Maintaining wooden surfaces in your home is a necessary task to preserve the quality of furniture and floors, although it can be challenging due to wood’s susceptibility to water. Many resort to commercial wood cleaners containing harsh chemicals without realizing the potential hazards. The Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Cleaning Guide reveals that even popular wood cleaners may contain ingredients concerning for their impact on biodegradation, aquatic life, air quality, and human health. An alternative method involves using vinegar, olive oil, and beeswax for a polished finish. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
What You’ll Need
½ cup white or apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
20-30 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
? cup beeswax or vegan alternative (carnauba or candelilla)
1 ½ cups flaxseed or walnut oil
6 microfiber or lint-free cotton cloths
Bowl or spray bottle
1. Dust With a Damp Cloth: Remove dust using a damp cloth and immediately dry to prevent water damage. For deeper cleaning, additional steps are necessary.
2. Create Your Wood Cleaner: Mix vinegar and olive oil for a gentle, natural cleaner safe for wood. Vinegar’s acetic acid lifts dirt and stains while olive oil moisturizes wood. Aim for a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to olive oil, adding lemon juice and lavender oil for fragrance if desired. Use white vinegar for lighter woods and apple cider vinegar for darker ones.
3. Apply Solution to Wood: Apply the solution with a cloth or spray bottle, rubbing gently with the wood grain to allow the vinegar to tackle dirt and stains. Test on a small area before widespread use to ensure it doesn’t damage or discolor the wood.
4. Dry Thoroughly: Wipe the mixture completely using a dry cloth to prevent blotching, especially crucial for wooden floors. Circular motions during wiping can enhance the polish effect.
5. Protect With Wax: Every six months to a year and a half, apply a fresh coat of wax for protection and shine. Mix melted beeswax or a plant-based alternative with flaxseed or walnut oil. Apply lightly with a cloth, allowing it to dry and form a protective layer. Buff for a polished finish.
By following these steps using natural ingredients, you can effectively clean and preserve wooden surfaces in your home without resorting to commercial cleaners containing harsh chemicals.