Back Button

How to Clean Veneer Furniture

Kathy Adams

Veneer furniture requires the same type of care used for your wood furniture, but with a gentler touch. Since the veneer layer is paper-thin in many cases, cleaning should be done with the direction of the wood grain to avoid snags that may damage or even tear the veneer over time.

  1. Wipe the furniture down with a damp lint-free cloth, following the direction of the wood grain for regular cleaning. Wipe the veneer dry with a lint-free cloth, again following the direction of the grain. This helps prevent snags that may cause additional damage to the veneer.

  2. Add a few drops of oil soap to a small bowl of warm water. Swish the liquid around with a lint-free cloth to blend the soap in.

  3. Wring out the cloth and use it to wipe down spills or caked-on debris, following the veneer grain. Follow up with a damp lint-free cloth and then a dry cloth, always wiping in the direction of the grain. Use the oil soap mixture when going after fingerprints, dirt and grime buildup.


Use white lint-free cloths when wiping down veneer furniture -- dyed fabrics may stain the veneer. Apply a quality furniture polish once or twice a year to keep the veneer looking its best. To keep veneered furnishings looking their best, keep them out of direct sunlight. Wipe up liquid spills immediately to prevent wood veneer damage.


Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners, cleansers or abrasives on wood veneer, as any of these may damage the furniture.

Avoid using wax, oil or silicone-based polishes, as these may leave behind a cloudy film when polishing veneer furniture.

Do not use polishes that come from a spray can or are aerosol based, as these can damage the veneer.

Not all wood cleaners are good for wood veneer -- read the container's warning label or the company's website to ensure the product is safe for veneer before using. Some cleaners contain solvents that may damage the veneer, its finish or the glue holding the veneer in place. Test an over-the-counter cleaner on an inconspicuous or hidden part of the veneer furniture if you are unsure of its effect on veneered woods.