How to Clean All Types of Wood Dining Table

From daily cleaning to tricky surfaces like sticky wood, veneer, and raw wood, we explain how to clean and care for your wooden dining table.

When it comes to table tops, wood is undoubtedly the most popular. However, maintaining it can be tricky. Heat, moisture, and oil can easily damage the surface. But, fret not, help is at hand. 

In this article, we'll show you how to maintain and clean your wooden dining table in a few easy steps. 

If you’d like any help keeping your dining table or home clean, you can always use Homeaglow to book a reliable and affordable cleaner in your area.

How to clean a wood dining table

Materials needed

  • Dish soap or vinegar 
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Water
  • Mineral spirits and semi-solid wax (optional)

Step 1: Dust the wood dining table with a microfiber cloth

First, dust off your wooden dining table using a dry microfiber cloth. Before cleaning it with a liquid solution, do this to get rid of any loose dust that may be there. Also, wipe the table's underside, legs, and sides.

Step 2: Prepare your solution

Dilute white vinegar with water by mixing three tablespoons (45 mL) of white vinegar with one cup (240 mL) of water. Next, stir the mixture thoroughly.

Note that vinegar could leave behind an odor. Add a small amount of mildly scented dish soap to the mixture to cover up any vinegar odor.

Tip: Vinegar is also great for removing a musty smell from your home and cleaning baseboards.

Step 3: Trial test on a small area

Spray your solution on a microfiber cloth so that it is moist but not dripping. Then use the damp cloth to clean a small area of your wooden dining table. Next, wipe it dry with a fresh microfiber cloth. 

It's best to test it in an inconspicuous area. You can continue cleaning the table if there are no adverse effects on the test area.

Step 4: Clean the entire table gently

Spray the solution on a piece of cheesecloth or a soft, clean microfiber cloth. You can also submerge the cloth in the solution bucket but be careful to wring it out as a large amount of liquid can destroy the wood.

Next, gently use the dampened cloth to rub the dining table in a circular motion. When you notice the cloth getting noticeably soiled, rinse it or replace it with a clean one.

Step 5: Dry with a clean cloth

Finally, wipe the entire table in a circular motion with a dry microfiber cloth, removing any residue solution and bringing out the varnish's brightness. If you see any spots on the dining table that weren't cleaned, repeat step 4 and dry again. 

Step 6: Seal the table surface (optional)

Put a few drops of olive oil on a dry cloth. Then wipe the dampened cloth over the entire surface of the table to seal the wood.  If you're using carnauba wax, apply it all over the table to cover the surface completely. Then use a hair dryer to melt it into the wood, offering protection and preventing water and oil stains.

How to clean a sticky wood table

Step 1: First, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the table and remove as much dust as possible. 

Step 2: In a cup, combine vinegar and water in equal parts. 

You can easily remove the worn-out varnish and stickier residue on your table with the help of the acidic solution.

Step 3: Submerge your microfiber cloth into the solution and wring it out. Use the dampened cloth to clean the sticky wood table gently. 

It's best to avoid using excessive pressure when cleaning because it will harm the table's surface.

Step 4: Repeat as necessary to get rid of the stickiness.

Step 5: Immerse a fresh microfiber cloth in water and wring it out until it is nearly dry. Use that to wipe the table all over.

Step 6: Dry the table thoroughly to prevent moisture from eventually damaging the wood.

Tip: If you've got a sticky floor, take a look at our mini-guide to cleaning sticky floors.

How to clean a wood veneer dining table

Step 1: Using a dry cloth, first dust the table.

Step 2: Lightly dampen a microfiber or lint-free cloth with warm water and mild soap. Then, use the wet cloth to wipe the wood veneer in the direction of the wood grain.

Step 3: Dry the wood veneer dining table with dry cotton or microfiber cloth. Once again, work carefully in the same direction as the wood's grain pattern.

Note: Mix one teaspoon of mild soap flakes with two cups of warm water if the veneer has tough dirt or residue. Next, soak a cotton or microfiber cloth in the solution, then wring it out. Finally, wipe the wood veneer dining table in small sections to thoroughly clean it.

How to clean an unfinished wood dining table

Unfinished wood doesn't have a varnish coating to protect it from harm, making cleaning difficult. However, as a result of this, unfinished wood requires more frequent cleaning than finished wood. Nevertheless, you can clean your unfinished wood dining table with these easy steps below. 

Step 1: Use a paintbrush (never used for painting) to dust your unfinished wood. To prevent dust streaks, brush the wood along the grain as if you were painting it.

Step 2: Use a clean, moist cloth to remove any lingering debris and scratches on the wood's surface that can't be removed with a brush. Make sure the cloth is only slightly damp. If it is too wet, the wood grain may lift.

Step 3: If you still have scuffs or scratches that the damp cloth won't remove, use fine sandpaper with a 120-grit rating. Always work with the wood grain rather than against it.

Step 4: Spray a mineral spirit solution onto a microfiber cloth. Next, use it to clean the unfinished wood's surface carefully. 

It’s important to note that when you handle mineral spirits, you should wear gloves and keep your distance from the vapors. Additionally, apply the mineral spirits sparingly to prevent damaging the wood.

Step 6: After cleaning the table, rub in vegetable oil to regain its luster.

How do you care for a wood dining table?

  1. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean your wooden dining table at least once every week. Dust may contain harmless-looking tiny particles, but an accumulation can scratch the wood's finish. 
  2. Avoid using specialty dust polishes in cleaning the table since they include silicones that could permanently harm the wood's grain if they penetrate the wood's pores. Instead, use a cloth lightly dampened with water or a microfiber cloth that naturally sticks to the dust.
  3. Use a soft cloth to apply a mixture of equal parts vinegar and olive oil to any watermark rings that wet glasses have left on your tables. Work with the grain of the wood as you do so. Dry with another clean, lint-free cloth.
  4. Put your wood dining table away from heat registers and radiators, as temperature fluctuations could cause the wood to crack or deform.
  5. Try to maintain humidity levels in your home between 40 and 45%. Any lower or higher risks causing the wood to split.
  6. Polish your wood dining table with a hard carnauba wax at least twice a year.

Clean your wood dining table with ease

You can easily clean your wood dining table by wiping it down with diluted white vinegar and a microfiber cloth. However, the amount of dirt or the type of wood will determine which approach to use. 

If you’d like any help cleaning your dining table, or your home, schedule a qualified and inexpensive cleaner on Homeaglow.

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