Cleaning and Protecting a Wood Table

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated January 7, 2013)


Wooden tables, just like any other wood item in your home, needs to be cleaned and protected in a specific way or you can easily end up damaging the table without realizing it. That being said, cleaning and protecting a wood table isn't difficult, though it does require that you pay attention to what you are doing. That is, you need to pay attention until you really know what you are doing, and the whole process becomes second nature.

  1. Remove all items. It may sound a bit trite, but you can't really clean a table when it has stuff on it. This basically means that when you begin cleaning a wooden table, you will need to remove anything and everything that you may have stored on it. After all, it is the nature of tables to store items. When you get done cleaning your table, you can easily replace all the items that you have removed.
  2. Wipe it down. When you have removed everything from your table, you need to get a clean soft towel or rag, and get it mildly damp. With this damp rag in hand, you can begin wiping down the table. This will allow you to remove most, if not all, of the dirt and grime that has accumulated on the table since the last time you cleaned it. Do not use too much water at this stage, since wood and water don't really go that well together.
  3. Get those cracks. The vast majority of wood tables have some kind of crack or seam located in the surface. These cracks and seams have a tendency to collect dirt, dust, and grime over time and as such will need to be cleaned. The problems is that these cracks can be a little difficult to get into, so you will need to use an old tooth brush or cotton swab to get into the cracks.
  4. Wash it. If your table is particularly dirty, you may want to use some water and a mild soap to clean it. When washing your wood table, you don't want to drench it in water. Instead, get a washcloth damp, and work some soap into it. Wipe this damp, soapy washcloth over the table and work at any particularly sticky residue that you come across. Rinse off the soap on the table by using another damp washcloth. Repeat as necessary until you have gotten your surface clean.
  5. Dry it. Dry the table as quickly as you can after washing it so that the water will not work its way into the wood. The best way to do this is by simply wiping down the table again with a clean dry rag or towel.
  6. Polish it. With the table now clean it is time to protect it. This can be done by simply using a polish (such as Pledge), or citrus oil. Apply this polish to a clean rag, and then work the polish into the wood by moving rag in a circular motion, slowly moving across the table, until the wood gleams. Reapply the polishing agent as necessary until you have finished the job.

Now that you know the basics of cleaning and protecting a wood table, you can ensure that your wooden table doesn't become damaged through daily use. Keep in mind that if you don't regularly clean and protect a wood table like you should, you can find yourself dishing out quite a bit of money to replace it over time.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Types of Wood Joints

If you are thinking of doing any type of wood work around the home, then knowing the types of wood joints is an absolute ...

Discover More

Organic Garden

It seems like you can't turn around anymore without hearing about the impact that we have on our environment. Everyone ...

Discover More

Planting and Caring for Asparagus

It is never too late, or too early to begin thinking about what plants you are going to plant in your vegetable garden. ...

Discover More

The Power of Microfiber! Zwipes Microfiber Cleaning Cloths will become your favorite tool for every cleaning task. This 36-cloth package is perfect for hundreds of uses in the garage, kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and all around the house. Each cloth is tough, streak-free, lint-free, reusable, and washable. Check out Microfiber Cleaning Cloths today!

More Cleaning Tips

Restoring Dull and Faded Wood Furniture

Wood furniture can add a wonderful touch of elegance to just about any home. However, over time most wood furniture can ...

Discover More

Handling Scratched Wood Furniture

To repair or obscure scratches in your wood furniture, try one of these many tips. Scratches in the finish can be easily ...

Discover More

Getting Mildew Out of Veneer

If the conditions are right, mildew and mold can grow just about anywhere. This can be exceptionally annoying if the ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 7?

2015-06-29 16:44:48


The top of a nightstand has moisture damage and is crinkled in one spot. Is there anything I can do? The damage is the result of wet glasses left sitting on the top!

2013-01-07 12:20:15


You might want to consider Howard Restor-A-Finish. I've used it successfully on furniture that I thought might need a complete refinish. It only takes a few minutes to apply. You can get it at a major hardware store. They have a You Tube video that shows you how to use it.

2013-01-07 07:14:04

Margaret OBrien

My cat has made a habit of sitting on the sideboard in the dining room to look out the window when I am not home. The result of which is that the finish has been marred, as if his body fluids have melted the varnish. I have tried various polishes and even covered the top with a cloth to no success. Short of refinishing, do you have one of your magic suggestions { besides getting rid of the cat.} Thanks

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.