The technique we use for deodorizing and cleaning antique wood naturally uses things you probably already have around the house.
I recently bought this small desk from an antique store. Isn’t that cute?? I’m not sure if it’s actually a desk but that’s what we will use it for. I can also envision this as a really cute potting bench or a bathroom vanity one day.
The natural pine wood is so beautiful but with most vintage furniture, it needed a good cleaning. The wood felt sticky and had a bit of a musty smell as most antiques do.
When it comes to cleaning antique wood, there are several ways you can do it. For this piece, I wanted to use natural cleaners that would also deodorize.
Supplies Needed For Cleaning Antique Wood
- Warm Water
- White Vinegar
- Dish Detergent
- Microfiber Cloths
Mixing The Solution
First, mix a solution of equal parts warm water, white vinegar, and dish detergent in a bowl. I used about a half cup of each for this piece.
Cleaning Old Wooden Furniture Naturally
To apply the solution, I used microfiber cloths. One cloth to apply it and a second to dry it. I bought these to cut down on my excessive paper towel usage and I’ve been happy with them. You can find similar cleaning cloths here.
You will definitely want to test the solution on an inconspicuous area to be sure it doesn’t discolor the wood.
I applied a generous amount of the wood cleaner to the back of the desk first. When I was sure it wasn’t damaging the wood, I went on to clean the rest of the desk.
Cleaning antique wood with this solution will not shine the wood. I didn’t want that. If you want a polished look, there are other methods you can use. I wanted the matte look of natural wood.
If you want your piece to shine using natural cleaners you can mix equal parts white vinegar with olive oil.
It looks mostly the same but it feels squeaky clean and no longer smells musty.
Deodorizing antique Wood Furniture
If you have an antique piece with drawers or something such as a trunk there is another way to deodorize the interior. A friend recommended this method to me after I bought a vintage trunk that was really stinky years ago.
For the trunk, I used odor-eliminating volcanic rocks. If my friend hadn’t recommended these I would have been skeptical to try them. But I’m glad I did because they really work. I still use them to deodorize various things and we even keep a bag of them in the car.
Also to note, I’ve read that the natural cleaning solution I used on this antique desk should NOT be used on wood floors. I’m not sure if that’s correct but I would avoid trying that just in case.
Can You Clean antique wood with vinegaR?
Yes, it works! I was a little afraid to try this, but it removed all the sticky build-up and didn’t strip any of the wood tones with the method I used above. Always try it in an inconspicuous spot first to be safe.
Removing water stains on wood
This little desk has what looks like a water stain on the surface. After reading up on how to remove water stains, I realized there are a lot of different options. So far I’ve tried the vinegar method as well as the Vaseline method and neither has worked. Here are a few other suggestions on water stains I may try later.
Once your piece is all cleaned up be sure to take good care of wood furniture to prevent any damage!