Cleaning furniture

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There are two types of cleaning: the first is the basic one that should always be carried out, the second is performed on a piece of furniture that just needs a new finish.

Cleaning furniture
Paolo Fertig
Paolo Fertig

We can perform two different types of cleaning: the most important, is the basic one that should always be performed because the old furniture can be left for years in dirty and dusty environments.

Pulizia dei mobili

The second, more thorough and careful, is the one tha you do if a piece of furniture doesn't need to be stripped, it just needs a new finish so it is usually necessary to remove the layer of dirt that, year after year, have deposited on its surface, so that the new finish is well anchored to the wood in a secure way.

Deep cleaning

If the furniture is wet to the touch place it in a dry, well ventilated place (but not directly in the sun), before proceeding with clean up.
Then clean the furniture with a soft brush and with a good vacuum cleaner to remove all dust and dirt accumulated.

Pulizia di fondo

The brush can be dampened with soapy water but should avoid to wet the forniture and then wipe it dry quickly.
With wooden or plastic spatulas, clean the indentations.
Let the forniture in an environment very ventilated before proceeding with the eventual restoration.


The turpentine, also called "essence of turpentine" is an aromatic liquid extracted from pine wood.
It is the most common of the solvents and diluents for paints and oleo-synthetic varnishes.
It helps also to clean, to remove stains and grease.

Prodotti per pulizia You have to close it after use otherwise it turns yellow and it evaporates.
If you remove the paint from the hands with the turpentine then you have to wash with soap and water.

A few drops of turpentine softens dry brushes.
Be careful not to push it close to an open flame because it is highly flammable.

The oxalic acid is a solid acid, colorless and poisonous.
You can find it in many plants, it is prepared industrially for use in dyeing and bleaching of wood.

The trichlorethylene (trichlorethylene) is a colorless non-flammable but toxic liquid.
It is used as a solvent and as a cleaning agent. Be careful not to breathe it because it is an anesthetic.

Cleaning of maintenance

To do this we must operate so as not to remove the existing paint, so it is necessary to act in a more "soft"way than the work of a chemical paint stripper.
To determine how to clean a piece of furniture you need to determine exactly which paint has been applied and what type of finish you want to apply.

Pulizia di manutenzione

The cleaning will be performed when the finish that will be used is the same type as the existing one (or compatible with it).
If, instead, you want to apply a paint of a different type from the old one, you should proceed to stripping.


The activities of restoration require the use of chemical compounds, solvents and other materials that can be aggressive to the skin.
You must, therefore, protect your hands with appropriate gloves.

Guanti per la pulizia

When applying chemicals it is advisable to use the practical thin plastic gloves such as "disposable".
If the substances are dangerous or highly caustic is good to use thick rubber gloves.
For other processes are very useful the thin cotton gloves, elastic and lightweight, which give freedom to your fingers.

Cleaning a piece of furniture with wax finish

The wax finish leaves a slightly matte surface, which is a little oily to the touch.
On a wax finish you work by using a swab soaked in turpentine.
You need to pass it over the entire surface of the cabinet with the pressure required to remove the deepest dirt.
If the dirt is very strong, you need to avoid applying a continuous pressure in the same area, because you could lighten the wood, leaving a clearer halo.


On the market you can find different types of scrapers with replaceable blade that are particularly suitable to remove wax, stains detected, hardened glue and other solid substances present on the surface of the wood.

Raschietti per la pulizia

During use you must be careful not to cut the wood with the blade that is very sharp.

Cleaning a piece of furniture coated with shellac

A piece of forniture treated with shellac is easily identifiable because its surface is very shiny, "dry" to the touch and free of cracks.
To be sure you can sand down a hidden corner: the smell of alcohol that emerges is unmistakable.

Pulizia con verniciatura in gommalacca

To clean it, you can use a solution of 100 ml of turpentine, 50 ml of linseed oil and 50 ml of alcohol (ethyl alcohol).
With a cotton swab soaked in this solution, rub vigorously the piece of forniture.
Be careful not to exceed the percentage of ethyl alcohol, because you would remove the layers of shellac and this would force you to strip and paint the forniture again.
At the end of the work, rub the wood with a dry cloth.


If your piece of forniture has painted decorations, it can be very useful to clean them and make them brighter.

The cleaning is carried out with a cotton ball soaked in sweet almond oil which is able to completely remove the layer ("patina") of dust and grease that by the time has settled on the wood.
The decorated parts can be subsequently protected by applying a layer of clear varnish (a polyurethane) satin.

Pulizia delle decorazioni

When the furnitures are well varnished or waxed, they should be periodically treated with non aggressive substances against dust.


Among the most frequent problems that presents an old piece of forniture, are the stains on the surface.
If your wood furniture has been soiled in well-defined spots and you know what stained it, then you should intervene with a specific process: here are some tips related to the most common stains.

Ink: pass on the stain with a cloth soaked in a solution of 100 g of distilled water and 30 g of oxalic acid.
Let sit for a few minutes and then clean with a slightly damp chamois leather.
If the ink stain looks shiny it is likely that the cabinet has been polished after it was stained.
You can not remove the stain without first removing the paint.

Water: the water leaves on the wood unsightly clear marks.
If the stains are on a shellac finish, simply proceed to re-polish the surface.
Otherwise, try a mixture of vinegar diluted in water.

Pulizia dei mobili

Soft drinks: pass on the cabinet slightly a damp rag to remove the residue of sugar, then wipe again with another clean, dry cloth.
To complete the operation, apply on the piece of furniture some beeswax that will shine thoroughly with a cloth of wool.

Oil and grease: sprinkle talcum powder on the stains, cover with a paper towel out and pass a hot iron over, so that the grease penetrated in the wood is absorbed by the paper.
Repeat this process until the stains do not disappear completely.
If the surface of the forniture is not veneer applied to the stain of trichlorethylene, but remember to never use this substance on wood veneered or decorated, as it attaches the glue and detaches the coating.

Post: Cleaning furniture
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