Homemade Furniture Polish

Clean

Use this easy homemade furniture polish to clean and shine wood furniture.

Homemade furniture polish does wonders for your wood furniture by cleaning, moisturizing, and protecting it at the same time. It also costs just pennies to make and doesn’t fill your home’s indoor air with aerosol fumes or chemicals you don’t recognize.

Homemade Furniture Polish

Antique bombe dresser shows how shiny furniture can get using Homemade Furniture Polish

Commercial Polishes Cause Haze

You’ve probably heard that commercial polishes can, over time, lead to buildup. That’s because they contain silicone to offset the effects of other ingredients.

Since silicone bonds with itself, every new application is putting down yet another layer of it. Dust and humidity get trapped between those layers, so eventually, your furniture looks dull and grimy.

Crazy, isn’t it? You use a product designed to give your furniture a beautiful shine then because you’re using that product, you wind up with furniture that’s not shiny at all. To make matters worse, dust clings to silicone, so you’re making more work for yourself.

Moisturize Wood to Protect It

Like your skin, dry wood cracks and looks dull when it’s not properly moisturized. Silicone-based commercial polishes don’t moisturize — they just create a smooth surface layer.

Oil moisturizes wood furniture while also creating a smooth barrier. So, ditch the commercial furniture sprays if you want gleaming wood that stays in top condition.

Make This for Just Pennies

When I noticed that my coffee table and other wood furnishings were looking awful, I set out to find a furniture polish that would clean, shine, and protect my furniture without grabbing onto every bit of dust in the room.

Let me tell you, with two furry cats and a dog, things were looking awful until I switched to making my furniture polish. It’s so much cheaper than the commercial stuff, too. (Related: How to Remove Water Spots from Wood Furniture.)

Furniture Polishing Tips

  • Use a soft, lint-free cloth to apply. Baby flannel wipes are fantastic. (I use these.)
  • You can use the same cloth several times before laundering. Just stash it with your homemade furniture polish spray for quick touchups.
  • If your furniture has a severe build-up problem, you need to remove it before switching to homemade furniture polish. (Related: How to Get Rid of Sticky Wax Buildup on Furniture.)
  • The vinegar in this homemade furniture polish recipe helps remove grimy fingerprints and dirt. Although you can substitute apple cider vinegar, if ants are a problem in your area you should stick with white vinegar since ACV contains pest-attracting pectin.

Other Uses for Homemade Furniture Polish

Since this is an all-natural, food-safe recipe, you can use it on a variety of things around the home. Try using it to give a gorgeous shine to any of these:

  • Wood spoons and cooking utensils
  • Wooden cutting boards
  • Unpainted wicker baskets
  • Wood picture frames
  • Unpainted wooden knickknacks and decor
  • Leather sofas and chairs
  • And in a pinch, a quick spray will add a nice shine to leather shoes and handbags when you’re in a rush.

Homemade Furniture Polish Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup olive or jojoba oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 to 4 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a spray bottle and shake well.
  2. Spray onto a lint-free cloth and apply to furniture, following the wood’s grain, for light polishing. For a more substantial gloss, spray directly onto furniture and buff to a shine.
  3. Use a small paintbrush or old toothbrush to apply to intricately carved areas.
  4. Store homemade furniture polish in a dark, cool cupboard to keep the oil from turning rancid. Replace it monthly, and always shake before use.

Save money and get your home brilliantly clean with these other easy DIY cleaning recipes.

32 Comments

  1. I’ve been obsessively reading through your posts the last few days and have loved many of the tips. I was wondering if you just washed & dried the cloths you used with the furniture polish? I have read that it is not safe to dry cloths that have been used to clean with oil. However, I will admit that I’ve done that countless times without any trouble! Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, I just run them through my washing machine in a load on their own.

  2. Why doesn’t the olive oil go rancid on the furniture?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      The type of fats in an oil largely determine whether it’s going to go rancid or not. Olive oil is primarily unsaturated fat, and thus less likely to go rancid. The acidity of the vinegar and lemon oil, both of which are also anti-bacterial, also helps prevent it from going rancid once applied to furniture.

      That said, you don’t want to leave a bottle of this sitting out in bright light, and you want to use it within a couple of weeks.

  3. Brienne Coombs says:

    I love this cleaner! It worked really well on poorly taken care of dining set I found at a garage sale. However, I couldn’t get the squirt bottle to work; It clogged up after only one spritz. (I ended up just pouring some on the rag and wiping the furniture down.) Is there a special kind of olive oil I should be using? I used the EVOO I use in the kitchen.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you like this cleaner! There’s no special EVOO to use, but different spray bottles act differently. Using it on the rag and wiping down like you did is a perfectly acceptable alternative — I do it that way sometimes, too.

