How To Disinfect Wood Furniture Without Damaging The Finish

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Wood is the most popular building material used in homes today. If you are looking for ways to disinfect your wood furniture without damaging the finish, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve learned how to disinfect wood furniture, including what materials or cleaners you need to get the job done.

Here are the necessary steps to disinfect wood furniture:

  1. Dust the furniture.
  2. Apply a disinfectant.
  3. Rinse off the disinfectant.
  4. Apply a wood wax or finish.

Wood furniture can be expensive, so it makes sense that you will want to protect it as much as possible when cleaning it. Given the current times, it also makes sense that you will want to disinfect it to keep your family safe and healthy. Continue reading to learn how to properly and safely disinfect your wood furniture.

male hands with flannel cloth wiping disinfectant to wood surface. How To Disinfect Wood Furniture Without Damaging The Finish

Steps To Disinfect Wood Furniture Without Damaging The Finish

Crafted wood furniture with super fine and shiny finish

Things you’ll need:

  • Cotton balls
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Antibacterial dish soap
  • Wood finish
  • Wood wax
  • A sponge
  • Wood cleaner
  • Microfiber cloths

1. Dust the furniture

Before disinfecting your wood furniture, it’s best to remove any dust from its surface to avoid smearing it across the furniture and creating a muddy mess once the solution is applied. The best way to dust your wood furniture is by using a duster, microfiber cloth, or a clean cloth.

Microfiber cloths work especially well, as their split fibers help to instantly trap dust particles as you run them across the wood’s surface. If you are disinfecting a chest or drawer, be sure to remove all of the drawers and clean inside the interiors. 

See these microfiber cloths on Amazon.

2. Apply a disinfectant

Now it’s time to apply your disinfectant to the wood furniture. You can use a few drops of antibacterial dish soap and warm water or a vinegar solution. For this example, we’ll use the vinegar solution. Take one-fourth cup of vinegar, mix it with one cup of warm water and pour it into a spray bottle. Next, take the spray bottle and gently agitate the solution.

Spray the solution on your wood furniture and wipe it down with your microfiber cloth. If you have areas where there is caked-up grime on your wood furniture, you may want to let the solution sit on the furniture for about 5 to 7 minutes before wiping it off.

See this antibacterial soap on Amazon.

3. Rinse off the disinfectant

After you have effectively cleaned your wooden furniture with the vinegar solution, take another microfiber cloth dipped in warm water and run it over the wooden furniture. The cloth should be damp but not dripping with water, as you don’t want to soak the wood. This step aims to remove all remnants of the vinegar from the wood furniture, as it can eat away at the finish.

If you use dish soap, you may want to repeat this step a couple of times so that the dish soap does not leave a film on the wood’s surface.

See this vinegar on Amazon.

Always dilute distilled vinegar before applying it to your wood furniture or any furniture. It’s especially acidic and can quickly damage finished surfaces. If you use this method to clean your wooden furniture, be sure to follow it up with a wood polish or wax.

4. Apply A wood wax or finish

After disinfecting your wood furniture, it’s helpful to apply wood polish to keep the finish from becoming discolored or losing its luster. You can also apply furniture wax to the wood as well. To do this, simply apply the wax or polish to a microfiber cloth or thin tile and rub it into the wood’s surface.

Not only can the polishing wax improve the appearance of the wood furniture, but it will give it an additional protective coating and help prevent smudges and scratches.

When applying the wax or polish, be sure to apply thin layers to avoid having it cake up once it dries on the wood’s surface. Paste wax is one of the most reliable waxes you can use for wood furniture. It can be applied with a microfiber cloth or a wax applicator brush.

Let the wax dry for about 20 to 30 minutes, buff the furniture with a microfiber cloth, or follow the label’s drying directions. When buffing out the wax, be sure to use circular motions. You should notice the wood’s appearance change from a matte finish to a shiny luster when done correctly.

See this wood wax on Amazon.

You can also create your own homemade furniture polish by mixing a cup of olive oil with 1/4-cup of white vinegar and 2-teaspoons of lemon oil. Pour the ingredients into a small bowl and apply it to your wood furniture using a soft cloth or microfiber cloth. Work it into the wood using a circular motion and buff it out after letting it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes.

