I absolutely love vintage wooden furniture and decor. My home is full of gorgeous solidly handcrafted pieces from the past that I’ve managed to score for bargain prices by scouring the thrift shops and classifieds. (fingers crossed I’ll be able to bring most of them along when we do the big international move to Canada!)
As most of my wonderous wooden treasures are in less than stellar condition when I discover them I’ve had to create an arsenal of gentle yet effective techniques for restoring them to their (nearly) original glory.
Take a peek at my top thrifty tips for cleaning wood and make your thrifty finds shine!
Painted Surfaces: Dust and then gently rub with a mild soap and warm water mixture then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Varnished & Coated Finishes: Apply an equal parts paint thinner and mild soap mixture with a sponge. Let sit for a couple of minutes and then gently wipe the solution away with a soft damp cloth to remove the dirt. (The top layer of varnish may also be removed if the dust & dirt have become embedded in it.)
Carved & Embellished Wood: An old toothbrush dipped in mild soap and water can be used to gently scrub and remove the dirt and grime build up in the crevasses of carved or embellished wood.
Water Spots & Stains: Rub an equal parts baking soda and white toothpaste mixture into water stains to help remove and conceal the damaged areas. Alternatively, slather a dollop of mayonnaise over the stain, leave overnight and wipe with a damp cloth in the morning.
Musty Odours: A mixture of 1 part bleach and 3 parts water rubbed into the odorous areas may remove the musty aroma. Unfortunately mold and mildew thrive in wood so if your piece continues to smell strongly or worse, mold sprouts appear, then it’s time to relinquish it.
DIY Wood Cleaner: Add 3 parts white vinegar and 1 part water to a spray bottle. Apply to the wood, let sit for a couple of minutes then wipe with a clean damp cloth. (This is especially good for kitchen furniture and decor as the vinegar helps to gently cut through the grease build up.)
DIY Grime Remover: Combine white vinegar and salt into a paste and gently apply to grimey areas with an old toothbrush then wipe with a damp cloth.
DIY Wood Polish: Mix 3/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup white vinegar in a sealable container, close and shake well then rub it into the wood with a soft cloth. There’s no need to wipe it off as the thirsty vintage wood will eagerly soak it in. (The vinegar provides a gentle cleaning action, while the olive oil leaves behind a soft shine.)
Before giving your wood a thorough cleaning be sure to test out the above tips and techniques on a small area to ensure no discolouration or damage will occur.
Check out all of my thrifty cleaning tips right here!