How to Keep Wood Looking New

Instead of giving up on your wooden floors and furniture, revive the wood around your home and keep it looking new by removing water stains, permanent marker, and more. 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read


DIY Wood Dusters

Wood furniture and floors add beautiful, elegant touches to a home. However, wood has one bitter and persistent enemy: dust, which accumulates quickly and is also very noticeable to the eye. For this reason, wood surfaces require regular cleaning to keep the wood looking smooth and shiny. As anyone with wood flooring knows, store-bought polishes and treated dusters are not only pricey, they contain strong-smelling chemicals that can linger in your home for weeks. Luckily, there’s an easy, safe alternative to the commercial stuff that cleans just as well (if not better!) and smells much fresher. Combine two cups of hot water with a quarter cup of lemon oil. Soak cheesecloth squares in the solution, then remove the cloths, ring out the liquid, and leave to dry. Polish wood weekly or whenever you notice a sneaky new layer of dust.

Preventing Sun Stroke on Wood Furniture

Don’t keep your good wood furniture in direct sunlight, especially during the hot summer. It damages the finish and can bleach the wood.

Drying Wood

If a piece of your wooden furniture or a wooden windowsill has gotten wet, resist the urge to dry it out with a space heater or hair dryer, as too much heat will make wood crack and warp. Instead, keep the area at room temperature and aim a fan at it.

Removing Water Stains on Wood

Does your wood furniture have white rings left from wet glasses? Remove them with a mixture of two tablespoons of corn oil and enough salt to make a paste. Apply the paste to the rings and let stand for at least one hour before rubbing the area gently. If the finish on your furniture is very delicate, you can substitute baking soda for the salt (it’s less abrasive). If neither of those solutions works, give mayonnaise a shot: Rub a tiny bit (a half teaspoon) on the ring with a paper towel and let it sit overnight. In the morning, just wipe with a damp cloth and the ring should be gone!

Removing Not-So Permanent Marker

If your kids (or you) get a permanent marker stain on furniture or the floor, don’t despair! There may be hope in the form of rubbing alcohol. Test an inconspicuous area first to make sure it won’t harm the finish, then apply directly to the stain with a rag or paper towel. Rub until it disappears, then wipe with a clean cloth moistened with water.

Surprising Furniture Fix

If you have a mark on your wood furniture or floor that won’t come off with furniture polish, try leaving mayonnaise on the stain for an hour, then wiping off.

Removing Wax

Removing candle wax from your wood floor is easy: First soften the wax with a blow-dryer, then wipe with towel soaked in vinegar and water.

Fixing a Nail Polish Disaster

If you’ve just dumped nail polish on your floor or table, not to fear. You may be able to remove it with shaving cream. Using a soft cloth, rub shaving cream on the nail polish, leave for several minutes, and wipe off. Just make sure to test an inconspicuous area of the surface first, to make sure the shaving cream won’t harm it.

For more cleaning tips for around the house, check out our Cleaning Tips board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.