Natural Homemade Furniture Polish

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This natural homemade furniture polish leaves your home’s wood surfaces shining clean for pennies.

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.

Benefits of Using Homemade Furniture Polish

There are several reasons you should consider switching from commercial furniture polish sprays to making your own natural furniture polish.

No build-up or haze. Commercial polish contains silicone, among other ingredients. Silicone bonds with itself, so every application adds another layer which traps dust and humidity. Over time, those layers make your furniture look dull and dirty even when you’ve just polished it.

Allergy-friendly. The ingredients in homemade furniture polish don’t contain the synthetic fragrances or aerosolized ingredients of commercial sprays. Many people with allergies find their symptoms begin to clear up when they switch to homemade cleaning recipes like this one.

Affordable. Olive oil and vinegar are two ingredients most people have in their kitchens. If you decide to add lemon essential oil to your homemade furniture polish, you can pick up inexpensive bottles of it at most major retailers. (I use this brand.)

Safe around pets and kids. The ingredients in this natural furniture polish recipe are safe and non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry about using it near your kids or pets. But, if you have a puppy or other pet that likes to lick furniture, skip the essential oils since many are not pet-safe.

Why These Ingredients?

The ingredients in this natural homemade furniture polish accomplish several things. Olive oil moisturizes and shines wood but also helps dissolve dirt. White vinegar is a natural disinfectant that removes soil and smudges. The lemon essential oil provides additional shine and leaves a lovely fragrance.

Tips on Using Homemade Furniture Polish

Lint-free cloths are a must. Old t-shirts make great dusting and polishing cloths. So do flannel baby diapers. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s not going to leave pieces of lint all over your freshly polished furniture. You can use the same cloth several times before laundering. Just stash it with your homemade furniture polish spray for quick touchups.

Remove severe wax buildup first. Although this natural homemade furniture polish does a great job of removing light buildup and grime, severe stickiness needs extra effort. Follow these steps to get rid of sticky wax buildup on furniture. (All you need is tea and vinegar!)

Common Questions About Homemade Furniture Polish

Below are questions that readers have asked about making and using this natural furniture polish recipe. If you don’t see your question answered below, please ask it in the comments.

How Often Should I Polish my Furniture?

There’s no firm rule about how often you should polish wood furniture, but it’s safe to do so when it begins to look dull. With commercial polishes, you shouldn’t use them every time you dust or you’ll get buildup. With this natural homemade polish, that’s not a problem. So, you can use it every time you clean or apply as needed to maintain the shine.

Can I Use a Different Oil?

You can use several types of oil to polish your furniture naturally but avoid oils that quickly go rancid, or your home will stink. Oils you can use to polish furniture include olive, jojoba, grapeseed, and food-grade mineral oil. Tung oil and walnut oil can work on teak or darker woods, but they are not pet-safe.

Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar?

Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar instead of the distilled white vinegar in homemade furniture polish. Be aware, however, that ACV contains pectin which can attract pests like ants and cockroaches. If such things are a problem, you should stick with the original recipe.

Can I Add Lemon Juice?

Some recipes on the internet recommend using lemon juice in homemade furniture polish in addition to vinegar, presumably because it’s acidic. In this recipe, the vinegar already provides enough acidity to remove grime. Adding more acidic ingredients like lemon juice can damage your furniture’s finish. (Lemon essential oil does not contain citric acid.)

Can I Use a Different Essential Oil?

You can use your favorite essential oil when making homemade furniture polish. But if you have pets, avoid eucalyptus, tea tree, cinnamon, orange, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, wintergreen, or ylang-ylang essential oils since they are toxic for many animals. Consult your vet before substituting oils.

Can I Use This Homemade Polish on My Wood Floors?

This natural homemade furniture polish is designed strictly for use on furniture. If you use it on hard floors, it may leave them too slippery. To clean and shine hardwood floors, try this homemade floor cleaner instead.

Can I Use This on Painted Furniture?

Use this natural furniture polish on unpainted wood, with or without varnish. It’s not designed for use on painted surfaces. To clean those, use warm, soapy water and a microfiber cloth then rinse with a fresh, damp cloth. Don’t saturate the painted wood’s surface, or you may ruin the finish. Buff dry after you’re done.

What Else Can I Use This Homemade Furniture Polish to Clean?

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 the top of leather shoes and handbags when you’re in a rush.

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Comments are moderated. It may take up to 72 hours for moderated comments to appear. I welcome and encourage questions and discussion. However, I will not approve comments that are off-topic, repetitive, or contain hateful or threatening language, advertising or spam. Comments asking for information already covered in the article will not be approved.

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19 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. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

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