How to Clean Wooden Dining Tables


Lisa asked: Are regular counter cleaners okay to use on a wooden kitchen table after daily use? I use a warm wash cloth with a little soap, but there always seems to be smears, food and prints left on the table. I feel like it never gets really clean. I’m afraid using a countertop cleaner will harm the table?

Most countertop cleaners contain some type of harsh chemical. While some may be safe to use on wooden furniture, others will damage the protective coating and leave the surface looking dull. Read the labels carefully to learn which surfaces the product will safely clean. A cleaning product designed specifically for wood is your safest choice. There are a variety of wood cleaning products available in the cleaning aisle. Choose a cleaning product that will clean and disinfect without waxing or providing a protective coating (as some dusting/cleaning sprays will have). These waxes will build up over time and need additional cleaning to remove and replace. Here are safe and effective cleaning instructions for the daily maintenance of your wooden table.

You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Dish detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Clean the Table:

  1. Fill the sink with warm water.
  2. Add ½ – 1 cup of vinegar and/or a small amount of dish soap.
  3. Agitate the water to mix it well.
  4. Moisten the soft cloth with the sudsy water or vinegar mixture.
  5. Use the cloth to wipe the table. Pay special attention to edges and any designs that may hold dirt. The vinegar and/or soap will disinfect as it removes the daily grime from meals and children.
  6. Rinse the cloth with clean water.
  7. Wipe the table again with a clean cloth.
  8. Dry the surface with a dry, soft cloth or allow it to air dry completely.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • To remove grease build up, see our guide How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets.
  • Never use harsh or abrasive cleaning products or scrubbing pads on a wooden surface. It will damage the finish. If the finish becomes damaged, the table will have to be stripped and refinished.
  • Holloway House makes a line of wood cleaning products. These products work well and are available at hardware stores or online.


  1. I purchased a used table that has a buildup of what I assume is cleaner/wax around the adhesive about 6″ from each end. I assume there was some sort of tablecloth on the table at all times. Can you give me some suggestions on how to buff out this buildup so that the table will come back to its original appearance? Thanks kindly, Mark

  2. I need help. Please text me back. I put a hot pan on my table without a cover, and now my table is damaged and I can’t get it out. Please help.

  3. I have a mark left on my kitchen table from possibly hot grease from the bottom of a pizza box –it wont come out with regular cleaner and is a whitish haze mark. Any suggestions?

  4. Stacy,
    This is the article that you need: How to Remove White Rings from Wooden Furniture.

  5. I used Murphys wood soap on my dining table and it took off the finish. What do I do?

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