Cleaning wood furniture properly is one of the most myth-filled, misunderstood cleaning topics around.
History, or technically cleaning science history.
The chemistry used to finish wood and formulate soaps has changed so drastically over the years that wood care instructions from previous generations are now totally obsolete.
To put in perspective how outdated wood care products and advice have gotten, Murphy’s Oil Soap and the Ford Model T were invented around the same time (1910 and 1908.)
Unfortunately, since no one teaches cleaning science in school, very few people realize how drastically things have changed and how those changes make all the old-fashioned wood cleaning products and practices passé.
In the absence of education, legend and lore prevail, leaving even experienced professionals scratching their heads as to which conflicting advice online to trust.
Everyone’s heard the old advice:
“You have to nourish your wood with oil, soap, and polish, or it will dry out”
“Only oil soap is safe for wood”
“You can’t clean wood furniture with water”
“You can only use specialty cleaning products designed specifically for wood”
“Vinegar is the gentlest green way to clean wood furniture”
Yet we all see new cleaning products on the grocery store shelf that contradict these old edicts and promise just the opposite.
There are a sea of new floor cleaners and all-purpose cleaners that promise to be safe on finished wood, along with a long list of everything from glass to stainless steel.
So, who is right? The new manufacturers or the old wives' tales? How can you tell who’s lying and who to trust?
Lucky for you, you’ve found Melissa Homer, a cleaning expert with over 20 years of professional cleaning experience and a passion for researching science, cleaning, and history.
She's perfectly poised to debunk these myths and help you finally understand the proper way to care for modern wood furniture.
We’re going to reveal the big changes in wood finish and cleaning products and explain how they’ve made taking care of wood furniture easier than ever before, all while dispelling the myths everyone is still clinging to along the way.
So, put down great grandma’s Murphy’s Oil Soap and learn how to care of your wood like a 21st-century expert.
If you don’t care which myths are true and where they came from, jump to the cleaning instructions here.