How to Clean WoodWoodwork looks beautiful in your home, especially when it’s looking its best. Learn the different ways to clean wood and how to get the most out of the wood surfaces in your home.

Know Your Woodwork

How is the wood you are cleaning finished? With oil, wax, lacquer? Knowing how your wood has been treated affects how you can clean it. When in doubt, test products in an inconspicuous area on the wood and start with the gentlest cleaning method. Below is a guide on common finishes and how to clean them.

Painted Wood

This is not a demanding or finicky surface. Warm soapy water will be fine. Grab a soft sponge or rag and scrub the woodwork until clean. Dry with a clean rag.

Stained Wood

Dust with a barely damp rag. If for some reason that’s not possible, treat stained wood as you would unsealed.

Unsealed Wood

Unsealed wood soaks up moisture, so avoid water. Treating the surface with a natural oil, such as jojoba or linseed oil, will remove residues from the surface of the wood and help keep it clean. Use a clean dry rag to apply the oil to the wood and buff it in. This will protect the wood as well as remove dirt. You can also wax unsealed wood.

Waxed Wood

You can clean waxed woods with a soapy wood cleaner. If you make your own soapy wood cleaner, use soapflakes rather than a detergent (detergents will dull the wax). Don’t get your table too wet and dry with a soft cloth.

Wondering how to apply wax? It comes in several forms, but liquid works best for adding shine to woodwork.  Just pour some wax on a microfiber cloth and apply using smooth circular motions. It’s easy and dries quickly.

Varnished Wood

Lacquer, polyurethane, shellac are common varnishes. Dust these items with a barely damp rag.

Dusting Pro Tip!

Dust in the direction of the wood’s grain. Doing this over a long period of time will help preserve distinctive patterns in the wood.

Clean Wood is Just Better

Woodwork represents an investment of time. It takes careful craftsmanship to create beautiful wood surfaces, and it takes careful maintenance to ensure they look their best. Invest time in making your wooden surfaces shine and your home will reap the rewards.