How to Permanently Clean Wooden Furniture: Effective Natural Remedies

Have you stained your wooden table and don’t know how to fix it? You’re not alone.

As designers and manufacturers of furniture, we have seen and heard it all when it comes to keeping wooden tables in perfect condition. Tables are the heart of our homes, where many daily activities take place, and for this reason, they are most prone to stains and damage.

In this article, we will guide you step-by-step on how to clean wooden furniture and remove stains, focusing on simple but effective remedies.

We will address the main issues, such as stains caused by liquids, food, heat, ink, and other external agents, providing you with detailed solutions for each type of stain.

Discover how to protect and enhance your designer furniture, keeping it always shining and ready to face daily life.

Types of Wooden Tables

Wooden tables can be made from different materials, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits. Knowing these types will help you choose the table best suited to your needs and maintain it properly.

When choosing a wooden table, it is essential to consider not only aesthetics but also functionality and maintenance. With this information, you will be able to make an informed choice that will enhance your home and last over time.

minimal coffee table
Pulire i mobili in legno in base alla finitura
Clean Wooden Furniture
Clean Wooden Furniture: Effective Natural Remedies

Clean Wooden Furniture Based on the Finish

Solid Wood Tables

This is the king of materials for furniture. Solid wood is durable, long-lasting, and offers a natural, rich look that other materials cannot match. Each solid wood table is unique, thanks to its natural grain and knots. Additionally, solid wood can be sanded and polished over the years, allowing you to remove any scratches and restore the table to its original beauty.

For other types of wood, you always need to consider whether it is worth restoring or not.

Plywood Tables with Noble Wood Veneers

If you want a high-quality table without the cost of solid wood, this is an excellent option. Plywood is made up of layers of cheaper wood, covered with a thin veneer of precious woods like walnut or mahogany. This type of table offers great stability and strength while still maintaining a luxurious appearance.

Particleboard Tables with Veneer

This option is often chosen for more economical furniture. Particleboard is made from small pieces of wood pressed together and then covered with veneer. While not as durable as solid wood or plywood, it still offers good value for money and can look nice, especially with a high-quality finish.

Engineered Wood

These are engineered materials created to emulate the look of solid wood without the same costs. They consist of several layers of wood and other substances, making them very strong and stable. They are ideal for those seeking a sustainable and durable option.

Treatments and Finishes of Wooden Tables

One of the main challenges in removing a stain is knowing the type of treatment and finish applied to your wooden table.

Recognizing by eye whether the finish is acrylic, natural, or synthetic can be difficult, sometimes impossible.

Moreover, before the final finish, sealers and stains may have been applied, along with various chemical products, further complicating the choice of method to use for stain removal.

colour palette

Gradual Approach to Cleaning

There is no single solution to clean wooden furniture and removing stains, as each chemical or natural product reacts differently depending on the wood and finish. This is why it is essential to proceed gradually:

Test the product: Always try a stain removal product on a hidden part of the table, such as underneath, even if it is not stained.

Scrub correctly: Always follow the grain of the wood or blot the stain, avoiding circular movements. This helps prevent abrasions that could change the texture of the varnish.

Types of Finishes for Wooden Tables

There are different types of finishes for wooden tables, each with its own characteristics and benefits:

  • Acrylic Finishes: They are water-resistant and scratch-resistant, ideal for tables that see a lot of daily use. They are easy to clean and keep the wood color vibrant and bright.
  • Natural Finishes: Natural oils and waxes penetrate the wood, nourishing it and keeping it flexible. This type of finish enhances the natural beauty of the grain but requires more frequent maintenance.
  • Synthetic Finishes: These include varnishes and lacquers that create a protective layer on the wood. They are very durable and offer excellent protection against stains and moisture, but they can slightly alter the natural color of the wood.

Choosing the Right Finish

How to choose the right finish for your table?

Consider the daily use of the table and the environment it is in. If your table is often subject to food and drink stains, an acrylic or synthetic finish might be the best choice.

