Cleaning wood isn’t always a simple task, especially since we’re talking about a rather pretentious material. Using the wrong products can damage wooden surfaces, while soaking the surface in water can lead to permanent wood damage.
It takes a mixture of proper products and knowing how to remove the solution from wood in due time to prevent this damage, so today’s article is dedicated to tips and products designed to help you clean wood efficiently.
Top 3 Picks
Best with Naturally-Derived Ingredients: Murphy’s Oil Soap Original Wood Cleaner
“I also like the fact that the smell is not overpowering like other products. I’m very sensitive to smells, so this one is great.” (Customer review)
Best for Floors: Black Diamond Stoneworks Wood & Laminate Floor Cleaner
With a formula that’s safe to use if you have pets and children, but also one that works on multiple types of wooden floors and laminate, the Black Diamond cleaner is a product worth every penny.
Best for Shine: Howard Products FW0016 Wood Polish & Conditioner
When your main interest is to give your wooden surfaces that lustrous shine, this wax-based cleaner will surely help you make wood pieces look like new.
What to Look for In a Wood Cleaner
Before opting for a wood cleaner, it’s important to you know a few things about this product in order to make the right shopping decision:
- First of all, know that there are three different types of wood cleaners. Liquid cleaners are concentrated solutions that don’t usually contain any harsh chemical and have pleasant scents (there are also unscented cleaners for those that are sensitive to these scents). The second type of product is wood wax. It usually comes with ingredients such as beeswax, carnauba wax, and paraffin, and some products even add colors to the list of ingredients. Wood max products will give wood a nice shine and they are also good for sealing the surface and preventing moisture from reaching the material. They are great for preventing wood damage. However, these products are usually flammable and very slippery (caution when using them on floors). The third category consists of wood wipes. They are great for minor spills and for cleaning wood furniture. They can remove grime and usually contain natural oils that give aged wood a nice shine.
- Let’s talk about ingredients. Some wood cleaners use water as their primary ingredients, while others are concentrated and will mostly contain oil. Each of these two categories is suitable for different uses, and it’s important to know what to use in which situation. Water-based formulas are efficient in situations where you want wood surfaces to dry fast. Oil-based solutions, on the other hand, are more recommended for wooden surfaces that have lost their natural shine and you want to replenish oil loss.
- Concentration is another important factor to consider when choosing a wood cleaner. Every product on the market has a different level of concentration that will determine if the product needs to be diluted with water or if it can be applied directly onto the surface. Hardwood cleaners are usually poured directly on the floor, whilst diluted cleaners allow you to adjust the concentration.
- You also have to consider what types of surfaces you’re actually looking to clean. In order for a solution to do the job right, it has to be used on the indicated surface. Let’s look at some examples. If you want to clean a wood kitchen table, it’s best if you opt for oil-based formulas, but keep in mind that these formulas are prone to leaving streaks. Some wax-based products might give your floors a nice shine, but they will also make it slippery and quite dangerous. The best solutions for cleaning floors are those capable of dissolving grime without causing the floor to lose its shine and without destroying its coating.
How to Make Hardwood Floor Cleaner at Home
If you’re willing to try something different than store-bought cleaners, we have a recipe that’s tested and approved for cleaning hardwood floors. You’re going to need a teaspoon of pure castile soap, four cups of water, five to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (in case you want the product to leave a pleasant fragrance behind – this step is optional), a spray bottle, and a mop that has a microfiber pad attached to the end.
- Mix the castile soap with water and the essential oil drops, if you’re using any. Place them all in the spray bottle, twist the top, and shake the bottle to mix all of the ingredients.
- Test the solution on a hidden spot on your hardware floor (such as underneath the carpet). Apply and rinse, and wait to see if there is any floor damage. If there isn’t, you can proceed to the next step.
- Apply the mixture on small portions of the floor. Work in small areas because if you spray the entire floor at once, the wood will be soaked for too long before you have a chance to mop it.
- Clean the floors using the mop with the microfiber end, using back and forth motions that move along the grain of the wood.
- Continue to clean the floors in small patches, making sure you squeeze the mop to remove any excess water/solution.
Tips for Cleaning Wood Floors
There are several things that you can do in order to make sure that your wood floors and furniture have a long lifespan.
- Using water when cleaning wooden surfaces is never recommended, which means that you should avoid using water-based solution, as wood can soak up all the moisture from the water and suffer damage because of that. Always use cleaners that are labeled specifically for wood because they won’t damage the protective coating on top.
- Before applying any kind of formula on your floors, it’s always a good idea to vacuum them so that you can remove dust and debris. If you start to apply formula and mop a wooden floor without sweeping or vacuuming its surface, you’ll most likely be moving dirt from right to left.
- If you have floors with hard finishes, you want to use a soft cloth to wipe them clean and avoid hard brushes and products that have too many chemicals that could ruin the coating. For soft finishes, you can use floor wax on tougher marks.
- Before applying a solution on your wooden furniture, dust the surface first. You can use a feather duster or a microfiber cloth that won’t scratch the surface of the wood as you’re wiping.
