The Best Treatment for Rejuvenating Interior Wooden Doors

Updated November 21, 2016

Interior wood doors can be a hassle or expensive to replace, yet older doors that have received some wear and tear can really make a house look rundown. Before you think about replacing those doors or go through the work of refinishing them, there are a few techniques you can try to rejuvenate them first. The best treatments for rejuvenating interior wood doors vary according to the amount of deterioration to the current finish.


The first step to rejuvenating any door is to give it a thorough cleaning. The best method to clean a wood door is to apply a solution of oil soap and water with a soft rag. Wipe the door down with the wet cloth, going along with the grain of the wood. Buff the door with a soft dry cloth to dry the door. If the door is heavily soiled, you may need to repeat the process. Most cleaning services clean wood trim, window sashes and doors this way.

Dry, Dull Doors

After the door is thoroughly clean, apply paste wax to a door that is suffering from a dry, dull finish. Apply the wax to the door with a soft cloth and work it into the wood in small circles. After you have rubbed the wax into the wood, leave it to dry for about five minutes. When dry, buff the door with a clean dry cloth, moving with the grain of the wood. This will give the wood a glow and remove the excess wax.

Doors with a Damaged Finish

Tung oil restores a more damaged finish, like hairline surface cracking or a greyed-out appearance. Tung oil needs to be used in a well-ventilated area with dust sheets or newspaper under the door being finished. Consider removing the door from the hinges and moving it to an appropriate location like a workshop or garage before working on it. Apply the oil directly from a clean rag or sponge applicator, making sure to squeeze the excess out of the sponge first to prevent pooling and dripping. Tung oil will soak in quickly, but leave it on for a few minutes before wiping off the excess with a clean rag. You can try a second coat if you think the door needs it. Do not let puddles of oil dry completely on the surface of the door. Finish with a protective coat of paste wax to seal the door.

Rough Finish Doors

Very fine grit sandpaper, like a 600 grit paper, and lemon oil should be used on a door that has become so dry and damaged that it is rough. Place the oil on both the door and the paper before rubbing gently on the top layer of the finish with the sandpaper. Do not press hard into the door; the object is not to sand the door down but merely to smooth out the existing finish. Make sure to keep a good coating of oil on the work surface to prevent unnecessary scratching. Wipe the excess oil off with a clean rag when finished. A coat of paste wax will keep the moisture in the door.

After Treatment

Remember to periodically clean and apply furniture oil or linseed oil to the door to maintain its finish. This will keep your door from further damage and stave off the need for refinishing. Even inexpensive wood doors can look warm and glowing if they are well taken care of.

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