water and an oil cleanser to remove initial grime, and then utilize steel wool in a cloth for more hardy dirt.

If there are scratches, paste wax or wood filler can help bring the piece back. Depending on how thick it is, you may need to apply several layers. If you’re not sure that your efforts are getting the job done, you can also consult the experts at Aaron’s Touch Up for professional help with furniture touch-ups, polishing, or repairs.