If you prefer a more natural look and are willing to do regular maintenance, natural finishes might be perfect for you.

What Stains Wooden Tables?

Identifying the causes of stains is the first step to preventing and clean wooden furniture effectively. Understanding the causes of stains will help you better protect your table and keep it always shining.

Stains from Liquids and Food

Most stains on wooden tables are caused by liquids and food. Beverages like coffee, wine, and fruit juice, if not cleaned immediately, can penetrate the finish and leave persistent stains. Clean wooden furniture from oily foods or foods with intense pigments, like tomato sauce, can be very difficult.

Heat Stains

Placing hot pots, tea cups, or coffee directly on the table can cause heat stains, recognizable by the whitish patches they leave on the wood’s surface. These stains result from heat condensation penetrating the finish. In this case, to clean wooden furniture, you will need to use a completely different method.

Ink and Marker Stains

Clean wooden furniture from ink and marker stains is particularly problematic, especially if you have children who use the table for drawing. If not removed quickly, these stains can penetrate deeply into the finish, making their removal much more complicated.

External Agents

Even external factors such as humidity, sunlight, and insects can contribute to the formation of stains on wooden tables. Humidity can cause mold and water stains, while prolonged exposure to sunlight can discolor the wood and cause solar stains. Insects, finally, can leave small marks or stains on the wood. Even in this case, you will need to experiment to find the most suitable method to clean wooden furniture.

Preventing Stains

Preventing stains is possible by following some simple precautions:

  • Use coasters and placemats: Protect the table from hot beverages and food.
  • Clean spilled liquids immediately: Prevent them from penetrating the finish.
  • Maintain a constant humidity level: Use a dehumidifier if necessary.
  • Protect the table from the sun: Use curtains or protective window films.

Cleaning a Solid Wood Table: Remedies for Specific Stains

Have you ever thought that cleaning wooden furniture requires different treatments depending on the type of stain? Knowing the remedies for specific stains is essential to keep your table beautiful and in excellent condition.

Generic Stains

Generic stains are among the most common and can come from numerous factors such as food, beverages, or simply accumulated dust and dirt. Here’s how to prepare an effective cleaning solution to remove these stains without damaging your wooden table.

Materials needed:

  • Neutral soap (like dish detergent). If dish detergent doesn’t work, you can try Marseille soap or CHANTECLAIR, but it is always advisable to test it first on a hidden part of the table to avoid abrasions.
  • A bowl
  • Warm water
  • Soft, clean cloth


  1. Preparing the water and soap: Fill a bowl with warm water. Ensure the water is not too hot or too cold, as hot water can damage the varnish or finish of the table.
  2. Adding the soap: Add a small amount of neutral soap to the bowl of water. A teaspoon should be enough. Neutral soap is gentle and helps remove stains without damaging the varnish.
  3. Mixing the solution: Gently mix the water and soap to create a uniform solution. There’s no need to create a lot of foam, but ensure the soap is well distributed in the water.
  4. Preparing the cloth: Use a cotton cloth, a napkin, or even a soft, non-abrasive sponge. Make sure it is clean.
  5. Cleaning the stain: Gently blot the stain with the damp cloth, working from the outer edge of the stain towards the center. Continue blotting with gentle movements until the stain dissolves. It might take some patience and may require repeating the process a few times.
  6. Rinsing: Finally, rinse the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue.

To clean wooden furniture more deeply, you can use a solution made of water, lemon, liquid Marseille soap, and half a teaspoon of olive oil. This treatment is effective but not aggressive and does not compromise the beauty of your table. Use a soft microfiber cloth with this solution and dry with a cotton cloth.

Always remember to respect the wood grain during cleaning to avoid abrasions.

Heat Stains

Have you ever accidentally placed a hot pot or a cup of coffee on your wooden table, leaving those annoying whitish patches? These heat stains are caused by heat condensation penetrating the wood’s finish.

Fortunately, there are several effective methods to eliminate them and restore your table to its original splendor.