- When your wood furniture is clean, don’t be afraid to use finish or wax from time to time. You can also purchase sprays that contain silicone oil and that will apply a nice coating to further protect the wood.
- If you’re out of the cleaner that’s specific for a particular wooden surface, don’t just use any cleaner. Instead, you can make your own solution using liquid dish soap. Just soak a cotton ball in water and dish soap and gently clean your wooden furniture. Don’t use floor cleaners for furniture or vice versa unless the product’s label specifies you can do so.
Best Wood Cleaners
The first item on today’s list is a product meant to give wooden surfaces a nice polish and restore their shine. Using a protective coating of Carnauba Wax and beeswax, this product can be used on a multitude of surfaces, including wooden doors, dining tables, and cabinets. The conditioning oil found in the formula feeds the wood to prevent it from fading. It is a product designed to be applied once a month, or even more often if you notice that the wood looks dry and faded. It’s important to note that even if this product is efficient on both wood furniture pieces and wood floors, it contains flammable ingredients, so be really careful where and how you use it.
Murphy is a brand with a reputation, so customers really enjoy using their products for cleaning wooden floors and furniture. This suggestion of ours comes with a kit that includes furniture wipes, a wood cleaner spray, and an oil soap cleaner for hardwood floors. The latter is a very famous product that gives the floor a nice and clean shine. The spray has a pleasant citrus scent and is made with 98 percent natural cleaners. The soft wipes are excellent for cleaning quick spills and work really well with wooden furniture.
If you saw the kit above but are mostly interested in purchasing the oil soap floor solution and not the entire bundle, here it is! This solution is a concentrated formula that’s made out of 99 percent naturally-derived ingredients, so it’s definitely a product for those looking to clean wooden surfaces without worrying about the chemicals (it doesn’t contain ammonia or bleach). The formula is very well known, as Murphy has been selling this product for quite some time now.
When you’re ready to give your wooden furniture a nice shine, the Weiman spray is here to the rescue. With a lovely cherry almond fragrance, this is a product that’s suitable for cabinets, tables, and other wood furniture pieces. It doesn’t contain any wax or silicone, which makes it safer compared to other products. The formula is designed to protect wood against discoloration, fading, or drying. It is not recommended for use on floors.
Another great product for polishing your furniture is this one by Therapy Clean. It has a grime-busting formula that promises to keep your furniture dust and debris-free. This kit comes with one 16-ounce bottle of formula and a 16 x 16-inch microfiber cloth that works perfectly for wiping wooden furniture without leaving any scratches or nasty cleaning marks behind. It’s safe to use on chairs, tables, kitchen cabinets, doors, and other wooden surfaces.
Whenever your wood floor needs a-cleanin’, the Black Diamond solution is here to serve you well. It is available in multiple-sized bottles, with the most common purchase being the one-gallon option. The streak free solution works on wooden floors and laminate, making sure to remove spills, dust, oil, footprints, and other things that would otherwise stain your floors. The formula is safe to use in households with pets and children, promising to deliver an eco-friendly experience with each purchase.
The Parker & Bailey kitchen cabinet cream is an unscented solution that’s perfect for keeping your wood furniture in shape. It doesn’t contain any harmful solvents, wax, or silicone, and is designed to be simple to use. You simply have to pour a little bit of this solution into a clean cloth and start wiping your wood furniture with it. Rinse the cloth to remove dirt or grab a new clean one if you want to add more product. Use another cloth to remove any excess solution and give your furniture a nice shine.
What is the best wood cleaner?
The answer to this question depends on what you really want to get when using a wood cleaner. For example, if you’re interested in making wood furniture shiny, a wax-based solution might be the most efficient one for you. If you mostly want something that cleans floors but doesn’t have an irritating smell, you can try a plant-derived product with as little chemical ingredients as possible.
How do you remove grime from wood?
Removing grime from wood is actually quite a simple process: just dust the surface that you want to clean and wipe it clean using a microfiber cloth dampened in water. Using mineral spirit or a special wood cleaning solution, rub the surface that you want to clean. Remove any residue and use a clean cloth to wipe away moisture. Give your wood surface a nice polish and buff using special products.
Does vinegar clean wood?
Yes. In fact, there are multiple vinegar-based solutions that you can make at home, depending on the exact wooden surface that you want to clean. For example, if you’re looking to clean a wood cutting board, just wipe it using a cloth that has been sprinkled with vinegar. For wood paneling, you can make a mixture with one cup of vinegar, one cup of olive oil, and four cups of warm water.
What is the best natural wood cleaner?
A simple internet search will reveal a multitude of homemade solutions that are quite efficient in cleaning wooden surfaces. A common suggestion is to create a mixture of apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, some lemon juice, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Of course, there are also naturally-derived products for those who don’t want to waste time with homemade recipes (check out the Murphy oil soap cleaner that we talked about earlier in this article).
Whether you choose to make your own mixture of vinegar and other ingredients, or spend money on a store-bought product, cleaning your wood is important not only for hygiene reasons, but also to preserve the integrity of the wood for as long as possible. As you know, wooden surfaces have a tendency of losing their shine, so it’s always best to invest in proper products that can make them look brand new with a small weekly dose of effort on your behalf.