How Often Should You Polish Wood Furniture?

Image of polished wood furniture but How Often Should You Polish Wood Furniture?Polishing wood furniture is a good idea to keep the surface smooth. Also, the polish repels dust off the furniture and reduces scratches on the surface. Thus, you may want to consider a polishing routine for your wood surfaces. However, there is a limit in how frequently you should buff the wood. So, it would help to answer the question, how often should you polish wood furniture?

Every six weeks is okay for polishing wood furniture. Please note that furniture polish has water, which can raise the wood’s veneer. Thus, it would be best not to polish too frequently. Also, factors such as how often you use the furniture affect the decision to buff or polish.

Therefore, it would help to add more polish if the wood looks dull. Read on for more guidelines on what to use during polishing and how to do it.

What Can I Use in Place of Furniture Polish?

You can use olive oil, white vinegar, and lemon juice in place of furniture polish. The olive oil nourishes the lumber and keeps it from cracking. On the other hand, vinegar cleans the surface. However, ensure that you use the correct proportions.

Combine a quarter cup of each solution and pour some on a soft rag or cloth. Please avoid spritzing the mixture directly onto the wood. The solution’s harsh compounds can fade or discolor the furniture. 

On top of that, ensure that you treat any water stains on the lumber before buffing. Do not worry about stubborn dirt and grimy fingerprints, as vinegar in the recipe will do the trick. You can also substitute apple cider vinegar, but it has pest-attracting pectin. So, if ants are an issue in the area, it would help to stick with white vinegar.

Even so, please avoid using pure, undiluted vinegar on wood furniture. It leaves watermarks, and the acid component in the liquid can ‘eat’ some kinds of finishes. Thus, you suffer more harm than good. However, fortunately, vinegar is safe for buffing once you mix it with olive oil.

Can Olive Oil Be Used as Furniture Polish?

You might have interacted with the extraordinary benefits of olive oil on your facial care and skin. Interestingly, the oil is also an excellent alternative for commercial furniture polish. It is milder than petroleum-based lumber polishes, eco-friendly, and affordable.

However, some people think that olive oil may damage the wood. But the opposite is true. The oil nourishes the lumber and glorifies its natural shine. Also, you can use it to treat various kinds of wooden surfaces. 

Furniture ranging from tables to chairs to wooden storage boxes works well with olive oil. In addition, although the solution does not have the same thickness as a varnish layer, it preserves the wood from scratches and mild dents.

You need the following supplies to make olive oil furniture polish: Lemon juice, a clean, dry rag or cloth, a small bowl, and of course, the olive oil. Then, pour two parts of the oil into the bowl and blend one part with lemon juice. Besides that, please beware of alternatives such as virgin coconut oil or vegetable oil as they may damage the lumber.

Does Coconut Oil Make a Good Furniture Polish?

Absolutely! Coconut oil makes a perfect furniture polish. Most people know it as a smoothie additive, curry ingredient, and beauty product. But it also belongs to the cleaning category as a powerful and natural cleanser and polisher.

The liquid is almost a must-have ingredient to add to your furniture polish mixture. It features superior antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal abilities. Also, coconut oil can withstand the toughest reconditioning, scrubbing, and greasing projects.

You will find the solution present in some natural cleaners. However, you can use the oil directly without blending it with another product. All you need is to apply half a tablespoon at a time to a dry rag. Then, apply on chairs, wood frames, side tables, and other furniture. You can also buff the surfaces later with a soft wipe to complete the cleaning.

Check out the following additional applications of coconut oil.

  • Refinishes a Wood Table

The oil moisturizes the lumber and highlights its natural colors. But ensure that you sand the wooden surface and wash it with soapy water. Let it dry, and then apply the liquid with a dry cloth. Next, allow it to sit for about 15 minutes before buffing in wide circles with a soft dry rag.

  • Removes Crayon

Coconut oil saves the day if your child prodigy uses crayons on furniture. Apply some oil on a washcloth and wipe the crayon marks away. Then, use vinegar to remove excess coconut oil from porous surfaces.

  • Prevents Dust

It is time to say goodbye to the feather duster! A coconut oil coat on shelves and other hard-to-reach areas prevents dust build-up.

How Do You Shine Natural Wood Furniture?

You can shine natural wood furniture by cleaning it with lemon oil or orange cleaner. Spray or wipe the solution on the furniture and let it settle for about ten to fifteen minutes. Then, wipe off with a smooth, clean cloth.

How Do You Clean Wood Furniture Without Polish?

Wood furniture polish is perfect for dusting and shining lumber surfaces. However, it combines with dust over time and leaves a dark film on chairs, tables, and shelves. Therefore, you can create an air-tight, occasional clean-up routine. Or adopt other polishing strategies that do not need furniture polish.

Here’s one of the techniques to use.

  • Dust the wood item to eliminate surface dirt.
  • Use the mildest or gentlest cleaner to remove light soiling. You can use stronger solutions as needed. But ensure that you blend them with water and dishwashing soap.
  • Dip a soft rag into the mixture, wring it, and wipe the entire surface. Also, it would help to use a damp rag, not a wet one.
  • Please avoid saturating the wood by rinsing the rag often.
  • Get a second, clean rag, and dry the furniture properly.

