7 Easy Ways To Clean Old Wood Furniture – Step By Step Guide

Clean Old Wood Furniture

Having clean old wood furniture in good condition is a relief. You may have purchased some old wooden tables and are in search of a good quality wood table cleaner.

Or maybe you already have good wood furniture kept in the storeroom for years, and now you are planning to renovate it or create some DIY furniture.

Cleaning hardwood floors or restoring wood furniture looks quite a challenging task. But honestly, it is as interesting as any exciting thing can be.

We just need to understand how to clean wood furniture, what are the right steps to be taken, the best ways to dust wood furniture, etc.

You may also be considering, “I should polish all the unfinished furniture”.

Unfinished wood is way more challenging than finished wood. Although finished wood furniture is easier to handle, still it needs to be cleaned carefully in order to protect its polish.

Getting Started to Clean Old Wood Furniture

Before learning how to clean antique wood furniture, remember to find out what type of polish it has.

Getting Started to Clean Old Wood Furniture


Identifying the FinishIdentifying the Finish

Before starting to clean, make sure what the furniture is coated with. Is it varnished, lacquered, stained, or waxed?

Although the coatings may have been worn out, but different finishes need to be treated differently. Using the wrong method for a polish can give us unsatisfactory results.

Any type of polish on furniture surfaces often blends and then gradually forms a thick layer of grime.

In the process of removing it, you need to consider how is the furniture coated so that a suitable method or cleaner is applied based on the type of polish.

Test a small portion of the surface of the wood furniture before applying any furniture cleaner. This will help you know if the cleaner is suitable for the finish or not.

After observing the furniture carefully, start to clean.

Removing GrimeRemoving Grime

Following are the easy steps for how to clean grime off wood furniture:

  1. Get rid of the surface dust by using a soft piece of cloth.
  2. After that, wipe off the remaining grime with a slightly damp cloth. Always use a soft light piece of fabric.
  3. Keep wiping the surface using another dry cloth or a sponge every time after wiping with the damp cloth. Doing this will protect the furniture from moisture.
  4. Beginning with a light cleaning agent and gradually going ahead towards the harsh ones is better. So first prepare a mixture of water and dishwashing liquid.
  5. Soak a soft fabric in the mixture, then squeeze it and start wiping the wood furniture with it.
  6. After that wipe off the wood furniture with a dry cloth at once, in order to protect the dampness going into the wood.

Removing Bubble GumRemoving Bubble Gum

Bubble gums sticked to the wood furniture are often unpleasant to deal with, yet cleaning them is so easy.

Removing Bubble Gum


It involves some careful steps to remove the bubble gum and clean old wood furniture. The steps are as follows:

  1. Take a piece of cloth or a plastic bag, put a few ice cubes into it, and then tie the cloth or the plastic bag.
  2. Hold on the ice bag to the gum for some time, about 10 to 15 minutes or as long as needed.
  3. When the bubble gum hardens, remove the bag.
  4. Now, scrap it off.

This is how you can get rid of the bubble gum on the wood furniture. For removing the stickiness left behind, continue reading.

Removing StickinessRemoving Stickiness

Stickiness on wood can be caused by many things like glue residues, leftover after bubble gum is removed, oily hands of children, etc. Though caused by anything, it can be treated quite easily.

  1. Apply any vegetable oil to the affected area of the wood furniture. It is recommended to use olive oil.
  2. Rub the oil on the sticky part for some time and then leave for a few hours.
  3. After 2 to 3 hours, start rubbing the sticky part, this will warm up the area and the residues will become soft and removed easily.
  4. Mix a mild liquid soap with a bit warm water and scrub it gently on the affected part. Now wipe it off using a soft cloth.

Removing MoldRemoving Mold

You may come across spots of mildew or other types of molds. A mold that is not too strong can be removed through simple DIYs, however for harsh molds you need to refer to experts because they can be bad for your health.

Here is how to deal with mildews:

  1. Begin by removing the loose residues with a brush whose filaments are more flexible. It would be better to vacuum the particles at once as they are removed so that the area does not get messy.
  2. After that, add a mild liquid soap with water and make a mixture. Soak a piece of cloth in it and wipe off the leftover that is sticked to the wood furniture.
  3. As the wood restores, wipe the area with a dry cloth to protect from moisture.

Removing ScratchesRemoving Scratches

While trying to restore wood furniture, even the best wood for furniture is often seen with scuff marks.

These marks can be obstacles in the way to clean old wood furniture. You need to contact a professional if the scratches are deep, though the light ones can be treated at home.

Let’s get into learning how to fix them:

  1. Start with a sandpaper having the roughest texture. The texture of the sandpaper should be chosen according to the deepness of the grain. The deeper the grain is, the rougher the sandpaper should be.
  2. Sand in the direction of the grain. This will blend the scratches with the normal texture of the furniture. If the sanding is done in the opposite direction to the grain, the scratches will spread more.
  3. Then use another sandpaper with a comparatively smooth texture. And repeat the process that was done in the previous step. The grain will gradually start blending in with the normal texture.
  4. Step by step switching from the rough textured sandpaper to the smooth one will gently smoothen up the scratched furniture.
  5. At last, complete this process by using the finest textured sandpaper, this will smoothen up the scratches caused by the rough sandpapers. Dust off the leftover grain particles.

Remember not to use the finest sandpaper right after the roughest one. Gradually coming to the finest sandpaper will flawlessly blend the textures and smoothen up the furniture.

Restoring the FinishRestoring the Finish

There are a number of products available to restore furniture polish. Ensure if the finish is not too damaged, so many furniture polish can be found easily to make wood shine again.

Restoring the Finish

Of course, the extremely damaged finish should have to be treated by some expert. Here is a homemade furniture polish for less harmed finishes:


  1. Squeeze some lemons in olive oil and mix. The overall quantity depends on the area of the furniture; however, olive oil should be a bit more than the lemon juice.
  2. Soak a cotton ball or a piece of soft cloth in the mixture and apply on the affected area. It can also be applied on the whole wood surface of the furniture.

Pros and Cons of Wood Furniture

Following are some of the pros and cons of wood furniture.


The plus points of wood furniture are:

  • Long-lasting and strong
  • Repaired easily
  • Looks beautiful in all ages and cultures


The negative aspects are:

  • Damages with water
  • Changes it color with time


Cleaning old wood furniture is not as hard as it appears. It just needs proper analysis. Once the problem is identified, it becomes clear what should be done to treat it.

Most of the problems in old wood furniture can be treated at home. A lot of time and money can be saved by doing some effort.

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