How to Clean Wood Furniture

Many people consider wood to be the best quality and type of furniture to own. But that doesn’t mean it’s immune to grime and spills, and to prolong your furniture’s lifespan you’ll need to know how to clean wood furniture safely and effectively.

Wood can be challenging to clean, as it is quite sensitive to harsh chemicals and excessive water which can damage the material. To avoid this damage, while still cleaning out any dirt, you must follow specific methods. 

This article guides you on how to clean wood furniture and what products to use. 

What this article covers:

What Can You Use to Clean Wood Furniture?

When cleaning wood furniture, the products you use are very important to the process. 

You should avoid any chemicals that are too harsh, as they can fade or damage the wood. The best products to clean wood furniture include mild soaps and detergents, like liquid dishwashing soap or cleaners that have been formulated specifically for use on wood. 

how to clean wood furniture

These should be fairly safe to use, but it is always best to do a small spot test on an inconspicuous spot of the furniture. Apply a small amount of the cleaner on the chosen spot, and leave it for around 30 minutes to see if it changes the appearance of the wood. If not, you can proceed with using it. 

Water will be a key part of the process, but it is crucial not to use too much water. Flooding the wood can lead to water damage resulting in molding, bubbling, or cracks in the wood. Use minimal water where necessary by refraining from applying water directly onto the wood, and rather using a cloth or sponge to put it on in small amounts at a time. 

If you use a brush to clean home furniture, make sure the bristles are soft and do not apply too much pressure, as this could damage the wood and/or scrub off the wood polish that acts as a protectant. 

How to Clean Wood Furniture: Step-by-Step Guide

Regular Clean

Wood furniture should be well maintained and cleaned regularly to prevent an irreversible build-up of dirt and damage, as well as prolong the lifespan of the item. 

You should be dusting wood furniture every day or two, and then doing a slightly more intense clean every week or two. 

Dust Off

First, you will need to remove any loose dust or debris on the surface of the wood. Do this by using a feather duster or a dry cloth to dust off the surface, making sure you do the entire item including the corners and any crevices.

best way to clean wooden furniture

This will get rid of all surface dirt so that you avoid dampening the dust which makes it stick to the wood. 

Mix & Apply the Solution

Next, you will prepare your mild cleaning solution. Do this by combining two cups of lukewarm water with a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in a small bowl. This solution can also be used to clean wood walls.

Dip a soft cloth into the solution and wring it out properly to remove any excess water. Using the damp section of the cloth, wipe down the entire surface of the furniture item. 

Wipe the item starting from one corner and working across, following a pattern of sorts, as this helps you track which areas you need to still clean. If the furniture has moving items, such as a cupboard with drawers, make sure you move these and clean each part, as well as the interior. 

Rinse & Dry Furniture 

Once you have wiped down the furniture, use a clean cloth that is lightly dampened with plain water to wipe away any remaining water and solution from the surface. Leaving a soap, even if it is mild, on the wood indefinitely may lead to fading or discoloration so it is key to rinse this. 

best way to clean wood furniture

Leave the item to dry for about 30 minutes before returning it to its usual spot. If you are cleaning outdoor wood furniture, it should dry even quicker. 

Deep Clean

If you have had a spill or mess on a wood furniture item, or you have neglected to clean it for a long period, you may need to do a deep cleaning of the wood to remove stubborn marks and stains. This is also applicable to cleaning old wood furniture.

A deep clean on wood furniture should generally be done at least once or twice a year, even if you do regularly clean the wood. 

Remove Dust

The first step is removing any loose dust from the wood furniture. Use a dry cloth or duster to sweep off any loose dust or debris before continuing with the cleaning process. 

Combine Solution & Apply

Mix one part baking soda with one part cold water, and you should have a solution with a paste consistency. Baking soda is a fantastic home remedy for any type of cleaning that requires the removal of old dirt and stains. 

clean old wood furniture

Apply the solution to the wood, and use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the paste on the wood. A good, safe option for a brush that will not damage the wood is the Truck Mount Forum Handi Groom Brush, as this is perfect for use on delicate materials. 

Repeat this a few times over the entire surface until you see the dirt start to clear. You can use a CRB machine for this step, too.

Rinse & Dry

Using a cloth that is lightly dampened with cold water, wipe off all of the baking soda solutions from the wood. 

clean wood furniture

Leave it to dry fully, and check to see whether any of the dirt or stains remain. If so, repeat the process. This method works well when cleaning antique wood furniture, too. 


Cleaning oak furniture, or any other type of wood, can be a tricky process as you want to remove dirt and stains while keeping the wood safe from damage, but with the right methods and products, it can be done with relative ease. 

It is important to maintain the upkeep of your wood furniture throughout the year by dusting and cleaning regularly, which prevents a serious build-up of dirt and stains that may damage the furniture beyond repair. 

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