Caring for Wood Furniture: Tips for Dusting, Polishing, and Natural Cleaners

How do you keep your wood furniture looking great with a natural, healthy shine and color? It’s a simple question that gets complicated once you start comparing polishes and finishes, natural vs chemical cleaners, and other factors. Today, we’re covering the basics with the best way to clean wood furniture!

Perhaps now more than ever, quality wood furniture is a valued investment, whether it’s residential or professional. And it’s important to invest some time and energy into cleaning it properly!

What type of wood furniture do you have?


Ultimately, any cleaning advice will depend on what type of furniture you have, and you should always start by figuring out what type of wood was used to make your furniture. Try to determine any type of wax or polish used as well. If you’re unsure, contact the manufacturer and they can give you a better idea of how to proceed.


And, if you’re trying any of the cleaning tips described here, be sure to test them on the least visible part of your furniture, such as the undersides or the back.

Brush Up on Your Dusting


While we’re often quick to think about cleaning or polishing wood furniture, dusting is an essential first step. While regular-use furniture, such as table tops may not need dusting, other areas such as shelves and even chair legs should get regular attention.


We may also be quick to grab the feather duster, but that may not be the best way to keep wood furniture clean—it kicks up dust, allowing it to settle elsewhere. Instead, use a soft, lint-free cloth, an old t-shirt, or even a diaper.

Some cleaning products, such as Dust Mop lift dust, clean, and polish; however, you should always proceed with caution, depending on your furniture’s finish. No matter what you use to dust, avoid silicon sprays.

The Nitty Gritty: Quick Cleaning Tips for Wood Furniture


Before cleaning any wood furniture, it helps to know the type of wood, polish, and/or finish. For example, “all-purpose sprays” will only really work on wooden surfaces with plastic coatings (found on some tables). Use cleaning products specifically designed for wooden surfaces.


Keep in mind that your outdoor wooden furniture, may require extra care.


Mild soap and water are often the best way to clean wooden furniture, but use them sparingly. Avoid drenching the wood and be sure to dry it well. Regular cleaning with soap may also create a cloudy appearance, lessening your wood’s natural shine.


If you’re worried about the chemicals in cleaning products, there are many all-natural alternatives that are just as effective. You can also try these natural cleaners for wooden furniture:

  • Talcum powder and baking soda help with odors.
  • White vinegar is good for grime and works as a mild disinfectant; for darker woods, use apple cider vinegar!
  • Adding lemon juice to vinegar or other cleaning mixtures provides a nice scent and adds a bit of disinfectant quality.

Wax vs Polish


While both of these are important for maintaining your wooden furniture, they’re easily confused. Wax offers protection, while polish shines but does not protect. When applying wax, you want to rub it in with a circular motion. When applying polish, work in the direction of the wood grain.


There are a few primary options for wax:

  • Paste wax typically offers longer protection
  • Liquid wax is often easier to apply but requires several coats
  • Wax sticks (also felt pens) work well for small scratched surfaces


There are many types of polishes, but be careful: liquid and aerosol products can dissolve wax and lead to a lackluster appearance. Oils—including mineral, olive, and essential oils—are often great options when used in mixtures. By themselves, they often smear and can attract dust.

While you can use olive oil, it too has a tendency to smear and attract dust

From our skilled craftsmen to our high-quality woods and fabrics, Affiliated Importers offers better styles for residential and commercial markets. Browse our portfolio to see what great design can do for your business!

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