Cleaning Products for Wood Furniture


With new cleaners popping up on the market all the time, folks may wonder what options are best for cleaning their wood furniture. Perhaps surprisingly, two of the most popular products at the top of the list have been around for years. These two companies in particular have found products that work, each with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Dozens of other products are out there, too, but they also come with suggestions and cautions.


  • Oil soap, especially that manufactured by Murphy, is a longstanding wood cleaner that people have been using for years. It refreshes and deep cleans the wood, leaving it shiny and gleaming. Oil soap comes in a liquid bottle or spray, both of which are dabbed on a cloth before wiping on the wood. This method of cleaning should not be done too often --- once every few months is sufficient. This method also takes longer than some others because the oil soap is wiped on and then wiped off, creating double the work.


  • Wood polishes that are usually sprayed on a cloth and then wiped on the wood are great for dusting. They can also help create a protective barrier on the wood to keep it safe from spills and stains. Although companies such as Pledge promise that polishes do not create any "waxy buildup," an area should be tested for some time to make sure that is true for every particular piece of wood furniture. Some of the older or softer wood may not take well to polishes.


  • Several manufacturers now make wipes, which are individual, disposable dust cloths with a dab of cleaner that is specially formulated for use on wood. These may be the easiest and safest things to use on wood, but they can also become quite costly. Both Murphy's and Pledge make wipes that contain their wood-cleaning products, or folks can look for other wipes, or wipes that attract dust with static electricity. Wipes are good for frequent cleaning, but not for the deep-down junk.


  • Wood cleaners don't have to clean wood alone. Many nonabrasive products that are used on fiberglass, glass and other surfaces are also okay for use on wood. This option may cut costs if a household only has a few wood items, ensuring a specific, costly product doesn't have to be purchased for a single bureau. Folks should never just assume a product that is good for another surface is equally good for wood. Only use multi-surface or multipurpose cleaners on wood if the label specifically states it's okay. These products usually come in a spray, but can also include a foam or liquid used to dab on a cloth.


  • Never use anything too wet on the wood, such as a cloth drenched in water or too much oil, as it can warp and damage wood if it gets into the crevices. Also be wary of what type of cloth you use. Make sure there are no loose threads that can get stuck in crevices or grooves, and make doubly sure there are no buttons, zippers, metal parts or hard materials stuck on a cloth that can scratch the wood. Even quills from a feather duster are strong enough to scratch some surfaces.

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  • Photo Credit Photo by Ryn Gargulinski
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