State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500265
Cleaning Oil Finish Wood Furniture
To clean oiled wood, use a solution of 1 cup boiled linseed oil, 1 cup
turpentine, and 1/3 cup white vinegar. Turpentine is flammable so do
not use around flame or spark; do not get on skin; do not breathe
fumes. Wipe the surface with a soft cloth that has been dipped in the
cleaning solution. Never pour the solution directly onto the wood. Let
the solution stand for a few minutes to loosen the soil; then wipe off
the excess. All excess oil must be removed or it will attract dust and
get sticky. To finish, rub with the grain.
DO NOT USE wax or furniture polish on an oil finish.
Re-oil yearly with boiled linseed oil, tung oil, or a product
recommended by the manufacturer. These oils harden when exposed to air
and seal the wood. Never use non-drying oils like mineral oil for wood
finishes for furniture. Avoid using an oil dressing too often or too
liberally as it will cause a hardened oil build-up. If this happens,
use mineral spirits (paint thinner) to dissolve the residue.
CAUTION: When using mineral spirits or other solvents, follow all label
directions and warning. They are flammable, so don't use near flame or
spark or pilot light, and don't smoke. Wear rubber gloves to protect
your hands, and dispose of them afterward or wash with hot suds and let
them air dry thoroughly before storing. Work in well-ventilated room
and avoid breathing fumes. Air-dry cloths used to evaporate solvent
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus
with references from the North Dakota Extension bulletin Surface vs
Stain Care of Kitchens.
to main page
This information is for
educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade
names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those
not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon
publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension.
Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product
MSU is an
employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials
are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender,
gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran
status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
for webpage problems