How to Clean Wood Furniture

How to Clean Wood Furniture (Including Wooden Shelves and Tables)

Wood furniture makes a beautiful addition to your home. It adds a timeless, classic style that can bring the charm of the outdoors inside. However, solid wood furniture also requires special care and cleaning in order to maintain its beauty and durability. So how do you clean wood furniture properly?

Read below for some tips on how to clean, condition, and protect your wood furniture – including wooden shelves and tables.

Some Tips before You Get Started

  • When cleaning any type of wood furniture, you want to avoid any harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the wood’s finish.
  • Be sure not to saturate your furniture during the cleaning process. A damp cloth is enough to remove dust and restore shine.
  • It is also important to wipe in the direction of the grain of the wood instead of against it; this will help to prevent scratches or other damage.

Prepare Your Cleaning Supplies

  • Get some dish soap or another mild pH-neutral soap. If you prefer to purchase a specialized wood cleaning solution, we recommend milder products like Murphy’s Oil soap.
  • Also have a soft microfiber or cotton cloth, as well as a dry rag or towel, handy. Stay away from scouring pads and steel wool, as these may damage the finish.
  • Keep a bucket of warm (not hot) water by your side.
  • If there are scratches or discolorations on your furniture, you can use linseed or olive oil to help cover them up.
  • If you want some extra shine afterwards, purchase some furniture polish.

How Do You Clean Wood Furniture Properly?

To clean your wood furniture in the least abrasive and most efficient way possible, follow these steps: dust, condition, oil, and polish. We cover each step in detail below.


The best way to keep your wood furniture looking new is by dusting it every week. Dust accumulates quickly on wood surfaces due to their porous nature; if left unchecked, this dust can not only cause dullness and discoloration over time, but also be abrasive to the surface of your furniture.

When dusting, we recommend using microfiber or cotton cloths–or even feather dusters. These are gentle and won’t scratch or damage the surface of your furniture. Make sure to dust off even the hard-to-reach areas like the legs and crevices between drawers and arms on chairs or sofas. This helps to prevent dirt buildup that can scratch the surface over time.


Wood furniture needs occasional conditioning to preserve its natural beauty. As a result of exposure to sunlight and moisture, natural oils found in solid wood can evaporate over time if not replenished periodically–resulting in cracking or discoloration.

After you’ve dusted, you’re ready to condition: Mix a few drops of mild soap or detergent into a bowl of warm water. Dip your rag in until it’s damp–not soaking wet. Then gently wipe down the entire surface of the furniture piece with the rag.

For tough stains like coffee or juice spills, use equal parts baking soda and water to form a thick paste-like substance. Use a damp cloth to apply this paste directly onto the stain and gently scrub the area until it comes out. When dealing with stubborn dirt or grime stuck on the surface, you may have to use a toothbrush dipped in soapy water to help loosen it up.

Note: These natural cleaning methods may not work for ink or paint. These may require chemical-based cleaners specifically designed for wood furniture. When using these types of cleaners, be sure to test them out on an inconspicuous area first before applying them directly onto the stain itself. This way, you won’t risk discoloring or otherwise damaging your furniture.

Whatever method you choose, make sure not to scrub too hard—you don’t want to damage the finish of your wood furniture. After wiping, let the solution sit for 15 minutes before once again wiping it off with another damp cloth or rag. Finally, take another dry cloth and buff the surface until it is completely dry.

We recommend conditioning your wooden furniture every few weeks. However, it is important to act quickly if you experience a spill.


If you see scratches or discolorations after your furniture dries, apply a small amount of linseed or olive oil, mixed with equal parts water, onto the surface with a soft cloth or rag. Then rub it into the surface of the wood in circular motions until it’s evenly distributed over the entire surface area. Once finished, simply buff away any excess oil or wax with another soft cloth until it shines.


If you want to add an extra layer of protection to your wood furniture after it’s been cleaned, grab some beeswax polish (or other non-silicone based furniture polish) from your local hardware store. Before polishing, make sure you clean away any dust from surfaces as described above; otherwise, you risk pushing difficult-to-remove debris into small crevices in your furniture.

Apply the polish evenly across all wooden surfaces, buffing it with a dry cloth until it shines. This will help to prevent moisture and dirt build-up in the future. Remember to use furniture polish sparingly; too much will cause build-up that can be difficult remove without damaging the finish of your piece.

To keep your wood furniture in tiptop shape, we suggest polishing it every six weeks.

How to Protect Your Wood Furniture

In addition to regular cleaning and conditioning, you may want to consider placing mats or coasters under items like lamps, cups of coffee, plants, etc. These items can cause staining or discoloration over time.

You should also avoid placing hot dishes and drinks (like tea and coffee) directly onto the surface. This can cause heat damage as well as staining from condensation.

Additionally, try to position your furniture away from direct sunlight. Due to changes in temperature and humidity levels, this can lead not only to fading, but also to warping. If this is not feasible, consider adding window treatments such as curtains or blinds to filter out some of the light.

That’s It!

Properly caring for your wood furniture is essential for preserving its beauty. Following the steps above will help to ensure that your wood furniture remains in the best shape possible for years to come.

For hand-crafted wooden shelving and other wooden furniture including stools, tables, and mirrors, visit the Timber Made website. Our pieces are made from beautiful solid pine, maple, and polar wood for the highest quality and durability.

In addition, all of Timber Made’s furniture is sealed with a protective coating to maintain the integrity of the wood—so you can clean with confidence.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team here at Timber Made. We’re always happy to help! You can reach us at 717-203-4779 or email us at [email protected]