How to Clean a Dining Table

A dining table spotted with food stains and dirt smudges creates a less appetizing atmosphere than a clean, gleaming table. If you want the talk of the town to be your food and not your table, you need to spend a little time washing the surface you want your guests to eat on. Cleaning glass and wooden tables requires the same basic techniques, and is fast enough that it can be done in the last few minutes before your friends arrive.

Clean dining tables inspire confidence in diners.
  1. Wipe the table with a clean, soft cloth to remove any surface dirt and dust.
  2. Combine 1/4-cup mild soap with 4 cups of warm water in a bucket. Mix the soapy water thoroughly. Dip a soft cloth in the solution, then wring it out to remove most of the water.
  3. Apply a small amount of the soapy water to an out-of-the-way spot on wood tables to ensure that it won't damage the finish. Stop cleaning the table and find a commercial cleaning alternative if the soapy water damages the finish.
  4. Clean the top of the table first, wiping in the same direction as the grain if cleaning a wood table, or in gentle circles if cleaning a glass table. Wipe the sides and bottom of the table next, followed by the table legs.
  5. Dampen a second soft cloth in clean, warm water. Wipe the dining table down to remove any excess suds and dirt. Follow the same top-to-bottom cleaning pattern used in the initial cleaning.
  6. Dry the table using a third soft, clean cloth. Again, start on the top surface of the table and work your way down to the legs last. Move in the direction of the grain on wooden tables.
  7. Spot-clean any leftover blemishes as necessary.

Things You Will Need

  • Soft, clean cloths
  • Bucket
  • 1/4-cup mild soap


  • Mineral spirits can be used in place of soapy water on clear-finished or unfinished wood dining tables.
  • Add a few drops of white vinegar to the soapy water to achieve a superb finish on glass tables, according to the Mrs. Clean website.
  • Wax and buff wooden tables after cleaning, if desired.

About the Author

Brad Chacos started writing professionally in 2005, specializing in electronics and technology. His work has appeared in Salon.com, Gizmodo, "PC Gamer," "Maximum PC," CIO.com, DigitalTrends.com, "Wired," FoxNews.com, NBCNews.com and more. Chacos is a frequent contributor to "PCWorld," "Laptop Magazine" and the Intuit Small Business Blog.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images