How Do You Polish Furniture Naturally?

The ingredients you need to polish furniture naturally are vinegar, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and vinegar. Also, ensure that you get two microfiber cleaning cloths and a bowl.

Next, mix the ingredients. It would be best to have two parts of olive oil, two parts of vinegar, and one ‘part’ of lemon juice. Also, make only as much formula as you need because leftovers can become rescind before the next polishing project.

Please avoid excesses as a little solution goes a long way. So, lightly dip the corner of one of the cloths into the solution. Then, apply the mixture to the surface while following the grain. Dip the cloth into the liquid again if needed until you get a perfect finish.

Lastly, wipe up any excess liquid using the second microfiber cloth. Ensure that you still follow the grain while picking up any unabsorbed oil.

NB: Begin with a small test section to see the finish that the mixture delivers. No matter how clean you think the wood is, the mixture ceases to be pure after double-dipping the cloth. Thus, do not ingest the leftover polish.

How Often Should I Oil Wood Furniture?

You should oil furniture surfaces with oil-and-wax finishes at least once or twice a year. Or whenever the lumber looks dry. However, wood with finishes on the surface, such as glossy lacquers or paints, is difficult to oil. The oil won’t be able to soak into or penetrate the lumber. Thus, you may compromise the surface’s beautiful appearance.

Even so, it is prudent to inspect your countertops, wooden furniture, and cutting boards for any signs of cracking or dryness. Then, take action once you observe dull and thirsty-looking lumber.

Olive oil is a perfect option to redeem the wood and keep it looking fresh and shiny. In addition, it even treats wooden surfaces. Thus, there is no excuse for having dry wood in your home.

Besides that, oiling your furniture will not compromise its beauty. The wood may look slightly darker or glossier. Very light lumber such as pine or beech can also deliver a golden tinge after oiling. But the change is only temporal as the wood neutralizes after curing.

You can stain the wood before oiling it if you want it to retain a very dark or light finish. Also, please avoid applying excess oil per layer or leaving excess liquid as it does not soak properly.

Finally, ensure that you give standard and raw linseed about three to four days to dry. They take a longer duration to cure than other wood oils.

What Is the Best Oil For Wood Furniture?

Oil finishes are a favorite product for kitchen utensils and wood furniture. They are food-safe, eco-friendly, and non-toxic. On top of that, they are easy to maintain and deliver a more textured wood grain pattern.

Below is a list of five commonly uses oils for wood furniture.

  • Linseed Oil

This oil is a hand-rubbed finish that saturates deep into the lumber to preserve it from extreme humidity changes and scratches. It also delivers a satin finish that accentuates the wood grain and natural hue.

People also call the solution flaxseed oil as it comes from the flaxseed plant. It is available as polymerized, raw, and boiled linseed oil, depending on the processing levels. The polymerized linseed form is the best to use for finishing projects as it is pure and non-toxic.

On the other hand, raw linseed oil has an extended drying time and can take several weeks for each coat to dry. Also, boiled linseed oil has potentially hazardous drying compounds.

  • Mineral Oil

The term mineral oil describes a clear, odorless oil. But often, it refers to a petroleum derivative. However, the solution is a common food-safe and non-toxic. It is suitable for kitchen wood utensils, cutting boards, and wood bowls.

  • Tung Oil

Tung oil is a plant-based wood finish. It is quick-drying, clear, and soaks deep into the grain. Also, the solution enhances the wood’s texture and protects it. You can comfortably use it on kitchen furniture as it is non-toxic, food-safe, and eco-friendly.

However, the oil also comes as raw or 100% pure tung oil. Hence, most artisans prefer to use polymerized or boiled oil forms. In addition, it does not yellow over time as common finishes like nitrocellulose lacquer, polyurethane, and linseed oil.

  • Danish Oil

This oil possesses linseed oil or tung oil and other ingredients such as drying agents, thinners, thickeners, and binding compounds. Thus, it is perfect for polishing wood surfaces.

  • Walnut Oil

Walnut oil is similar to mineral oil as far as its function is concerned. It is suitable for kitchen utensils and cutting boards as it is food-safe. On the other hand, it is like tung oil and linseed oil as it has a fairly long curing time.

Unfortunately, you cannot combine the oil with polymerized or boiling mineral spirits to speed up the drying time. Thus, you’ll have to make do with the long curing duration it offers.

How Do You Rejuvenate Dry Wood Furniture?

You do not have to throw away dry wood furniture. Rejuvenating is quite simple as long as you take the time to do a perfect job.

The first thing is to sand the lumber, then apply linseed oil, and paint it. Thankfully, the ingredients for the job are easy to find, and they include steel wool, soft cloths, wood cleaner, tung oil, furniture or lemon oil, and furniture paste wax.

You can check out the following procedure to do an excellent job.

