Jane asked: How do I clean varnished wood? My in-law’s house has beautiful, varnished wood doors. They need cleaning.
When well maintained, the beautiful varnished finish on wood provides a protective layer that allows for easier cleaning. Follow these tips for general cleaning and removal of heavier dirt or grime build-up when necessary.
You Will Need:
- Soft dry cloth
- Furniture polish
- Moist cloth
Steps to Clean the Wood:
- For general maintenance, wipe varnished wood with a soft dry cloth to remove dust.
- If there are sticky or other harder-to-remove spots, wipe the spot away with a moist cloth then immediately follow with a dry cloth. Do NOT allow extended contact with wet cloths. The varnish is not waterproof, and the will absorb the water if kept in contact with moisture for a long time. This will damage the finish of the varnished wood.
- To restore shine, apply a solvent-based furniture polish with a soft dry cloth. Check the product label for one indicated for use on varnished wood.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Do not use water or alcohol-based cleaners on varnished wood, as these may damage the finish.
- If excess wax build-up is a problem, wipe the wood down with a rag dampened in mineral spirits or turpentine. Wear rubber gloves, dispose of rags used for application carefully, and follow up with a coat of furniture paste wax. Choose one to match the color of your wood and follow all label directions.