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How to Clean a Wooden Table

Taking care of a wooden table is sort of like taking care of a marriage—a little tender loving care on a regular basis, and it will thrive.


  • Step 1: Test table Place a drop of liquid detergent on a cotton cloth dampened with warm water to test the table first. Test in a small, inconspicuous place — like along the edge of the table or at a corner.
  • Step 2: Create solution If there is no noticeable damage or discoloration to the table's finish, create a solution of water and liquid detergent to clean the entire table.
  • Step 3: Clean table Clean the table with the soapy solution using a cloth from which any excess water has been squeezed out.
  • Step 4: Rinse often Rinse the cloth often as you clean, rewetting and then wringing it out again.
  • Step 5: Rinse detergent off When the entire table has been cleaned, rinse the detergent off with another cloth dipped in warm water—again, don't use too much water.
  • TIP: For tough grime or stains, use a cloth dipped in mineral spirits and rub in strong circular strokes, being careful not to dig through the finish. If this technique does not work, your table needs to be refinished by a professional.
  • Step 6: Dry table Rub the table with a dry cloth to remove any trace of moisture.
  • TIP: To remove water rings, try applying a small amount of non-gel toothpaste to a damp cloth and rubbing it over the ring. Wipe it clean with another damp cloth, then wipe it dry.
  • Step 7: Apply wax When the table is clean and dry, apply furniture wax—but only do this once every three months to a year to avoid buildup.
  • FACT: The traditional gift for a fifth wedding anniversary is something made of wood—how about a nice, shiny table?

You Will Need

  • A few clean cloths
  • A little mild liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Some warm water
  • Furniture wax
  • Mineral spirits
  • Non-gel toothpaste

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