Who is ready to start getting rid of harsh chemicals from your home? Well, let me introduce you to Leanne from The Transplanted Southerner who has massive amounts of knowledge on this very topic!
She is sharing two super simple and cheap recipes to help take care of any and all wood furniture in your home. You are about to be inspired to start making all of your household cleaners on your own! Here she is:
I have inherited quite a few of my grandmother’s beautiful antiques, and I’ve added to the collection whenever I find something lovely (and inexpensive!) on Craigslist or at a thrift store. Most of my grandmother’s furniture came to me in pretty good shape, although a couple of the pieces had been stored near a dehumidifier and the wood was very dry.
Our dresser and headboard, however, were Craigslist scores and, while gorgeous pieces, were in quite bad shape. With a little love, and a good deal of elbow grease, I’ve brought them all back up to snuff and we have some really nice, solid wood furniture throughout the house.
In an effort to keep them looking nice, I dust them weekly and polish them every 6-8 weeks. Typically, 6 weeks in the winter because our gas heat leaves everything feeling dried out, and every 8 weeks in the summer when it’s a little more humid.
For a while, I was using Pledge dusting spray and Old English furniture oil. Don’t get me wrong, those products work and I was happy with the results….but…..well, I was trying to make a shift to natural products and I mean I was making my own laundry detergent for goodness sakes! Yet there I was stocking up on chemical laden sprays and oils. Good grief! (As Charlie Brown would say)
I knew making household cleaning products was a breeze, my “one product for all purposes” bathroom cleaner is cheap and easy to make as well as use. Surely to goodness I could come up with a little something for my favorite furnishings, and, with some research, I did! I won’t lie, I had some amazingly bad flops the first couple of tries, but I’m saving you the headache and hassle by sharing the ones that I know DO work (and work well)!
DIY Dusting Spray
First, the dusting spray because this is what you’ll use the majority of the time. You don’t need much to make this spray, it isn’t anything fancy, but it works like a charm and smells like a dream (um, after the vinegar scent dissipates ha ha)!
What You Need
1 glass jar or glass spray bottle
Essential Oils (if you want to add scent and extra furniture protection – I like to use Eucalyptus and Orange or Lemon oil because it smells clean and gives you a little energy boost while cleaning)
What To Do
1. First, make sure your jar or bottle is clean. It needs to be glass if you are adding essential oils because they can eat through plastic (ask me how I know). But if you don’t want the essential oils you can try plastic though I would go with a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottle. They can usually be found in health food stores, but if you don’t have one locally or can’t find them they can be purchased inexpensively from places like Amazon or Spark Naturals.
2. I didn’t list specific amounts because that can vary greatly. I make up my dusting spray every week or two so I don’t make a large batch. Someone else might need more and make a larger bottle. The important thing is to remember the ratios. They are:
3 parts water
1 part vinegar
1 tsp (for a smaller batch) to 1 TBSP (for a larger batch) of olive oil
5-8 drops (for a smaller batch) to 8-12 drops (for a larger batch) of essential oil
My recipe looks like this:
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of vinegar
1 tsp of olive oil
4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
4 drops of lemon essential oil
3. Add the olive oil and essential oil first, and swirl them around to get them mixed well. Then add the water and vinegar, cap and shake. That’s all there is to it!
The essential oil combo I use is great because the eucalyptus repels pests like bugs and the lemon is an excellent degreaser so it teams up with the vinegar to cut through any grime on the furniture surface.
Once it’s well mixed you can just spritz lightly like you would a regular dusting solution and wipe down with a clean, soft cloth.
You want to use a light touch. You’re just using a bit of liquid to help wipe away the dust, not washing the wood! Remember to give it a shake every so often to keep it mixed. That’s it!
*Side note – if you don’t have a spray bottle, that’s okay. For almost a year, I mixed mine up in an old pickle jar for quite some time before investing in bottles. Simply put the lid on and shake the jar, then put the cloth over the top of the jar and tip to dampen the cloth. Wring the cloth out so it is slightly wet, not dripping, and wipe down your furniture. I promise that this works just fine!
Now let’s talk about keeping the wood hydrated and shiny.
DIY Wood Polish
Wood can dry out, especially when exposed to dry heat or stored in an area with a dehumidfier, so it is important to rehydrate the wood. It will not only keep the wood itself in top condition, but will make your home look well put together and cared for. Wood furniture that has become to dry will look lackluster, and the color won’t be as rich. Nothing says “good housekeeping” like some gleaming wood furniture!
The polish I use is actually a little more of a “shoe polish” consistency than an oil, so I store it in a glass jar with a canning lid. The consistency won’t affect the results you get, because this polish will liquify and soak into the wood as you rub it on. Think of it as a “wood salve”.
What You Need
1 cup Coconut oil
1/4 cup Olive oil
2-4 TBSP Beeswax (use less if you want a more lotion-y polish, more if you want it to be a bit more like a wax)
Essential Oils (I choose to use Cedar and Lemon – but you can pretty much use anything you’d like)
What To Do
1. You’re going to melt the oils down to mix them together, so you’ll need to put them in a thick glass jar or bowl. Now set THAT inside a pot of water (do not get water inside the jar or glass), and bring the water to a medium heat. Allow the oils to melt slowly, stirring occasionally.
2. Once everything is melted, pour it into a glass jar that has a good lid that seals well. You can use a canning jar, like I do, or repurpose an older jelly or jam jar.
3. Before the polish begins to firm up, add your essential oils and give it a good swirl with a toothpick or skewer to mix the oils throughout the polish base. I love to use Cedar and Lemon essential oils in mine. The cedar isn’t overpowering and it has a nice, slightly rustic smell. Cedarwood is also a relaxing smell, so you can sit in your freshly cleaned room and unwind later. Lemon is just fresh and clean, hence its presence in so many cleaning products, and the oil can help clear up any musty odors that might be lurking about.
4. Now, set it to the side and allow it to cool off and firm up. You can go ahead and use it, or seal it up for later use.
Did this remind you of a salve recipe? It pretty much is! You could rub this on your skin if you wanted, so you don’t have to worry about pets or kids getting this on them, and it doesn’t pose a hazard to you as you polish your pretty wood furniture.
On the weeks that I’m going to polish I use a barely damp cloth to dust my furniture in preperation for polishing. You don’t necessarily have to use the dusting spray beforehand since you will be adding the polish, although you can put a bit of vinegar into the water if the furniture looks very dusty to help get it clean before you use the polish. Adding polish to dusty furniture would only create a mess.
Use small dabs as you go, because it doesn’t take much. You want this to soak in and hydrate the wood, not leave an oily film siting on the surface of the wood. I keep a second cloth with me to buff the wood once I’ve applied the polish and this helps bring out the natural beauty of the wood without leaving anything behind to attract dust (which pretty much negates cleaning your furniture, right?) or look greasy.
Now that you know how to make your own dusting spray and furniture polish, are you ready to make the switch to other naturally based household cleaners? You can find my carpet cleaning solution recipe here, we like it so much more than the bottled shampoos sold in stores!