How to clean grime off wood chairs

Updated February 21, 2017

Cleaning grime from wood chairs, both antique and modern, can seem like a daunting task since the potential for damaging your furniture is high. Although there are cleaning solutions specially formulated for wood furniture, some contain chemicals that can be harmful to some finishes, particularly those of antique pieces. You can make a budget-friendly, all-natural, universal solution from lemons and olive or sunflower oil. The acidity of lemon juice is potent enough to break up grime while leaving your furniture unharmed.

Bring your wood chair outside or to a well-lit workspace. Lay down a dust sheet or old newspapers to catch any solution and grime. Working in a well-lit area will allow you to see all of the little nooks and crannies, which is especially important when working on chairs with lots of intricate designs.

Use dry paper towels to wipe up any excess dirt and grime build-up. Don't concern yourself with getting into all of the grooves and corners, just wipe off the bulk of it. If you have a vacuum with a brush attachment, use it to gently brush and vacuum up more of the loose grime.

Make a solution using 1-part fresh lemon juice and 2 parts sunflower or olive oil. Combine both ingredients in a small bowl and whisk briskly for two minutes.

Dip a cotton rag into the solution and wipe the chair along the grain of the wood. Take care not to scrub the wood or saturate it with the solution, as this may damage the finish. Continue gently wiping until the grime is removed from the large surfaces on the chair. Dip an old, soft-bristled toothbrush to get into the smaller, more intricate areas of the chair --- like corners, joints and designs. Do your best to brush along the grain of the wood.

Wipe down the chair with a clean cloth and allow it to dry for about 20 to 30 minutes. When the chair is completely dry, use another clean cloth to buff it back to a nice shine.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheet
  • Newspaper
  • Paper towels
  • Vacuum with brush attachment (optional)
  • Fresh lemons
  • Olive or sunflower oil
  • Whisk
  • Cotton rags
  • Toothbrush
  • Cotton swabs
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About the Author

Jarrett Melendez is a journalist, playwright and novelist who has been writing for more than seven years. His first published work was a play titled, "Oh, Grow Up!" which he wrote and performed with a group of his classmates in 2002.