Not to polish wood furniture?

OakleyFebruary 4, 2009

I'm looking at nice wood accent tables online, and they all say not to polish these tables. Why? To me, "polish" means spraying some Pledge on the table to take smudges off.

Since when did this become a no-no? I've been using Pledge all my life and haven't seen any wax buildup or anything.

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Sprays, polish and waxes are unnecessary with today's finishes.

My husband is V.P. of a major cabinet manufacturing company with 34-years of experience in the business, and he says more people ruin the finish of cabinets (as well as furniture) from using any number of things available out there on the market - when all that is required is simple dusting or a damp rag in most cases, and mild soap and water for the worst build-up of dirt and grime.

Americans have been brainwashed through advertising into thinking they are improving their wood finishes with all the "junk" available out there. Nothing could be further from the truth....

I've never owned or used Pledge and I have beautiful wood furniture.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 10:27AM
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Is there any exception to the rule "always go with the grain"?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 10:33AM
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Save your money and skip the Pledge. Even if you don't see a wax build up and haven't damaged your furniture, all Pledge (or any other product like that) does is make you feel good and increase the mfg's sales.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 10:36AM
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But shermann, when I dust with Pledge, I DO see a difference. It makes the wood shiny and look cleaner. I used to dust this way once a week, but now (because of laziness, lol) I do it once a month.

Also, in winter it gets very dry here..summer is opposite. Maybe that would be a good time to use a bit of water to wash the furniture?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 12:02PM
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One more thing. My DIL uses Pledge at least once a week on her beautiful wood furniture. Should I tell her to use a microfiber cloth to dust instead of a rag and Pledge?

We both used Swiffer, but all that does is move around the dust!

I ordered some micro fiber cloths for myself which should arrive today, and I hope it works much better than Swiffer!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 12:05PM
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Don't clean with water. Instead, make sure to maintain adequate humidity. Houses can become drier than deserts in the winter. Not good for wood.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 12:56PM
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I like Endust. Dry dusting just pushes the dust around.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 3:10PM
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My Mom (85) always kept her wood furniture looking clean by wiping with an old cloth diaper slightly dampened with water. It removed the dust and the dampness seemed to give it a little moisture. She never used Pledge or Endust or any other products.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 6:33PM
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Once a week, I use a damp cloth and wipe down the wood furniture, but dry it almost immediately with a dry cloth. I use microfiber so it won't scratch. My mom taught me when I was really young to dust this way.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 7:35PM
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I haven't used furniture products in 15 years - after Pledge ruined a table top by making it cloudy. I use a very very very slightly damp cloth and then dry after dusting.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 5:27AM
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A lemon oil furniture wax is fine...if you wish....all it is is lemon oil mixed with mainly mineral oil...but it does attract dust.
About every 6 months I like to use a good paste wax on the big flat surfaces or tables and chests of drawers. Polish well and then just dry dust until I feel ambitious again!
Linda c

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 11:15AM
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Linda C shared some information that is potentially damaging to furniture and finishes. Because this is what she chooses to use doesn't make it optimal, or good for use on any or all furniture and finishes. I can only hope people will avoid using her recommendations and do more research into what is best to use on their furniture and finishes.

This information is from a number of sources, including a college class on "finishes" in a furniture design coarse.

FYI - only apply oil to furniture that has an oil finish on it - such as Danish Oil, French Oil, Tung Oil, Boiled Linseed Oil, etc.... These oils dry to a hard - protective - finish and can be reapplied as needed.

NEVER wax furniture with an oil finish on it. NEVER mix oil and wax on any finish. Oil causes wax to become gummy which will then attract dirt and dust for a new problem from a dirty, gritty, build-up.

Never use non-drying oils, like mineral oil or olive oil, for wood finishes. Mineral oil does little more than sit on the surface and attract dust - it doesn't dry to a hard finish and is easy to smudge and attracts things like smoke and pollutants to the surface it sits on.

Wax and polishes on a Polyurethane will eventually damage the finish. Wax and polish isn't a substitute for a damaged finish.

Silicone-containing cleaners/polish create a high degree of shine, however, silicone seeps into even the highest-quality finishes, creating a barrier that will not accept stain or lacquer so are virtually impossible to refinish or touch-up.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:13PM
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grainlady raises some great points...

in most modern furniture, you're not polishing the wood, you're polishing the clear coat, much like modern cars.

stuff like pledge just creates a synthetic 'oil slick' that makes the surface 'look' better, but it's got more in common with WD-40 than it does with traditional furniture treatments....if you've ever gotten any of the over spray on a hard floor surface, you know what I mean : )

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:58PM
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