Owning a nice dining room set with all its glory is a wonderful feeling. However, it can cost you over a thousand dollars to purchase one. That’s because a lot of dining tables are crafted and made especially with the purpose of design aesthetics and durability in mind. The craft and the finishing layers that are built into a dining table can sometimes be the star of the show. That’s why taking care of your thousand dollar table is so important.
The one goal we have in mind after first owning a nice, high-quality dining table is, how do we take care of this table so that it will last as long as possible? What should I use to keep it clean and protect it from stains and damages that will come with age?
If you’re like me, you’d probably want to avoid those harsh chemicals found at the store that may unintentionally eat into the wood and ultimately destroy your table. Repairing a table can cost hundreds of dollars if you hire someone to do it. You also run the risk of further damaging the table if you try to fix it yourself. What I recommend you do is focus on protecting and preventing the accident from even happening in the first place.
A solid foundation on how to take care of your dining table is the key to saving yourself 100s of dollars and perhaps even up to the cost of the table itself.
In this article, I want to show you 3 different ways you can clean your wooden or wooden laminated dining table (See it on Amazon here) without the use of industrialized abrasive chemicals. These are everyday, natural items you can simply find in your pantry and are available at your local store. There’s no need to buy fancy chemicals that will end up eating away at the luster of your table.
For many, this table is the hallmark of the dining room. It’s the staple of what your entire home can be perceived as. You must defend that.
These methods will help protect your table from damage and keep it looking amazing throughout the years to come.
Method 1: DIY natural wood cleaning solution
One of the most common ingredients that you can use as the cleaning agent for your wooden dining table is a mixture of vinegar, olive oil, water. This is the perfect everyday cleaning solution for all-general purpose wood furniture like wooden dining tables.
It would be handy to also have an empty spray bottle with you so you can contain this soup of ingredients.
What you’ll need is:
- 1 full cup of water
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (See it on Amazon here)
- 2 teaspoonfuls of olive oil
- 1 empty spray bottle (See it on Amazon here)
- 1 microfiber cloth (See it on Amazon here)
Begin by filling up ¼ of a cup with apple cider vinegar. Add in about 2 teaspoonfuls of olive oil. Finally, dilute this mixture with about a full cup of water. Mix up all 3 ingredients and you’ve got yourself an eco friendly, disinfecting solution.
Take a microfiber wash cloth and spray the mixed cleaning solution directly into the cloth to lightly damp it. Avoid spraying this solution directly on the table. Make long and continuous strokes down, along the grains of the wood. Make swift motions as you wipe across the table.
Make sure not to leave any puddle like residue from the solution on the wooden dining table. Indeed this is a natural soap, and it shouldn’t be powerful enough to damage the dining table if you’ve wiped down and dried the table with the same cloth. However, if you were to leave a puddle of the solution on the table for more than 5 minutes, it might subtly eat away at the finishing layer.
When you’re finished, make sure the table is dry enough that you can’t even see any water marks or droplets still lingering on.
Why use vinegar to clean a wooden table?
The active ingredient here is the vinegar. Vinegar isn’t just good for cooking. It’s made of acetic acid. This means that the pH of apple cider vinegar is between 2 and 3 which is considered mildly acidic. That also roughly translates to 5% of a bottle being composed of acid components.
Is using vinegar a good enough cleaning agent? Yes it is. What the numbers above means is that it falls in line with many of the typical cleaning agents you’d find in stores. Mildly acidic cleaners can dissolve hard water deposits, remove mild rust stains and eliminate grimy film.
Apple cider vinegar vs. regular white vinegar. What’s the difference?
At first glance, the most obvious difference between the two is their color. White vinegar is sometimes called spirit vinegar and is clear. Apple cider vinegar is brown. Now I’m recommending apple cider vinegar instead of the traditional white vinegar because of the pungent odor that white vinegar often portrays.
Apple cider vinegar offers the same cleaning power as white vinegar with a more pleasant, sweet smell.
Both vinegars have the same level of acidity and can be used to clean and disinfect your dining table. They are both nontoxic, and biodegradable cleaning options.
Method 2: DIY natural wood stain remover
Wooden dining tables can sometimes develop these water stains that feel as if they were a part of the table itself. They are very difficult to remove because the stains embed themselves right underneath the wood polish. Fortunately, there’s a homemade solution for those who don’t want to go out and buy abrasive chemicals that are both expensive and potentially harmful to the wooden furniture you’re trying to clean.
- ½ cup of baking soda (See it on Amazon here)
- ½ cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoonfuls of olive oil
- 1 empty spray bottle
- 1 microfiber cloth or soft cloth
Begin by mixing ½ cup of baking soda, ½ cup of water and 3 tablespoonful of apple cider vinegar into the empty spray bottle.
Once mixed, grab your cloth and spray the solution directly into your cloth. Use the cloth and gently scrub the area of the water stains. Charge back and forth several times until you see the gradual disappearance of the stains. This will take a lot of time and so you must be patient.
If the stains remain and your continuous back and forth motion is no longer making any changes, go ahead and add more solution to your cloth. Do not drench the cloth. Just lightly damp the cloth and continue until the stain is gone.
How does baking soda work as a cleaning agent?
Baking soda is incredibly effective at dissolving dirt and grease. As you apply baking soda onto the surface of the stain, baking soda forms a mildly abrasive scouring powder.
