House Cleaning Tips > Furniture > Removing Stains and Polishing Wood Furniture

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Removing Stains and Polishing Wood Furniture

Wood is an investment.

If you purchase just a standard piece of wood furniture for your home, you are likely going to be investing a small fortune. For that reason, taking care of your wood is essential.

Tender, loving care makes wooden furniture last well beyond its years, so be sure to give it a bit of extra attention when you are cleaning your home.

This may seem like another pointless task on top of your already hectic schedule, but the good news is that polishing wood is not difficult!

I have some easy and effective tips on how to care for and protect your wood furniture from stains. If you choose to follow them, your furniture's natural beauty will be restored and will stay beautiful longer than ever.

Polishing Wood

You should first remove any old wax that is on your furniture by using a non alkaline soap mixed with water.

To polish your wood, select a high quality furniture polish. Polishing your furniture can be done weekly, but another option would be for you to wax your furniture with a paste style wax every six to twelve months as needed.

Now, there is a difference, so let me explain.

Types of Polish

Furniture polish can be found in home improvement stores, but hold off on buying one. You need to know the type of wood and the color of the wood before you polish your wood furniture.

Dark Wood

If you have dark wood furnishings, then you will want to find a wood or shoe polish that will match the lightest shade of the finish. If your furniture is scratched, you can also use Walnut or Brazil nut meat. Rub it in the direction of the scratch.

Cherry Wood

Woods that have a cherry finish need a bit of a different solution. You can use a wood or shoe polish that has the right color of red. If there is a scratch that is noticeable, consider getting some darkened iodine and use a cotton swab to put it onto the stain to hide it. Make sure that the colors match well here.

Light Woods

You can use wood or shoe polish to help you to cover light wood colored stains. You can also use darkened iodine that is diluted by 50% with denatured alcohol.

Removing Stains from Wood Furniture

Wood furniture often is more susceptible to stains because it will absorb the stain quickly, which means that you need to work quickly and carefully to treat these stains in order to protect your wood in the long run.

Most types of stain removal techniques that you will find are not suitable for wood products. They may work on the wine spill on your carpet but will ruin your wood considerably. Be careful when using these.

If you do not feel that you trust a solution, consider having the furniture refinished by a professional.

No matter what treatment you use, you should always test the treatment on a hidden spot on the furniture to make sure that it will not ruin your furniture.

Water Marks

Someone let a glass sit on your table without a coaster, now what? Most of the time it is not the wood that is damaged here but the wax. Use a clean cloth, placing it down on top of the stain.

Use a warm iron on top of that. Keep doing it until the ring is gone. You can use white toothpaste to help you here too. Make sure to properly wax or polish the furniture afterward.

White Marks

Make a mixture of cigarette ashes and lemon juice. Dip a cloth into it and apply to the area.

Milk and Alcohol Stains

Rub liquid or paste wax into the stain. Or, you can rub with ammonia on a dampened cloth. Then, wipe it dry and wax as necessary.

Cigarette Burns

Use a scratch concealing polish working it into the grain.

Heat Marks

Run along the grain. Use a dry steel wool soap pad or a cloth that is dampened.

Paint Marks

Remove the paint with water if possible. You may be able to lift dry paint with a putty knife.

There you go. We've gone over some of the most common stains and how to choose the correct polish for your wood furniture. I hope we've been able to help you out!

Image Courtesy of Lightsurgery, CC BY-SA Flickr.


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Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.

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Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is a necessity, not a luxury when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)

When Mrs Clean is not busy managing her house cleaning company or running her kids back and forth to their events, she enjoys experimenting with natural and non-toxic cleaners and learning new techniques to remove stains.

She thoroughly enjoys sharing her valuable information with the readers of her blogs and various social media sites.

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