Owning a nice dining room set in all its glory is a wonderful feeling. However, it can cost you over a thousand dollars to purchase one. This is because many dining tables are designed with both 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 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 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 a cleaning agent for your wooden dining table is a mixture of vinegar, olive oil, and water. This is the perfect everyday cleaning solution for all-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)
To begin, fill 1/4 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. Combine all three ingredients to create an eco-friendly, disinfecting solution.
Take a microfiber washcloth and spray the mixed cleaning solution directly into the cloth to lightly dampen it. Avoid spraying this solution directly on the table. Make long, 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 it down and dried it 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 watermarks or droplets still lingering.
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
To begin, fill the empty spray bottle with 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup water, 2 teaspoonful of olive oil, and 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Once mixed, grab your cloth and spray the solution directly into it. Use the cloth to gently scrub the area of the water stains. chargeback and forth several times until you see the gradual disappearance of the stains.
This will take a lot of time, 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 dampen the cloth and continue until the stain is gone.
Method 3: DIY no vinegar, no baking soda cleaner
This last method is for when you’d rather not deal with using either vinegar or 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 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 cups 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, then 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 grimy spots from your dining table. The few drops of dishwashing soap should be strong enough to help with that.
How do I polish my wooden dining table?
- Olive oil and vinegar: Mix equal parts of olive oil and white vinegar. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and apply it to the table. Rub the cloth in a circular motion, following the grain of the wood. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with a clean cloth.
- Beeswax: Melt a small amount of beeswax in a double boiler or a heat-safe container over a pot of boiling water. Once melted, apply the beeswax to the table using a soft cloth or a paintbrush. Let it sit for a few minutes, then buff the surface with a clean cloth.
- Coconut oil: Dip a soft cloth into melted coconut oil and apply it to the table. Rub the cloth in a circular motion, following the grain of the wood. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with a clean cloth.
- Lemon juice and olive oil: Mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice. Apply the mixture to the table using a soft cloth, rubbing in a circular motion, following the grain of the wood. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with a clean cloth.
What kind of cloth should I use to clean my wooden dining table?
- Microfiber cloth: Microfiber cloths are soft, absorbent, and effective at removing dust, dirt, and grime from wood surfaces without scratching them.
- Cotton cloth: A cotton cloth is also a good option, as it’s soft and gentle on wood surfaces. Avoid using rough or abrasive materials such as paper towels, scrubbing pads, or steel wool, as they can scratch the wood and leave behind fibers.
- Old t-shirt: An old, soft t-shirt can also be used to clean your wooden dining table. Cut up an old t-shirt into small squares and use them to clean the table.
How do I protect my wooden dining table from moisture damage?
- Use coasters and placemats: Always use coasters and placemats under glasses, plates, and other items to protect the surface of the table from moisture.
- Wipe up spills immediately: If a spill occurs, wipe it up immediately with a soft, absorbent cloth to prevent it from seeping into the wood.
- Use a tablecloth: Consider using a tablecloth to protect the table from spills, stains, and moisture. Be sure to choose a tablecloth that is made of a breathable material, such as cotton or linen, to allow air to circulate and prevent moisture buildup.
- Maintain proper humidity: Wood furniture is sensitive to changes in humidity, which can cause it to warp or crack. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to maintain a consistent humidity level in your home, ideally between 40% and 60%.
- Apply a protective finish: Applying a protective finish, such as a wax or sealant, can help protect the wood from moisture damage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and reapplication.
How often should I clean my wooden dining table?
It’s recommended that you should reapply natural cleaning solutions on your wooden dining table as needed, which may range from every few weeks to a few months.
Here are some signs that it’s time to reapply:
- The surface of the table looks dull or dirty.
- The table feels sticky or oily to the touch.
- Water or other liquids are no longer beading up on the surface.
- The surface of the table is no longer smooth to the touch.
Can natural solutions damage the wooden dining table finish?
Using natural solutions to clean and polish your wooden dining table can be a great way to avoid harsh chemicals and maintain the natural beauty of the wood. However, it’s important to use these solutions correctly and to be aware of any potential risks to the finish of the table.
Some natural solutions, such as vinegar or lemon juice, can be acidic and may damage the finish of your table if used too frequently or in too high a concentration.
It’s also important to avoid using too much water or other liquids when cleaning your table, as excess moisture can seep into the wood and cause damage over time.
To minimize the risk of damage to the finish of your wooden dining table, be sure to use natural solutions in moderation and to test them on a small, inconspicuous area of the table first.
Use a soft cloth when applying any solution, and avoid using rough or abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the surface of the wood.
Why use vinegar to clean a wooden table?
The active ingredient here is 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 acidic components.
Is using vinegar a good enough cleaning agent?
Yes, it is. A low pH level such as 2 or 3 means 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 kinds of vinegar 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.
How does baking soda work as a cleaning agent?
Baking soda is incredibly effective at dissolving dirt and grease. When you put baking soda on a stain, it turns into a mildly abrasive powder that you can use to clean it.
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.
Why should dish soap be hand-safe?
One thing I hope you’ve noticed is that I mentioned that 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 soothe 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 okay to clean wooden tables?
Fortunately, if you have regular dishwashing soap, you should be fine. The ingredients and instructions I’ve given ask for a very small amount of 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 cost merely a fraction of what the brand-name 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 also harmful to humans. 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 membranes. 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 are 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 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. Dirt and food particles left behind after eating have to be eaten away and dissolved by cleaning solutions.
Even though you made these cleaning solutions the natural way and there are no toxic chemicals involved, that 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, causing 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.
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