Dust frequently with a microfiber dusting cloth. Rub lightly to avoid pushing dust into to the grain, and wipe with the grain of the wood to avoid leaving cross-grain streaks.
Wash with a mild soap solution to remove everyday grime that you can't simply dust off. Mix an ounce of dish soap with a gallon of warm water, dampen a soft, clean cloth and wipe with the grain. Avoid dishwasher or laundry detergent -- both can dull lacquer and varnish finishes.
Clean stubborn scuff marks and stains with a hot wash. Mix 2 tablespoons of turpentine and 4 tablespoons of boiled linseed oil in a gallon of water hot enough to require the use of rubber gloves. The turpentine removes oil-soluble dirt while the linseed oil replenishes and restores the finish. Use this solution sparingly on damaged furniture, because it may weaken glue joints.
Polish a dull oak finish with lemon oil. Apply a small amount of the oil to a soft rag and wipe with the wood grain. Don't pour the oil directly on the furniture, or you'll get uneven distribution.
Remove old, dull wax with mineral spirits. Moisten a rag and rub a section of the wood until all the wax is removed and the rag no longer discolors. Wash with gentle detergent solution, then apply new wax with a soft rag and buff it with a buffing cloth.
Things You Will Need
- Microfiber dusting cloth
- Dish soap
- Soft cloth
- Boiled linseed oil
- Lemon oil
- Mineral spirits
- Paste wax
- Remove white moisture marks on a finished oak surface by covering them with mayonnaise and leaving it overnight. When you wipe off the mayonnaise in the morning, the marks should be gone.
- Repair small nicks in the finish with a raw walnut or Brazil nut meat. Rub the nut meat over a nick, and the natural oil in the nut will make it disappear.