Dirt and grime can build up on wood furniture over time masking its true beauty. While frequent cleanings will help to avoid this situation, when the buildup is no longer removable with normal cleaning, it will require more powerful solutions to break it loose. Three simple ingredients can break through the dirt and help your pieces return to their original shine.
Removing Dirt Buildup
This method is only for wood furniture that is not painted as it will damage and/or remove the paint.
Steps to Remove the Dirt Buildup:
Start by selecting a work area that is very well ventilated. Working outdoors is best as this solution produces a strong smell that you don't want lingering in your home.
Prepare the work area by covering the ground with a protective covering such as a drop cloth, large sheets of cardboard, etc.. Gather rubber gloves and a mask for yourself.
Bring the wooden piece outdoors and begin by wiping it down with the paper towels to remove as much of the grime as possible. After you have wiped it off, use the vacuum with the brush attachment to gently brush dirt from the crevices and corners. View this page for effective information right now.
Next, mix together equal parts of the boiled linseed oil, turpentine and white vinegar.
Moisten the soft cloths lightly with the solution and gently wipe the dirt and grime off of the wood surface. As you are cleaning, wipe the liquid with the grain of the wood and take caution not to soak the wood.
Continue cleaning with the cloths just until the dirt is gone, do not scrub too much or it may damage the finish.
For corners, designs, etc., dip the old toothbrush into the solution and gently work it into the grooves. Follow the grain as much as possible just as before. Wipe away with a clean cloth.
When no more dirt is showing on the cloths, discontinue any further applications. There is no need to rinse the wood.
Allow the piece to dry completely.
When the piece is completely dry, buff with a clean cloth to restore the shine.
Dispose of any remaining cleaner as well as any cloths with cleaner on them using appropriate methods. They can automatically combust and start a fire, so be sure to dispose of them promptly and properly.
Additional Tips and Ideas
As with any cleaning solution, it is best to apply it to a small hidden area first to test for any affects on the finish.
If the piece you are cleaning is an antique or a collectible, check with a professional prior to cleaning to ensure that the cleaning method does not affect the value of the piece.
A popular cleaning product for wood furniture is Murphy's Oil Soap and is safe to use on all non-wax finished wood pieces. It is readily available at most department stores and home improvement stores. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.