How do I remove wax and dirt build up from vintage table top?

I have a MCM drop leaf dining table I bought for my kitchen. It is not designer but more mass market produced for that time period. How can I frugally remove years of build up of wax and grime yet leave the finish intact? I have no desire to refinish or paint it. I just want it clean so I can keep it oiled.
I love this little table and I want it to shine! Literally!
I couldn't get a good shot of the finish. It is actually in very good shape for the age. It is beginning to have the crackled look on close inspection.
I believe the inlay look is part of the finish but I am not sure.
Just another feature of the table.
  13 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 18, 2015
    Try a product called cabinet magic. Home depot sells this.
  • Susen Gail Susen Gail on Sep 18, 2015
    Pretty table! I use Fornby's cleaner and restorer on an old highboy. It had worked well before, but I couldn't get rid of the smears on that highboy. I finally just used hot soapy dishwater. Dried it well. Now it shines. Happy Decorating! susen
  • Elizabeth Dion Elizabeth Dion on Sep 18, 2015
    I use TSP. works every time. You can buy it at WalMart or most any hardware store.
  • Betty Betty on Sep 18, 2015
    I use both Murphy's Wood Soap Cleaner and/or Old English Furniture Cleaner.
  • Hervoline Pearson Hervoline Pearson on Sep 18, 2015
    I took a refinishing class and the instructor showed us how to use hand leaner the mechanics use to clean their hands. You use cheesecloth to put it on, going with the grain then wipe off with a soft lint less cloth. It really works. The table is beautiful.
  • Jasmin Jasmin on Sep 18, 2015
    Mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool should take the wax off. If it's still difficult, allow the mineral spirits to sit for about a minute and wipe with steel wool. Keep well ventilated. Do it outside if possible.
  • Craftyfox Craftyfox on Sep 18, 2015
    years ago I found an old piano in a neighbor's garage it was covered with dust and sand I cleaned years of old wax with one step floor wax
  • Dee Dee on Sep 18, 2015
    Actually use dark hard wax, such as minwax or bri wax. Apply with very fine steel wool and wipe off with a microfiber cloth or if you have a buffer, or drill with a buffer attachment it will take all the old stuff off. Keep the wax in a warm place and let it get soft. Like turn your oven on to about 200 degrees, the turn it OFF. Put the can of wax in the warm oven for about 15 minutes and apply. It will remove all the old stuff and look amazing.
    • See 1 previous
    • Dee Dee on Sep 20, 2015
      You asked about cleaning the old wax off and this will take it all off. You can then re wax and do not use the table for about 5 days. Or just clean with soap and water after a good cleaning
  • Cathey DeRosa Cathey DeRosa on Sep 18, 2015
    There's a product called "TSP" that works well for me.
  • Jackie Jackie on Sep 18, 2015
    Rub the wood with a soft cloth dipped in a mix of malt vinegar and water (half & half ish) then buff with another soft cloth, a clean dry one this time. It's always worked for me but I've got to say Hervoline Pearsons hand cleaner sounds intriguing.
    • Rosa Lee Gibbons Rosa Lee Gibbons on Sep 18, 2015
      @Jackie I may try your method first since I have vinegar on hand and would like to do this as inexpensively as possible.
  • Cathey DeRosa Cathey DeRosa on Sep 19, 2015
    Not that I've ever seen. If you're worried, just try it on an indiscreet area. I would do that with any of the suggestions.
  • Blissful1 Blissful1 on Sep 19, 2015
    The following is from Martha Stewart's site. I've used this formula many times and have always been surprised at how well it works without removing the actual finish on a piece. It actually removed decades old planter rings from an antique hutch! The linseed oil/turpentine recipe shown works great for water/mold stains (from planters) on wood finishes. 3 parts linseed oil to 1 part turpentine. Add total amount of mixture to equal portion of very hot water in a glass jar. Use (very fine) #0000 steel wool to apply, dry with a clean towel and let sit for 2 days. Here's a link that has a video:
    • Rosa Lee Gibbons Rosa Lee Gibbons on Sep 19, 2015
      @Blissful1 Thank you so much. I should have checked there. Watching her original Martha Stewart Living shows taught me so much over the years about cooking and housekeeping.
  • Shirley Shirley on Sep 19, 2015
    I recent found a wood cleaning solution on this part white vinegar and 3 parts olive oil...and wow does it ever make all our oak trim look beautiful.