Written by Karen Bates (last updated March 15, 2021)
If you have wood furniture or surfaces in your home, you already know how beautiful and versatile this material can be. When properly cared for, a wood surface can really stand out and make a wonderful statement in any room. On the other hand, worn, damaged, and dirty wood can look dingy and unsightly.
Of course, caring for wood surfaces requires different methods and cleaners than other materials do. In fact, woods with different finishes will need to be cared for in a specific way. Be sure you know what kind of wood you are dealing with before you attempt to clean it.
Before cleaning any wood, start by dusting the area to remove dust and dirt. This will help the actual cleaning process provide better results in the end.
For wood that has been painted, maintain cleanliness by using a brush vacuum attachment to clean as needed. If you find mark, fingerprints, or smudges on the wood, use a damp cloth or sponge to gently wipe spots away, then dry. You should avoid using wax or polish on wood that has been painted, since it can damage the paint and color.
If you have wood that has an oiled finish, apply furniture oil occasionally to keep it a beautiful, shiny look. Do not wax this kind of surface, since wax can dry out the wood. To clean, rub spots with an abrasive (such as baking soda) and some oil (like olive oil) until the spot is removed and the surface looks clean.
Polished wood, which has been waxed, varnished, or lacquered to protect it, can be cleaned using a commercial furniture polish according to the product's directions. The product you will need depends on the wood finish, so carefully read information to ensure you get the right polish.
For other types of wood (such as wicker or bamboo furniture), simply use a vacuum attachment to pick up any dirt. For tougher spots, use a slightly damp rag to wipe, but take care not to damage the surface in the process.
It does take a little extra effort sometimes when it comes to cleaning wood surfaces, but the beauty of this material can be worth the work you put forth. A little work now and then can make a big different later on. Remember to maintain wood to prevent damage and wear, and use the correct cleaning method to keep it looking great for many years.
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