If you’ve ever had to peel your arms from the dining table, you may have wondered how to clean sticky wood furniture. It’s such an unpleasant sensation and simple soap and water do nothing to remove it. That’s because wax buildup on wood furniture from spray polish is to blame.
So today, we’re going to talk about how to clean sticky wood furniture, to safely get that residue off your table and chairs along with other furnishings using natural cleaning methods.
How to Clean Sticky Wood Furniture
Why Wood Furniture Gets Sticky
We all love our dining tables to gleam. Unfortunately, the very same commercial sprays we use to give that beautiful shine also lead to sticky residue on wood furniture.
Why? Because commercial sprays contain silicone, a substance that creates a smooth, reflective surface. But over time, the layers of silicone trap humidity and moisture between them. This prevents the layers from adhering to each other, so they don’t harden.
Instead, they leave a sticky residue on wood furniture. Over time, the buildup will make your table and other furnishings look dull and dirty even when you’ve just cleaned them.
You Need to Remove the Wax Buildup from Furniture
If you picture your grandmother sweating away as she scrubs sticky residue from wood, relax. These days, few people use the heavy furniture wax favored by past generations.
That’s one thing about modern commercial furniture polish: it may attract dust, and it may turn your furniture cloudy and sticky, but it’s easy to remove.
Tips to Remove Sticky Residue from Wood
- Dust your furniture before attempting to remove wax buildup.
- To remove wax buildup in wood furniture’s crevices, dip a soft brush (like an old toothbrush) in the cleaning solution (below) and scrub, rinse immediately and buff dry.
- In humid areas, or if you have several layers of wax buildup, you may need to repeat the process a couple of times to remove all of the layers.
- You’ll know you’ve removed all of the sticky residue and wax build-up when you can slide your hand against the grain of the wood and feel the wood’s grain, not the wax.
How To Remove Sticky Wax Buildup From Furniture
Here are two ways to quickly and inexpensively remove the sticky wax buildup from wood furniture. Use caution and test the solution in an inconspicuous spot first. For antiques, it’s best to see a professional.
Wax Build-Up Remover For Light Wood
- 1/2 cup warm distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1-2 drops liquid dish detergent (not one with moisturizers, or with antibacterial or oxygenated bleach additives)
- Add the ingredients to a spray bottle and lightly swirl to combine.
- Spray lightly on the surface to be cleaned.
- Using a soft, lint-free cloth, rub in the direction of the wood grain. Rotate the material often, so you’re always working with a clean spot.
- Switch to a fresh cloth and repeat going against the grain.
- Follow with another clean cloth dampened with plain water to remove the remaining residue then polish it. (Related: Homemade Furniture Polish.)
Wax Build-Up Remover For Dark Wood
The method above works for dark wood, but using the method below will help bring out the wood’s grain and preserve its color.
- 3 black tea bags
- 1 cup hot water
- Steep the black tea bags in the water for ten minutes. Remove bags and allow the liquid to cool.
- Use a clean, lint-free cloth to apply to furniture following the grain of the wood.
- Switch to a fresh cloth and repeat against the grain.
- Wipe off with a damp cloth and buff dry, then polish.