Cleaning Wood Furniture Naturally

I have some beautiful pieces of real wood furniture  in my home that I like to keep clean and healthy. And years ago, I would’ve gone and purchased a can of lemon scented furniture polish like most people do.

That was, until I learned about the toxic nature of the chemicals in that store bought furniture polish! So that can of polish went into the garbage and left me looking for natural solutions to keep my furniture looking great…and keeping the air in my home much healthier for my family too!

In case you are not quite convinced about giving up that can of lemon scented furniture polish (you know the one I’m talking about!), let’s take a look at what chemicals are inside the can and how they can affect your health.

  1. Naphtha, petroleum, light alkylate (a petroleum distillate)- these nasty chemicals can affect you when inhaled and be absorbed through the skin. Can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs. It can affect the nervous system causing symptoms such as dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, headache and can be dangerous for the kidneys and liver. It can also affect the respiratory system and is particularly dangerous for those who have respiratory problems. It is highly flammable.
  2. Polydimethylsiloxanes (Silicone oil)-we hear a lot about silicone and it is found in lots of not only household cleaners, but personal care products. And although it has been touted as safe for use, it is a gray area. The biggest concern is that silicone allows other ingredients to penetrate the skin more easily which would give you more exposure to chemicals such as the petroleum distillates that do pose health risks.
  3. Butane-you have probably heard of this before because it is used in cigarette lighters and as fuel for camp stoves. But this highly flammable gas has potential symptoms such as drowsiness, narcosis (extreme sleepiness or loss of consciousness), asphyxia and cardiac arrhythmia.
  4. Isobutane-also a highly flammable gas similar to butane, this gas can cause similar symptoms.
  5. Propane-you have also most likely heard of this….especially if you ever grill out. This is the gas used in tanks for gas grills. Luckily, you would have to be exposed to much, much more of this gas in order for it to affect your health. You simply can’t be exposed to enough of this for it to cause health problems.

So, if you are concerned about any of these ingredients (and I don’t personally want to use a product containing so many highly flammable gases), you will be happy to know that there are great natural ways to clean your wood furniture that are much healthier!

Natural Wood Furniture Cleaner

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Recipe Image

Prep Time: minutes Total Time: minutes

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 part lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 3 parts olive oil (or almond oil)

Recipe Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients in a bowl or dish.
  2. Dip a soft cloth into the mix (dampen, not soak)
  3. Rub gently onto wood
  4. Allow to air dry if necessary.

7 Comments

    1. Yes, that naptha is a petroleum ingredient and it is used in the current Fels Naptha product. Unfortunately, the Fels Naptha laundry bar of today is very different from the tallow and lye laundry bars from our grandparent’s era. I don’t recommend Fels Naptha at all because it contains petroleum ingredients, synthetic “fragrance” and solvents, all of which can make you sick! So yes, it is more dangerous than other healthier alternatives!

  1. Help! I bought a second hand dinett set, gave away my old one to a family that didn’t barebones all. When I got it home and was cleaning it, I found liquid stains in the cabinet part of the hutch. My husband thinks they are dog urine stains. How do I get rid and neutralize odor and stains. Help! Will vinegar and lemon juice work? Help!

    1. Hi Beth! There is nothing worse than having to battle dog urine stains (I have dogs, so I’m speaking from experience). For the wood, you would be better off cleaning it with a rag dampened with some hydrogen peroxide. You can allow the rag to sit on top of the stain for awhile after thoroughly scrubbing the area with the rag first. That should work better than vinegar and lemon juice!

  2. 1. You say silicon oil and then talk of silicone. Two VERY different things.

    2. you forgot to mention carnauba wax,(all natural product, comes from palm leaves), which is the primary wax used to coat and protect a wood finish. The naptha is in there to act as a solvent (and not all things that are “solvent” are instantly bad. Water, for example is a “solvent” for salt, sugar, and a host of other things…)

    3. Olive oil, or any pressed vegetable based oil, can go rancid, (meaning it spoils, creates a nasty, smelly residue) when just left on wood. (http://www.woodcentral.com/woodworking/forum/archives_turning.pl/bid/2107/md/read/id/152749/sbj/olive-oil-rancid/ ) The vinegar or lemon juice do nothing, except that they’re acids, and can eat away at finishes.

    4. I highly doubt you work with wood or know much about the upkeep of the stuff. If you want a simple “all natural” finish, just use 1 part beeswax to 3-4 parts tung or mineral, or boiled linseed oil.
    (food safe finishes: http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-to/article/food-safe-finishes.aspx )

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