The reason for this is because of baking soda’s properties. You know now that vinegar is an acid. Baking soda is a mild alkali, a base. It has the ability to make dirt and grease dissolve into water.
It creates a natural gentle abrasive texture that’s excellent for getting rid of tough stains. The combination of baking soda with vinegar makes for a naturally powerful but safe cleaning alternative.
Method 3: DIY no vinegar, no baking soda cleaner
This last method is for when you’d rather not deal with using either the vinegar nor the baking soda. For whatever reason, you might not have these items on your own at all. Well don’t be afraid. There’s another alternative that’s even more plain and simple.
You can also use your dish soap to clean the table. However, you must be extra careful about this method because dish soap may have properties in it that eat away at films and polishing layers.
What you’ll need is:
- 2 full cup of water
- 3 drops of hand safe dish soap (See it on Amazon here)
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 microfiber cloth or soft cloth
Simply mix the 3 drops of dish soap into the 2 full cups of water and pour it into your spray bottle.
Again, use the spray bottle and spray directly into the cloth and begin wiping down the table with the grain. Repeat the wipe down until your wooden dining table is nice and shiny.
This method is excellent for removing grimey spots on your dining table. The few drops of dishwashing soap should be strong enough to help with that.
Why should the dish soap be hand-safe?
One thing I hope you’ve noticed is that I mentioned this dish soap had to be hand-safe. Manufacturers used to make only dish soap that did not include the “hand-safe” moniker and what turned out for most people was that this soap was causing their hands to dry out.
Since then, companies have added ingredients like glycerin which helps sooth and is gentler for your skin when using this dish soap.
What does glycerin have to do with wooden tables? Glycerin soap is gentler on the surface of the wood. It’s really just plain dish soap. Without glycerin, dish soap will take on a moisture-stripping quality that will dry up and perhaps cause damage to the stain of the wood.
Is regular dish soap ok to clean wooden tables?
Luckily for you, it might be ok if you do have regular dish washing soap. The ingredients and instructions I’ve given asks for a very small amount of the soap and thus shouldn’t cause any damage to the surface of your fine wooden table.
Why should you use homemade wood cleaners?
Buying solutions and chemicals from the store can sometimes become really expensive. Some of the ingredients listed costs merely a fraction of what the brand products cost.
You’re not only saving money, but you’re also saving the environment from these harmful chemicals. Some of these household products work like commercial grade cleaners that are not only harmful to the environment, but are also harmful to humans as well. Natural cleaners are none of those.
In fact, if you used the DIY solutions listed above, it would be considered safe to eat off the table as well since every ingredient in the homemade cleaning solution is non-toxic and often used in food anyway. Just make sure you’re not allergic to any of those ingredients before you think about getting rid of your plates and dishes.
Finally, these natural homemade cleaners are gentle and easy on the wood and furniture in your home. They work incredibly well for your dining room table.
What do the common all-purpose cleaning chemicals really do?
|Sodium hydroxide||A chemical that’s used in many soaps and cleaning solutions. It’s very corrosive and can irritate the eyes, skin, and mucous membrane. It’s also sometimes used for removing skin from tomatoes and potatoes. It is also used in canned food as a preservative to help prevent mold and bacteria in food.|
|Ammonium chloride||A chemical used to kill pathogenic microorganisms through chemical reactions that disrupt the cell wall. If you see any ingredient on a cleaning bottle ending with ammonium chloride, chances are this is what it does. Extensive exposure to ammonium compounds can lead to skin and eye irritations.|
|Sodium hypochlorite||In the form of a solution, this is commonly known as bleach. It’s used in swimming pools. Low levels of this substance is considered okay. But high levels of sodium hypochlorite can cause burning pain, redness, swelling and blisters. Eye injuries are also a factor.|
How hard should I be scrubbing?
Not hard at all. You should be gentle but firmly pressing down and gliding your cloth across the table in the direction of the grain. Don’t scrub against the grain.
Continue to do this multiple times to get the results you’re looking for or until the stain is visibly gone.
Some stains lie deeper than others and the deeper ones require more time, not more pressure. Forcing a lot of pressure on the table while scrubbing it may damage or remove any finishing polish that might be there to protect the actual wood. Be careful and take your time when wiping down the table.
One other thing I recommend is to wash the table immediately after using it or after it gets dirty. Leaving food on the table for example will harden up and make it much more difficult to remove as time goes on.
How long should I leave the natural cleaner on the table before wiping them off?
You should immediately wipe off any type of cleaning solution from a wooden table. It shouldn’t matter what that cleaning solution is. Cleaning solutions have the one task of eating away and dissolving at the dirt and food particles left behind after eating.
Even though you made these cleaning solutions the natural way and there’s no toxic chemicals involved, it doesn’t mean the ingredients are completely harmless. Vinegar is a mild acid and baking soda is a mild base. If they were left on the table long enough, they could eat away at the finish and make their way right into the wood and cause a lot of damage.
How do I remove sticker residue off a wooden table?
Removing sticker residue simply requires you to soak a cloth with white vinegar and lay it over the sticker for several minutes. This will loosen the adhesive force between the sticker and the wooden table, thus allowing you to gently peel the sticker off the surface with your nails.
However, this may cause some of the finishing layer to be removed from the surface of your wooden dining table. In this case, finish off the removal with some wood polish after you’re done.