How do I clean this beautiful old rocker?

by Ltt834476
Found this beautiful old rocker for sell on side of road. Need help on how to clean the buildup on top of rocker and make it smell better. Has a very old smell to it.
wood backing
  25 answers
  • Grady Grady on Feb 24, 2015
    I would try an air freshener to get rid of the smell.
    • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Feb 24, 2015
      I've got plenty of that around the house, but it still smells. I even sprayed degrees on it. Thanks anyway......
  • DrJanet Holzhauer DrJanet Holzhauer on Feb 24, 2015
    First use vinegar to cut the old oils left by the past owner. Skin contains natural oils that will be rubbed into the wood if the rocker was used much. Then try some Scott's Wood Cleaner & Preservative. It has a nice almond scent.
  • I second the vinegar suggestion- that's always my first go to. sometimes just dawn dish soap and warm water works wonders as well!
  • Per1313798 Per1313798 on Feb 24, 2015
    Apply liquid ammonia and after about 15 minutes the varnish and buildup will melt away.
  • Per1313798 Per1313798 on Feb 24, 2015
    I did a similar thing with my wooden front door and the wood remained unharmed.
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Feb 24, 2015
    Interesting rocker, the seat & back look like tooled leather are you sure they are wooden?
  • Carol Hougaboom Holman Carol Hougaboom Holman on Feb 24, 2015
    I agree with Katrina. My first thought was leather.
  • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Feb 24, 2015
    I will try some of your suggestions. Will repost it, if any of it works. And yes, it is wood. It has a beautiful design on the wood. Never seen this before. Thank you for your idea's, it's start :)
  • Rabs Rabs on Feb 25, 2015
    the ideal solution is to clean it with kerosene Smell goes Stains go And keeps wood free from pests Tried and tested solution
  • Dawn Maria Tait Dawn Maria Tait on Feb 25, 2015
    I have an old farmhouse, complete with the same scunge on every kitchen cupboard door, Pinesol and hot water, take a cloth and drape it over the scunge, I didn't wring it out too much, just enough to stop the puddles on the floor. Worked pretty good.
  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Feb 25, 2015
    I agree with the vinegar, but after I got an old piece of furniture cleaned it still smelled a little. I gave it a sanding and then stained and varnished it and it was fine.
  • J J on Feb 25, 2015
    If it's all wood, use linseed oil with a rag to clean it up. I've done it with old pieces I've found roadside. Linseed oil (buy at hardware store) will clean years of dirt buildup and restore shine.
    • See 2 previous
    • Denise Burns Denise Burns on Feb 25, 2015
      Okay. I think I will try it on my kitchen cabinets. If I think they anything else I try lemon oil. Thank you for the reply.
  • Donnaleedesigns52 Donnaleedesigns52 on Feb 25, 2015
    another tip- polish for old furniture - 1 tbsp coconut oil, 5 drops Lemon essential oil & 5 drops Lavender essential oil. Use a soft cloth dipped in mixture and buff the wood. Coconut oil is anti-fungal & anti-bacterial, actually fights the musty smell and mildew trapped inside the wood. Used this on a chair that had been in a barn for years. Works great
  • Somewhat Quirky Somewhat Quirky on Feb 25, 2015
    I would clean it with mineral spirits.
    • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Feb 25, 2015
      I tired this after trying the vinegar, this didn't work. Time for my next step.......
  • Sherry Fram Sherry Fram on Feb 25, 2015
    Try Murphy's oil soap. I have used it to clean up old wood and it works great.
    • See 1 previous
    • Sherry Fram Sherry Fram on Feb 25, 2015
      @Lttamayo Well I've used it on my 100+ y/o bed to keep it clean with out any problems so far. So maybe I should be using something else. Would like to know what else to use.
  • Vicki Hawkins Vicki Hawkins on Feb 25, 2015
    Pledge Dust & allergen works great!
    • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Feb 25, 2015
      It has too much build-up that needs to be removed first. But I'll try the pledge dust at the end. Maybe this will help with the odor.
  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Feb 25, 2015
    Whatever cleaner you use -- use very little water. The pressed wood back and seat are most likely plywood that will separate if gotten too wet.
  • Jane Jane on Feb 25, 2015
    This website might offer some help in restoring this beautiful chair to its former glory.
  • Vicki Hawkins Vicki Hawkins on Feb 25, 2015
    The Pledge Dust & Allergen will cut the buildup, just use plenu of old soft cloths & rub like CRAZY. May take more than one application. Worked great on my old wood buffet w/years of buildup!
    • CC CC on Feb 27, 2015
      That is just a waxy polish, it will not take off years of dirt. What you removed from your buffet had to have been simply surface dirt. Applying the Pledge will just give her one more thing she has to clean off. You never put wax on an item before it's thoroughly cleaned. I can guarantee you that if you put linseed oil on an inconspicuous place on your buffet, you will see the dirt your covering up with the Pledge.
  • Sherry Sherry on Feb 26, 2015
    You know you've found a really lovely chair. Before you do anything to ruin it, please check with a reputable antique dealer to see if what you think is dirt is really the original finish where it hasn't been worn or cleaned off. The musty smell can't be cured with perfumed cleaners or soaps. It needs fresh air and time. Looks like you have a covered porch in the pics. That's a good place to get it some warm, dry air and give it some time. Until you know more about just what you've found, you should be very cautious about doing anything to it if you care about its value and history. Don't you watch "Antiques Roadshow"?
  • CC CC on Feb 27, 2015
    I refinish old furniture for a living and my new love is Amish Milk Wood Cleaner. However, definitely soak the wood with linseed oil first. It cleans off years and years of dirt buildup. Then finish with the Amish Milk. It's truly a wonderful new find.
    • See 1 previous
    • CC CC on Feb 28, 2015
      Yes...I bought mine at Lowe's, but I have also seen similar Amish Milk at my local Giant Eagle in the "as seen on tv" section. I don't know if where you are from you even have those stores. But definitely Lowes and you could check online to see if Home Depot has it. I'm sure they would. Please let me know how it turns out for you. It's a beautiful rocker you have.
  • Lenella Maxwell Lenella Maxwell on Mar 07, 2015
    Murphy's Oil Soap, the best thing to use. It cleans leather.
  • Zanna Zanna on Mar 08, 2015
    Permatex DL Hand Cleaner, available on Amazon, is a godsend for projects like this! Just wipe it on and then remove it with a soft cloth. It should take off the gunk without removing the original finish. Then you can just clean it with your furniture polish of choice. I've used this cleaner on old furniture and even on old oil paintings. It's great stuff!
  • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Mar 08, 2015
    Thank you for this information. I will look for this on Amazon.
  • Cyndi Neumann Cyndi Neumann on Apr 25, 2015
    Murphy's Oil Soap is Fabulous for cleaning everything! I use it all the time , just mix a little water and Murphy's Oil in a bowl and use old wash rag, It cleaned a rattan rocker I had, I had no idea it was so dirty, especially on the arm pieces! I also use it on my wall baseboards. Grocery store or Home Depot, Lowes, it is available everywhere. Smiles, Cyndi