How To Clean Unvarnished Wood

Wood surfaces add beauty and warmth to any space.  Whether found on a table, cabinet or floor, wood is unmatched in its aesthetic appeal. However, it does take some special care to keep your wood looking clean and well maintained, especially when it is unvarnished.

You can get your unvarnished wood to look great without breaking the bank! Using some products easily found in your kitchen cabinet, you could make your own cleaning and conditioning solution. It doesn’t take a lot of time but with a little elbow grease and a few simple steps, you can get your unvarnished wood clean in jiffy. It’s easy!

Here’s how to clean unvarnished wood.

  1. Begin by sweeping or dusting off the surface. For cabinets and tables, start by clearing the surface of any objects or visible dirt and then give your wood a good rub down with a dry cloth. For floors, sweep the floor area.
  2. Mix your cleaning solution. In a large bowl, combine 4 liters of water with around 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda. The vinegar will cut grease, stains and any wax buildup. Baking soda will take away any grease or grime on the surface and act as a gentle abrasive, while the olive oil will protect the wood.
  3. Apply your cleaning solution on to your wood surface with a sponge. Use the abrasive side to give your wood surface a gentle scrub. You don’t need to scrub too hard, as your ingredients will help loosen the dirt from the surface. Work along the grain of the wood. Don’t saturate your sponge with too much of your water cleaning solution. You don’t want to soak your wood in water.
  4. Wipe down the table with a piece of dry cloth. Make sure you don’t leave any wet areas.
  5. Condition your unvarnished wood with a mixture of 1 liter water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Give your wooden surface another rub down with your conditioning solution. After conditioning your wood, wipe it down again with a piece of dry cloth to dry the surface.
  6. Make your own wood polish by combining the juice of one lemon and ¼ olive oil. Rub the surface of your wood with this homemade polish. It will make your wood shine and protect it from damage while giving off a nice, fresh scent.
  7. If you are cleaning floors, you may also use the same cleaning solution and conditioning mixture. Just apply it to your wooden floor with any type of mop. Wring out any excess water as you go along.
  8. To polish your floor, add a little olive oil to a bucket of warm water. Mop the floor, making sure you wring out any excess water.

Do this treatment at least once a month for wooden tables and floors, and just a few times a year for other unvarnished surfaces. With a little effort, you can enjoy your wooden furniture or flooring for many years to come.


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