How to Clean and Rejuvenate the Finish on Wood Furniture

By: Danny Lipford

The finish on my old wooden table has become very dull looking, no matter how much I polish it. How can I get the shine to come back? – Betty

Hi Betty,

After many years of use, layers of wax and polish can build up on a wood tabletop or other wooden furniture. You may be able to clean and rejuvenate the existing finish without having to strip and refinish it. Here’s how to go about it.

To remove built-up wax and polish and help restore the shine:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of gum turpentine and 4 tablespoons of boiled linseed oil to one gallon of very hot water.
  2. Wearing rubber gloves, dip a soft cotton cloth in the solution, and wring it out as much as possible to keep from saturating the wood with water.
  3. Rub the table with the cloth to help strip away any built up wax, oil, dirt, and grime while adding luster back to dull spots in the finish.
  4. If the finish still has a dull look, dip some #0000 steel wool in the mixture and lightly rub the surface in the direction of the grain.
  5. Use a clean, dry cloth to buff and dry the table.
  6. As a final step, apply a lemon oil furniture polish to the table with a soft clean cloth.

Good luck with your project,

Danny

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