  • Use a wood cleaner and fine-grade steel wool to clean the wood thoroughly. Then, ensure that you work with the grain. Also, it would be best to avoid applying too much pressure as it removes the finish or stain.
  • Wipe away any loose grime or dirt with a clean cloth, and give the wood time to dry.
  • Dip a soft cloth in furniture oil and rub the wood while following the grain. Fold the rag and apply the solution to an edge to get in the wood embellishments or crevices. Also, ensure that you cover the whole piece with oil.
  • Allow the wood to soak overnight to moisturize and hydrate it. You can put the piece into operation once it dries. But it would help to proceed with the following steps to offer superior protection to the surface.
  • Use a clean steel wool portion and rub the furniture in the wood grain’s direction. This move removes high spots and prepares the wood for an additional coat.
  • Apply tung oil to the lumber as a seal coat. It will harden to deliver a plastic-like layer on the surface. Thus, delivering optimal protection from elements. Also, please follow the wood grain’s pattern to get a beautiful, even finish.
  • However, tung oil is optional, and you can move right up to waxing the lumber. Ensure that you buff the wax finish thoroughly. Also, work with small sections to keep up with the wood grain. Or, you can refuse to wax the furniture as the oil hydrates the lumber.

That said, it is prudent to keep the lumber from damage or drying up. Thus, please refrain from pouring water on the wood surface. But if you do, ensure that you wipe it off immediately. Also, keep furniture indoors during a heavy downpour.

In addition, sealing is an excellent strategy to protect the furniture from moisture. It makes the surface water-resistance but not waterproof. Hence, it would be best to take care of the wood even after sealing.

Finally, tung oils have additional compounds that cause them to cure and harden faster with air exposure. However, it does not possess these driers if the oil package says ‘natural.’ But generally, the solution requires at least six hours to cure. And the physical job is complete once you apply it.

How Do You Moisturize Old Wood Furniture?

Begin with sanding the wood furniture as it helps to grade and smooth the surface. The technique also eliminates flaws such as outlines and bubbles. Check out the following steps.

  • Wear a dust mask and protective glasses.
  • Fold the grit sandpaper in half and rub it against the wood grain.
  • Wipe away the dust and repeat until you get a smooth to-touch surface.

Next, apply boiled linseed oil as it delivers natural hues. Also, it leaves the surface with a soft texture. Moreover, it is fair to say that the surface will feel as it did when you got it. The application procedure is as follows.

  • First, wear hand gloves to protect your skin.
  • Apply some linseed oil onto the lumber and use a cloth to rub it back and forth. Also, ensure that you spread the oil across the whole piece.
  • Wait for the boiled linseed oil to penetrate the wood and give it around 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Use a cloth to distribute the oil evenly and wipe off any excess liquid.
  • Give the wood three days to dry as the oil fully settles.
  • Then, use a clean rag to brush off any dust from the furniture if you want to apply an additional coat.
  • Apply a small oil amount this time and rub it with a rag. Repeat the process till you achieve the desired finish.
  • Lastly, wipe the furniture back and forth until the oil soaks in properly.

On top of that, you may want to paint over the oil finish to enhance its longevity. Or add more spice to the furniture’s look. Ensure that the surface is dry before adding the paint coat. Then, set the wood back and follow the following steps.

  • Protect the floor and other surfaces from sawdust and paint by covering them.
  • Eliminate any obstructions on the furniture before painting.
  • Ensure that the house is ventilated if you are working indoors.
  • Wipe off any dust from the surface and soak the brush.
  • Apply the paint formula and flex the brush on the piece.
  • Gently and lightly stroke the solution smoothly.
  • Check the prescriptions for curing times.

In addition, you can make DIY solutions to rehydrate your wood furniture. You can consider a simple blend consisting of olive oil, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Also, I know it comes across as a salad topping, but the mixture will do your wood some good. It eliminates water spots and makes the wood look newer and cleaner than before.

You require one tablespoon of lemon juice, one tablespoon of mayonnaise, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Then, mix the components in a shallow pot and whisk to blend. Also, ensure that you use a rag that you won’t think of using again.

Besides that, your hands can work better than a cloth to apply the solution. The sticky compounds in the mixture may not come off with a rag.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions most readers ask regarding the subject:

  • How to Remove Old Polish

Learning how to remove old polish or clean old wood furniture is essential. It will help you maintain a clean and attractive piece. In addition, the simple steps will revitalize your antique.

First, soak two tea bags in a container with boiling water. Let the tea cool for some time, say till about room temperature. Then, soak a soft rag in the solution, wring it out, and wash the wood.

You may be asking if this is regular tea. Well, yes, it is! Tea has tannic acid that is perfect for maintaining wood. You’ll be amazed at how the furniture will shine.


Better safe than sorry is an ideal approach to polished furniture. So, it would be best to buff the surface once in a while to keep the shine intact. However, you may still be in doubt and wondering how often should you polish wood furniture?

You can polish wood furniture after every six weeks. Also, please consider factors such as how frequently you use the item. They affect how frequently you will polish or buff it. But, generally, you can buff and polish the lumber as soon as the finish becomes dull.

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

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