How to clean and care for your wood dining furniture

A step-by-step guide to cleaning wooden furniture, polishing and restoring wooden tables and chairs, as well as home remedies that work.

Before we get going though, here are a few guiding principles:

  1. Prevention is better than cure: use coasters or cork and felt mats to prevent scratches on your table, and mop up spills as quickly as you can so they don’t set.
  2. When cleaning, start small and with the mildest options before progressing to other methods.
  3. Always ask your furniture manufacturer for their best practices (our Customer Service would be happy to help)

And now onwards!

1. Placement matters

First things first, where your table sits in the room matters. What we’re trying to balance here is neither too much heat nor too much humidity. So don’t position a wooden dining table where it would be in hours of direct sunlight or over a radiator.

Both temperature swings and humidity can cause warping or splitting, so be strategic about the placement of your table and chairs, and consider the inclusion of a humidifier or air conditioner in the room, if you can.

2. Clean after use, and dust weekly

Nautical inspired dining room with oak wooden dining table and slatted back wooden dining chairs.
Furniture And Choice - Highbury Oak Dining Table

The next important thing is to clean the table after every use with soft cloths to capture any spilled food or drink. A microfibre cloth is best, but any lint-free cloth (and old T-shirt even!) is a good choice - just dampen slightly and wipe immediately after meals or spillage to prevent stains from setting.

It’s also important to dust frequently. While dust can seem harmless, it can build up, and scratch and damage a table’s finish, so it’s best to get ahead of it.

3. Give your furniture a thorough clean twice a year

Even with daily cleanings, your wooden table and chairs will really benefit from a deep, thorough clean once or twice a year. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Dish detergent
  • Warm water
  • At least two microfibre cloths

Begin by creating a diluted solution of warm water with mild dishwashing liquid.

Next, clean any dust off the table and chairs by wiping it down with a cloth. After that, dip one of the microfibre cloths in your solution and begin wiping your furniture, working from section to section. Avoid soaking the wood in water and always keep a dry, soft cloth on hand to ensure that you wipe any excess moisture away immediately to avoid absorption and warping.

If you have particularly stubborn marks or build up, never use abrasive cleaning products or a sponge or scrubber to clean your tables and chairs, as that might scratch the surface and ruin the finish. Instead, plastic pot scrapers or even credit cards might be a good alternative.

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