WATER! Seriously, this is all that is needed (or recommended) to clean wood. And I would go so far as to say any "natural" recipe with lemon juice, olive oil etc. is surely natural but is going to destroy your wood in short order.<br><br>
A slighly damp, lint-free rag (old diaper cloths work really well) is all that's needed to remove dust & grime. Once a year (sometimes less) you can use an old-fashioned paste-wax (comes in a big tin in any hardware store - Butcher's is the brand we use)... especially if the piece is in a high-traffic zone, prone to drying out (e.g., due to positioning to heat or light source), or thrust into daily use (such as a farm table).<br><br>
I should have prefaced all of this saying I am assuming you are talking about real wood furniture, with no aritifical finishes. duh... that would have been good to say up front!
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Periwinkle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10323115"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">And I would go so far as to say any "natural" recipe with lemon juice, olive oil etc. is surely natural but is going to destroy your wood in short order.</div>
I can understand the lemon juice, because it's acidic, but why the olive oil? Wood dries out over time, and I've always thought it benefited from an occasional oiling to restore the moisture and shine.
Ah... sure no problem. Olive oil and other vegetable oils turn rancid when exposed to the air. So they will darken wood over time. Over a very long time and/or with dealing with an antique... the wood grains get very dark because they've absorbed the most oil and have gotten the most rancid, but the surrounding wood is lighter. It really messes up the finish of real wood, and therefore, is not something you want to do to furniture you care about - again, whether it's an antique, or family piece, or even a neat flea market find.... I'm talking about real wood with natural finishes here. They all start to look like highly striated cheap oak after a while, lol.<br><br>
Mineral oil is not vegetable-based oil and you CAN use mineral oil if needed. But I swear if you clean with a damp rag every now and then, and make sure to keep it nicely waxed (e.g., Butcher's Paste Wax) it won't need mineral oil either. That's more for an initital restoration.<br><br>
I hope that helps!!
wow...thansk for the info. we are switching to natural cleaners and i just made the furniture polish recipe w/ olive oil and lemon juice. i didn't use it because it didnt' come out of my squiret bottle very well. in the past i have just used a damp or dry cloth, but dh loves his pledge...so i thought this might help him wean off it. good to know water really is best.<br><br>
help me out with the wax...does all real wood furniture need to be waxed? and how often?<br><br>
Re: Hardwood floors - these aren't generally expected to last many generations and also tend to be a workhorse - lots of stains and wear, etc. I use a solution of water with a little white vinegar because I do find I need more oomph for cleaning areas that are actually dirty (as opposed to just dusty, like furniture gets). I definitely wouldn't use lemon juice, but you could use a dash of oil like olive oil or mineral oil if you wanted, but you have to be careful as it can be very slippery (esp. vegetable oils). If your floors have a polyurethane finish (which most do) don't use anything with oil in it. If they don't, then *ideally* you would use water with a little baking soda or white vinegar for cleaning, and still use paste wax regularly, but realistically it's hard to apply it to a huge floor. If I had really nice old, waxed hardwood floors, I would use mineral oil as needed. If I had standard issue hardwood floors, I would use whatever. If I had historic, gorgeous, hardwood floors or something, I wouldn't do anything to them apart from damp mopping (with water only) and would let a professional deal with it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
As for kitchen cabinets.... most have a polyurethane finish, which means no oil. I use only a damp cloth to clean our cherry cabinets and have never needed more than that.<br><br>
Water as they say is "the universal solvent" and dissolves/removes almost any food stain, etc.<br><br>
The key is breaking one's association of a SMELL = clean. Just because it smells like lemon, doesn't mean it's clean or even a *natural* way to clean that object. Kind of like the orange oil craze. The smell makes you think you're doing good things to your house. But I'd never use these products on nice wood furniture, polyurethaned furniture/floors, or granite countertops! So perhaps just bring back cleaning with water (with a dash of soda or vinegar) and you can set out a tray of fresh squeezed lemon juice or light a candle as you go from room to room. lol <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">