Ways to clean mahogany wood furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

Mahogany is known for its reddish brown colour that darkens with age, and for its ability to last. With proper care and gentle cleaning treatments, you can increase the life of your mahogany furniture. Avoid silicone and water-based cleaners--they can ruin the finish by diminishing the quality of the shine.


New water stains can be removed by using your thumb to quickly rub the spot. If the stain remains, dip a cloth into hot water, wring out the cloth and apply 1 tsp of ammonia. Gently rub the stain with the cloth, then rub a new clean cloth with one drop of lemon oil onto the stain. Continue to rub the area until the stain dissolves.

Other stains such as alcohol require immediate attention--alcohol eats away at the varnish. Rub the spot with your fingertip, then rub with a clean cloth with one drop of lemon oil poured on it. If paper is stuck on the wood, pour one or two drops of flaxseed oil on the paper and allow it to sit for five minutes. Then rub your fingers or a soft cloth over the paper.


Weekly maintenance of your furniture is as easy as wiping it. Use a clean, dry cheesecloth and thoroughly wipe the furniture in the direction of the wood grain to remove dust. Routine wipe-downs require a soft cloth to avoid scratching the wood, and use of furniture polish should be avoided.

According to Albert Jackson, author of "Care and Repair of Furniture," washing your wood requires a mixture of 1 qt. of boiled water, 1 tbsp of turpentine and 3 to 4 tbsps. of lemon oil. Mix the ingredients in a bucket and dip the cloth into the mixture. Wring out the cloth and wipe the furniture until it is clean. After washing, use a dry cloth to remove excess moisture.


Giving your furniture that final touch requires 1/2 cup of linseed oil, 1/2 cup of turpentine and 1/2 cup of vinegar mixed together. This mixture restores the shine without damaging the finish. According to furniture maker Vespucci, flannel cloth is recommended for polishing your wood with the mixture.

Dip the flannel cloth into the mixture, wring it out and rub the furniture. When you have polished the entire piece, use a chamois cloth to buff the wood. Chamois cloth is typically used to clean cars and car windows. Your mahogany furniture should be polished once a month for continuous shine.

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