How to Polish Iron & Wood

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Polishing the trunk's wood and its iron fittings require separate methods.
Polishing the trunk's wood and its iron fittings require separate methods. (Image: Antique Trunk image by Empath from Fotolia.com)

Polishing iron and wood require two different cleaning methods. Both materials can take on a dull appearance, but you can polish them back to their original shine. No need to take your items to a professional furniture restorer. With the right materials, you can do the job on your own. In a short time, with a little effort, your wood and iron will shine like new.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
  • Kitchen scouring pad
  • Metal polish
  • Gum turpentine
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon oil

Polishing Iron

Clean the iron with a clean cloth dipped in warm water. Use a soft brush if your cloth can't reach into and remove the debris in grooves or corners. Rub rust gently away with a wire brush, or a scouring pad used for washing pot and pans.

Apply metal polish in a circular motion with a clean rag, beginning at one corner and working your way across. Work in connecting rows going across, then down and across again. Cover all the visible iron. Allow the polish to dry according to manufacturer’s directions.

Buff the polish away in a circular motion with a clean, dry cloth.

Polishing Wood

Clean the wood. Mix 2 tbsp. gum turpentine, 4 tbsp. boiled linseed oil and 1 gallon of very hot water. Dampen a clean cloth in the cleaning solution, and wash the wood.

Dry the surface with a clean, soft cloth.

Mix 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil (of any grade) and 1 cup of water together. If you think that your house smells too much like a salad, you can also mix one part lemon oil with three parts olive oil.

Dampen a clean cotton cloth in the mixture, wringing it out well.

Buff the wood with a clean, dry cloth. Check the cloth often. When one area of the cloth becomes dirty, use another side of the cloth. Change the cloth frequently. This will protect the wood from any grit that the cloth may have picked up.

Polish the surface again with another clean dry cloth.

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