See this lemon oil on Amazon.

Wondering how to keep that luxurious luster, check out: Does Furniture Polish Attract Dust?

Remove Water Stains From Wood

If you have any stains on your wood furniture, here are a few ways to remove them without damaging the finish.

Things you’ll need:

  • Paste toothpaste
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Baking soda
  • Wood wax

Steps for stain removal: 

  1. Apply the toothpaste directly to the water spot and rub it in with the soft cloth until the stain lifts from the furniture.
  2. If the stain will not lift using the toothpaste alone, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the toothpaste and rub it in using the cloth.
  3. You may need to let the mixture sit on the stand for about 2 to 5 minutes if the stain is especially stubborn.
  4. Next, take another microfiber cloth and dampen it with warm water to wipe the mixture from the affected area.
  5. Lastly, take a dry cloth and buff furniture dry. Follow up with a wax or polish application if needed.

Does vinegar ruin wood finish?

Vinegar is an acidic substance, and if left on a wood surface for too long, it can cause damage to the finish. This process will be exacerbated if the vinegar is used with hot water. The result will be a wood finish that appears dull or cloudy with white patches all over it. If you want to use vinegar to disinfect your wood furniture or floors, be sure to dilute it with lukewarm water with at least a 50:50 ratio. You’ll also want to make sure that you rinse the solution from the wood surface after you have cleaned it.

If you are worried about ruining your wood finish, it’s best to use a cleaner specifically formulated for wood surfaces to clean your furniture. Wood cleaners have a neutral pH that will not damage the finish and can clean the wood effectively–they’ll also leave your wood with a long-lasting shine.

Can you clean wood with apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is another natural cleaning agent that can work well to clean wood floors. However, it should be diluted with lukewarm water so that it does not ruin the finish. Even if your floors or wood furniture aren’t finished, you should still dilute apple cider vinegar to avoid staining the wood.

To use apple cider vinegar to clean your wooden furniture, mix 1/4-cup of the vinegar with a gallon of warm water. Next, pour the solution into a spray bottle and apply it to the surface of the wood. Use a mop or a cloth to clean the area, and then rinse it with warm water. If you are cleaning wood furniture, be sure to buff the furniture dry using a microfiber cloth.

See this apple cider vinegar on Amazon.

Can you use Lysol wipes on wood furniture?

Lysol disinfecting wipes are specially formulated to be safe on most finished wood surfaces such as cabinets, tables, and floors. However, they aren’t recommended for untreated, unpainted, or unfinished porous wood surfaces. It’s always best to do a quick spot test before applying wipes to your wood furniture. Start by using the wipe on an inconspicuous area of the furniture a few times to ensure that it doesn’t ruin the finish.

For high-traffic areas, keep your wood surfaces clean by reading “How To Clean Wood Stair Railings And Banisters.”

Can you disinfect wood with alcohol?

While alcohol is an effective disinfectant, it’s not recommended for finished wood surfaces. It can cause the finish to deteriorate, making the wood beneath more susceptible to damage and stains. If you have an unfinished wood surface, you can disinfect it with alcohol; just be sure to apply a wood wax or polish after, as alcohol is especially drying. If you don’t, you may notice that the surface of your wood furniture will become lighter with each use.

See this rubbing alcohol on Amazon.

Is furniture polish a disinfectant?

Furniture polish isn’t a disinfectant, though many polishes contain solvent and other chemicals that offer cleaning properties. The goal of furniture polish is to remove smudges and add shine, not to disinfect. If you are looking to disinfect your furniture, you may want to look at other methods, including vinegar, rubbing alcohol, antibacterial dish soap, are Lysol wipes, depending on the type of furniture and the finish on the furniture.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has provided you with all of the information you were looking for to effectively disinfect wood furniture without damaging it. Using the right wood cleaners, polishes, and waxes can impact your wood furniture’s look and feel over time.

To make sure that you do not strip the wood of its finish, be sure to always spot test disinfectants before applying them to the entire furniture piece. If you use disinfectants such as rubbing alcohol or Lysol wipes be sure to use them minimally and always apply a wax or polish to help maintain the finish of your wood furniture.

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