  • Iron: This method is very effective. Turn the iron on low power, without steam. Place a clean, dry cotton cloth over the stain and run the iron over the cloth for a few minutes. If nothing happens, slightly increase the iron’s power, but do not overdo it. It may take several minutes, so be patient and persistent. The stain should gradually disappear.
  • Hairdryer: Another technique is to use a hairdryer. Set the hairdryer to medium power and heat the stain with light movements, keeping a distance of about ten centimeters. After about twenty minutes, blot the area with a cotton cloth soaked in linseed oil or mineral oil. This will help nourish the wood and remove the stain.
  • Toothpaste: Toothpaste can be a surprisingly effective remedy. Gently rub the stain with some toothpaste applied on a cotton cloth. Let the toothpaste dry for a few minutes before removing it with a damp cloth. This method can help remove heat stains without damaging the wood’s finish.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda has natural whitening properties. Prepare a paste by mixing baking soda and water, then spread the paste on the stain. Let it sit for about ten minutes before rinsing with a damp cloth. This method can be particularly useful for more stubborn stains.

Remember, whichever method you choose, it is important to always test the product first on a hidden part of the table to avoid any damage.

Cleaning Wooden Furniture from Pen and Marker Stains

Cleaning wooden furniture from pen and marker stains can be a real nightmare, especially if they have had time to penetrate the wood’s finish. The key to removing them is to act quickly.

If you can intervene immediately, you will have a better chance of completely eliminating the stain. Here’s how to proceed effectively.

Step 1: Generic Stain Method

Start by using the generic stain method described earlier. Prepare a solution of warm water and a teaspoon of neutral soap (like dish detergent). Use a soft cloth to gently blot the stain, working from the outer edge towards the center. This method is gentle and often sufficient for superficial stains.

Step 2: Using Ethyl Alcohol

If the generic stain method does not work, you can try using ethyl alcohol, but be very careful. Alcohol is very effective in removing pen and marker stains, but it can also dissolve the varnish on raw wood and cause further damage. For this reason, it is crucial to test the alcohol first on a hidden part of the table to see how the finish reacts.

With these methods, you will be able to clean wooden furniture and remove even the most stubborn pen and marker stains. Remember to act quickly and use alcohol with caution to protect your valuable wooden table.

Cleaning Wooden Furniture from Coffee Stains

Have you accidentally spilled coffee on your wooden table and now have a stubborn stain? Don’t worry, with the right steps you can remove it and clean the wooden furniture effectively. Coffee stains can be difficult to eliminate, but with a little patience and the right methods, your table will look as good as new.

Step 1: Try with a Detergent

Start by trying to remove the stain with a gentle detergent. Prepare a solution with warm water and neutral soap (like dish detergent). Use a soft cloth to blot the stain, working from the outer edge towards the center. This method may be sufficient for recent and less penetrated stains.

Step 2: Mixture of Water and Baking Soda

If the stain persists, switch to a stronger but still gentle method for the wood:

  • Prepare the mixture: Mix water and baking soda to create a thick cream. The consistency should be similar to a thick paste.
  • Apply the cream: Spread the mixture on the coffee stain. Make sure to cover the entire stained area with an even layer of baking soda paste.
  • Let it sit: Leave the baking soda paste on the stain for 5-6 hours. This time allows the baking soda to work on the stain, absorbing the coffee and lightening the area.
  • Remove the mixture: After the time has passed, use a cloth dampened with clean water to remove the baking soda paste. Ensure you rinse the area well to eliminate all baking soda residues.

Even in this case, always make sure to perform a preliminary test before applying the mixture to the entire stain, testing it on a hidden area of the table to ensure it does not damage the finish. After removing the baking soda paste, dry the area well with a dry cloth to prevent water from causing further stains.

With these steps, you can effectively remove coffee stains from your wooden table, maintaining its beauty and integrity.

