How to restore the life of damaged wooden furniture yourself


Once the vacation is over and the guests are gone, you might notice things look a little worse with wear and tear. The low and end tables have water rings. There are new stripes on the dining table. There are cigarette burns and residue on the nightstand and dresser. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may be able to restore the furniture yourself.

Rosie Certified Partner Restoration of Irwin furniture offers you the following tips to restore your wooden furniture.

First, vacuum the area so you have a clean area to work with. Using a 100% cotton or soft microfiber cloth, dab it with a light amount of furniture oil. Donald Irwin Jr., Irwin’s director of operations, says one of the worst things people do when trying to clean or restore their wood is to use abrasive, scuffed rags or pads.

“It’s best to only use a 100% cotton cloth and always wipe with the grain,” Irwin said. “Do not apply strong manual pressure if there is a thick layer of dust particles as they will scratch the finish. Wipe lightly with a soft, damp cloth to remove debris. Then turn over with furniture oil.

Irwin recommends using a brand name pure oil such as Mohawk, Old English, and Guardsman for cleaning and dusting rather than spray varnish in a can. “Aerosol products contain added chemicals, which are harmful to your furniture finish,” Irwin said.

Specific damage

Water rings and heat marks – White, hazy, or cloudy areas are caused by placing a hot container directly on the table. Soak a cloth with lemon oil. Place it on the water stain overnight, or even 24 hours. For very deep marks, leave on for 48 hours. Lemon oil will remove moisture from the lacquer finish. If the water ring is stubborn, use a blush eraser as the next step. A blush eraser is a retarder that is sprayed or sprayed onto the area. While it is effective at home from a remedy standpoint, it may not remove the mark 100%.

Smells and stains from cigarettes, cigars and other cigarettes – The smoke is thick. Water will not remove smoke stains or odors. Odorless mineral spirits are an excellent degreaser. You have the choice between several brands. Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, lightly dampen a cotton cloth and gently wipe the surfaces to remove smoke residue.

Scratches & chips – Gluing may be the correct method of repairing large chips or breaks. But this requires driving the glue deep into the pores of the wood under tightening pressure to create a “bridge” bond. “When customers just squirt a ball of glue into a joint, all they’re doing is closing all the pores in the wood. It is almost impossible to follow them up with a proper repair without adding a lot of work to undo their work in order to make the wood repairable again, ”said Irwin.

This vintage vanity seat has it all: seasoned wood, shavings, animal stains and watermarks. It can be restored with a bit of TLC. (Rosie in the photo of the house)

Keep it blank

Once you have restored your wood furniture, Irwin suggests the following tips to keep them looking their best.

• Keep a pure oil product on hand for routine cleaning and dusting.

• Wood furniture in our dry, dusty Arizona climate requires special care. Keep thin pieces of wood out of direct sunlight, such as windows, as much as possible. Clean and oil wood furniture every three months with a quality branded pure furniture oil. Buy a petroleum product that “pours” out of a bottle, not a product that vaporizes in a mist. Teak, lemon, citrus and tongue oil work well.

• DO NOT place hot dishes or frozen glasses directly on wooden tables. Condensation will be absorbed into the finish, causing discoloration and damage. Always use coasters, placemats, and heating pads – a kind of protective barrier between a hot dish (or pizza box) and the finish of the table. Anything that will prevent a buildup of condensation from entering the finish and causing a permanently cloudy appearance.

• Never leave a plastic tablecloth on your table for a long time. Petroleum distillates in the plastic will “outgas” in the finish and permanently soften it. Vinyl-covered books and rubber stamps under staplers and calculators will give the same result.

A colorful plastic tablecloth was left on this dining table for too long resulting in color transfer and fabric fibers stuck to the surface. (Rosie in the photo of the house)

• Avoid storing cosmetics on wooden furniture. Many cosmetic products, especially nail polish remover, will quickly dissolve the finish to wood. Once this happens, the only corrective action is to rehabilitate the entire flat top surface of the cabinet.

• Keep your pets’ nails clipped. Clean up animal accidents immediately so that ammonia and enzymes do not settle in the wood.

• Wipe up wet spills quickly. Use a barely damp towel. Do not use a vacuum cleaner with a beater (the rotating brush unit in the power head of a vacuum cleaner) as this can damage the wood.

Oils: identical but different

Lemon, Citrus, Tongue, and Teak Oil is made from plant resins. The viscosity is what makes them different. Irwin recommends Mohawk, Old English and Guardsman products. Fluid oil is recommended for the maintenance of wood products inside the house.

Irwin notes that Murphy’s Oil Soap contains petroleum distillates which will soften older shellac finishes that have already started to degrade with age. “A little bit of elbow grease added and you’re about to peel your wood finish,” Irwin said.

There are organic cleaners that use concentrated essential oils that work like furniture strippers when not diluted or used as directed. “We had to redo a few tables this year due to the overuse of these products and the removal of parts of their finishes,” Irwin said.

Always use a 100% cotton cloth and liquid oil to clean and polish wooden furniture. (Photo Shutterstock)

Follow these simple steps and remedies to keep your wood furniture looking like new for generations to come.

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you would like to send us questions or comments, email [email protected] follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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