  4. Dean Tate says:

    Hi im looking to swap out the citrus type essential oils as these are toxic towards my pets.

    Can i swap this for Clary Sage essential oil as this is perfectly acceptable for my cats and dog.

    Many Thanks

    D

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You can, or you can leave the essential oil out altogether.

  5. Thanks for posting the furniture polish recipe. I just started using it today. It is so nice to apply a product to the furniture that has a gentle, natural scent, as opposed to the harsher chemical cleaners. Can only be better for me and the environment! Cheers Tina

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Tina. It’s nice that it only costs pennies to use, too!

  6. I have two types of olive oil- for hair and for cooking; which one should I use? we dont have lemon essential oil. What can I use instead of lemon essential oil?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Ippo,
      I’d suggest using the olive oil that you’d ordinarily use for cooking. If you can’t find lemon essential oil, you can simply skip it.

  7. Can fractionated coconut oil be used instead?

    Thank you

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Ann,
      I can’t honestly answer this, because I haven’t tried it. First thoughts: would it clog a spray bottle? Also, would it attract pests? My gut reaction is that coconut oils, even fractionated, has a higher fat content than olive oil, and so it might draw unwanted pets (ants, roaches, mice).

      Olive oil isn’t expensive. I’ve used that in this recipe for years without a pest problem. So, if you want to try fractionated coconut oil, by all means, do so, but please understand you may have consequences that I can’t anticipate since I haven’t tried it.

      Best,
      Katie

    2. Andrea Gerber says:

      I’m not sure if the coconut oil would work for your furniture, but I am sure that coconut and olive have about the same amount of fat in them. The differences lie mainly in whether they are saturated or unsaturated and how they are processed. I think the fractionated is simply meant to stay liquid and maybe then would work fine in your furniture polish. I’d be interested in hearing how it works for you.

  8. Jeanette Sprague says:

    Hi I am wanting to make a natural furniture polish. But I want one with the dark color to cover some dark wood scratches etc.
    Any suggestions?
    Also can any essential oil work? I love Patchuli oil.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Jeanette,
      I haven’t made a furniture polish designed to hide scratches and would find it difficult to do so since everyone’s furniture differs in color. You can find some tips here in my article about dealing with scratches in wood, though, and maybe that will give you some things to try on your own. As far as essential oils go, I haven’t tried patchouli but can’t think of any reason it wouldn’t work.

  9. Katie Berry says:

    Hi Jenny,
    By “a cup” I mean 8 fluid ounces. 🙂

  10. Betty Luk says:

    Hi, was wondering if this mixture can be use on hardwood floor

    Thanks

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Betty,
      This mixture is intended for use on furniture and would be too slick if used on floors. I do have a homemade floor cleaner recipe that works on any type of floor, if you’d like to give it a try.

  11. Do I need to wipe away the polish after applying it? Or can I just let it sit for a while? Won’t it come off on my hands and arms?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Greyson,
      Whenever you use any furniture polish, homemade or not, you apply then wipe it away. For wood that’s particularly dry, let it sit a few minutes and then wipe.

      I hope that helps clarify things. 🙂

  12. Hi-has anyone used sweet almond oil in this recipe? Seems to have similar fat content to jojoba-and a little cheaper. 🤗

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Ruth,
      Sweet almond oil goes rancid pretty quickly. I’d suggest using the olive oil alternative listed in the recipe, since it doesn’t go bad nearly as fast.

  13. Love this tip will be trying it. By the way we have the tall chest of drawers that matches the dresser/side table featured in the picgture.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I bet it’s gorgeous!

  14. Hi , can I use this mixture on rosewood furniture? Will it restore its original color ? Can you also suggest how to get back the rich look that seems to have faded ? Need to tell you that I haven’t polished it since having bought it. Thanks in advance

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It’s not a color restorative, just a moisturizing polish. That may be enough to bring out the grain again. If it doesn’t, then you’ll want to look at furniture restoration sites. That’s not something I’m confident to advise you about.

  15. Cynthia Murray says:

    Can you use canola oil?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I wouldn’t. Canola oil mixed with vinegar can alter the color of wood as well as create a hard, lacquer-like finish when it dries. That finish can trap moisture and dust and, over time, will result in a haze.

  16. Rosemary Dawes says:

    I have talked to two woodworkers lately (at markets) and one recommended walnut oil and one grapeseed oil. Not that these are for using undiluted on the newly turned wood rather than as a cleaner.
    How would these oils do in your recipe?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t tried them, so I couldn’t say.

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