How to Clean a Wooden Rocking Chair

Deborah Ng

Wooden rocking chairs are beloved family heirlooms. Many are passed on through the generations. When not in use they become dirty and dusty over time. If not maintained, wooden rocking chairs become scratched and dull. Surface dirt and light stains are easy to remove using items commonly found in the home.

A wooden rocking chair is a treasured heirloom.

With some soap, water, and a little elbow grease, you'll have your rocking chair looking as good as new in no time.

  1. Spread tarp on the floor and place the wooden rocking chair directly on top of the tarp.

  2. Pour ½ cup of Murphy's Oil Soap into the bucket of warm water, and place the bucket on the tarp to protect the floor from drips and spills.

  3. Put on rubber gloves, and dip the sponge into the water. Squeeze out the excess soap and water to avoid drips. Using firm, even strokes, begin washing the rocking chair. Take care to wash in between all the slats, under the arms, the back, seat, and on and around the legs and rockers. For stains, finger prints, sticky spots and heavy dirt, use pressure. Continue this process until the chair is clean.

  4. Dry the rocking chair throughly using your towel, making sure to get into all the corners, nooks and crannies.

  5. Tip

    You may also use newspaper or cardboard to protect your floor, keeping in mind paper might get soggy or stick to the floor if you drip or spill water. If the chair still isn't clean after one washing, refill the bucket with soap and warm water and start over again. Repeat as often as necessary.


    Don't use steel wool, brushes or other abrasives while cleaning wood because it will lead to scratches and mars. For heavy duty scrubbing, try a green scrubbing sponge which shouldn't damage the wood. Before scrubbing in a visible area, test in a hidden area, such as underneath the seat. Chemicals will damage or stain wood. Unless a cleaning product is clearly marked as a wood cleaner, avoiding using it on your rocking chair. Before using a harsh cleanser, test it on a hidden portion of the chair in case it stains or bleaches.