Removing Stains from Wood with Oil and Salt

Have you ever thought of using common ingredients like oil and salt to remove stains from wood? This traditional method has been used since ancient times for its effectiveness and simplicity. Oil and salt work together to absorb and lift stains from the wood, keeping the surface clean and intact.


  1. Prepare the mixture: In a small bowl, mix a sufficient amount of olive oil with salt. The consistency should be like a thick paste. The salt acts as a light abrasive, while the olive oil penetrates the wood, nourishing it.
  2. Apply to the stain: Pour the mixture directly onto the stain. Make sure to cover the entire stained area with an even layer of the mixture.
  3. Let it sit: Leave the mixture on the stain for at least an hour. The salt will absorb the stain while the oil helps lift it from the wood’s surface.
  4. Remove the mixture: Use a soft cloth to remove the oil and salt mixture. Gently rub following the wood grain to avoid abrasions. If necessary, repeat the process until the stain is completely gone.
  5. Final cleaning: After removing the mixture, clean the area with a slightly damp cloth to eliminate any salt residues. Finally, dry thoroughly with a dry cloth to prevent water stains.

With this simple but effective remedy, you can keep your wooden table always shining and stain-free. The use of oil and salt not only removes stains but also helps nourish and preserve the natural beauty of the wood.

How to Clean Wooden Kitchen Furniture

Cleaning wooden kitchen furniture requires a specific approach depending on the type of wood and finish. There is no single solution, as the furniture can range from glossy to matte surfaces, rich in grain or uniform, and can be either antique or modern. However, one of the most effective and versatile remedies is the use of vinegar.

Water and Vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent ally in cleaning wooden furniture. A solution of water and vinegar is ideal for smooth surfaces that need to be polished, cleaned, and sterilized. To prepare this solution, mix equal parts of warm water and white vinegar in a bowl.

Immerse a chamois cloth in the solution, wring it out well, and gently wipe the wooden furniture. This solution effectively removes dirt and grease, leaving the furniture clean and shiny.

It is important to thoroughly dry the surface with a dry cloth after cleaning to prevent moisture from damaging the wood.

Cleaning Wooden Furniture with Water, Vinegar, and Baking Soda

To clean wooden furniture that shows surface scratches or damaged parts, you can add baking soda to the water and vinegar solution. Baking soda acts as a light abrasive, smoothing the more damaged parts and eliminating shallow scratches.

Mix equal parts of warm water and white vinegar, then add a teaspoon of baking soda. Immerse a chamois cloth in the solution, wring it out well, and apply it to the wooden furniture with gentle circular movements. Baking soda helps remove surface imperfections without damaging the wood.

After cleaning the furniture, rinse the surface with a damp cloth to remove any baking soda and vinegar residues. Dry well with a dry cloth.

What Not to Use

When it comes to cleaning wooden furniture, it is crucial to know what to avoid to prevent damaging the finish. Do not interfere with the finish is the golden rule.

Every finish, whether acrylic, polyurethane, or water-based, can be easily damaged by certain chemical products. Here is a list of what to never use:

  • Alcohol: Although it may seem like a quick solution to remove stains, alcohol can dissolve wood finishes, leaving the surface dull and ruined. Avoid using alcohol on any finished wood.
  • Acetone: Known for its ability to remove paint and nail polish, acetone is too aggressive for wood. It can cause severe damage to the finish, removing protective layers and leaving the wood exposed.
  • Caustic Soda: This powerful chemical agent can cause severe damage to wood finishes, making them dull and uneven. Caustic soda is too corrosive to be used on wooden furniture.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Although effective in whitening stains, hydrogen peroxide can ruin the wood finish, causing discoloration and permanent damage.
  • Aggressive Chemical Products: Many chemical products available on the market may seem like quick cleaning solutions, but their aggressiveness can irreparably damage the wood finish. It is always better to opt for more gentle and natural solutions.

By following these tips, you can protect your wooden furniture and ensure it remains in excellent condition for many years. Remember, less is more when it comes to chemical products: rely on natural remedies for safe and effective cleaning.

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