Asked on Sep 09, 2015

What's the best way to clean old painted furniture?

Diana Wearing
by Diana Wearing
I got this great old piece at an auction...I love it just the way it is but it needs to be cleaned up a bit. What products/methods work best to clean up these old painted treasures?
  11 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 09, 2015
    just use old english polish
  • Vallie Cross Vallie Cross on Sep 09, 2015
    Man I love those drawer pulls!
  • Trixie63 Trixie63 on Sep 09, 2015
    Diana when a piece needs cleaned and I'm not sure of its previous life, I usually turn to the cheapest vodka I can find. It cleans, disinfects and does not raise the grain of the wood. It also dries pretty quick. Once clean I'd consider waxing or using polyurethane too keep the beautiful chippy surface safe.
  • Z Z on Sep 09, 2015
    A little bit of Dawn blue dishwashing liquid on a damp cleaning rag, should do the trick. The dawn will degrease any built up grime.
    • See 6 previous
    • Z Z on Sep 10, 2015
      @LOL Mickie! I love how you talked yourself right into cleaning the bathtub! I will try mixing vinegar and Dawn and see if I can tolerate the smell better. I have used it, just not often as I use my steam cleaners or just Dawn on a cleaning rag. I guess I can't see cleaning with something that I don't like the smell of. As for the act of cleaning, I'm kind of an oddball, I like to clean. Especially vacuuming and steam mopping. The whole house can be spotless, but until the floors are clean too, it's just doesn't feel right.
  • Rena Rena on Sep 10, 2015
    Trixie63 I have heard that before and I am going to try that. f you are going o repaint I would use Krudd Kutter. It is non toxic and it is an awesome product. You can get it at HomeDepot or Lowes. It would be beautiful redone.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 10, 2015
    Yes it will.All I do is use a soft rag and rub in on the furniture.Depending how dry the wood is you may have to repeat the process.
  • Judy Adams Judy Adams on Sep 10, 2015
    If you want the most simple and cleaning miracle , I use scrubbing bubbles . Spray and wipe. its a great cleaner for dirt. works on painted surfaceslike a dream, just did an old dresser from the 1950's it looks new again .O f course that depends on the paint condtion under the dirt.
    • See 4 previous
    • Z Z on Sep 13, 2015
      @Thank you Vallie, I will!
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Sep 13, 2015
    When I am not sure about the finish holding up to moisture, I take my microfibre cloth - a good, sturdy one - and spray whatever I am going to use with a mister onto the cloth. The cloths themselves need only be barely damp to pull off and absorb dirt; then you don't leave excess moisture that can hurt a finish. What you spray rest is finesse - for modern paint (not bare wood) I like Murphy's Soap which cleans the surface and leaves a soft shine. If I am worried about a more delicate surface, I will use 50/50 water and rubbing alcohol which evaporates fast (vodka would work too). If a surface wants disinfecting or smells, I use vinegar (rub dry w/ crumpled newsprint for glass & mirrors). Anything I'm repainting gets a Windex rubdown - cuts grease and dries out the old finish. For surfaces that are greasy + dirty, I clean with a light oil first to remove everything, followed by a wipe with diluted dish soap to remove the light oil. Microfibre cloths can scratch, so rubbing really hard may damage some surfaces; antiques and valuables deserve a soft cotton cloth. Just moisten lightly with the right cleaner, and wipe lightly with a microfibre. When your cloth is dirty, rinse it well, wring the heck out of it until only barely damp, and start again. Then when the clothes hit the washing machine, I add baking soda to take everything out.
  • Wendy Tuch Wendy Tuch on Sep 14, 2015
    Murphy's oil soap can do the trick. I am a furniture restorer/finisher and have used for 3 decades with no adverse side affects
    • Wendy Tuch Wendy Tuch on Dec 25, 2015
      @Wendy Tuch For years I have been using Murphy's oil soap, as well. Only once in a great while do I use something stronger...Clorox GREEN spray product.
  • Denise Boyce Denise Boyce on Sep 20, 2015
    Castile Soap for all your furniture and floors.
  • Debbie Debbie on Dec 24, 2015
    Do u know what year that is from i just recently bought one exactly the same i've been researching & cannot find any info except your picture please let me know i would appreciate any info