Asked on Mar 09, 2015

If you clean antique wood with Murphy Oil soap can you then stain it?

Susan M
by Susan M
I am process of restoring an Art Deco bed. It needs cleaning and then staining in some places. If I first clean with Murphy Oil soap, can I then stain where needed and it be absorbed or would the cleaning prevent absorption. Thanks.
  11 answers
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Mar 09, 2015
    I would say yes!
  • Kay Kay on Mar 09, 2015
    I use 0000 steel wool with mineral spirits. It takes off dirt and wax build up. Sometimes you don't even have to restain the wood just use wax or whatever you want to seal it.
  • MikeGyver MikeGyver on Mar 09, 2015
    No! Murphy's oil soap will leave a residue that will cause poor adhesion for whatever you are top coating it with. To clean it, use a wax/grease remover or you can use mineral spirits to clean it only if you are using an oil based finish later. Also, by "staining" do you mean coloring it somehow? If so, it won't turn out well because it needs to be down to bare wood first so the pores will accept pigment. Strip it down to bare wood first or just leave it and clean/wax it good to improve the appearance. Then once it's stained it will need to be sealed with a clear coat (polyurethane, lacquer, etc).
  • Love Digging in the Dirt Love Digging in the Dirt on Mar 09, 2015
    No help here, but I LOVE the headboard. I have several pieces of art-deco furniture. Some I salvaged from the garbage and redid them.
  • Joanna Smith Joanna Smith on Mar 09, 2015
    Clean with Linseed oil, wipe down, let dry, then stain.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Mar 10, 2015
    Have done some refinishing and touching-ups - but am no pro. I use oil-based stains and my instincts tell me not to use an oily product to clean if you want to touch up with oil-based stain, I'd clean it up with paint thinner/mineral spirits. I often work with 2 or 3 dif coloured stains to get the right look to blend in.
  • Jessie Jessie on Mar 10, 2015
    Funky headboard! If you are looking to change the color, (especially if you want to go lighter) you'll need to strip it. I like to use Citristrip. If you want a darker finish, you could try Java gel stain. I wrote a post recently that explains how to use it and has pictures to give you an idea of what the finish might look like. You can see it at I'm just not sure how beautifully that inset wood detailing will show up with Java gel. You could try Danish oil first; if the wood isn't damaged that may be all you need.
  • Doris Jean Miller Doris Jean Miller on Feb 19, 2017

    No to anything containing water. These pieces are veneer and water can cause them to come unglued. I have a product for antiques that works every time to clean and bring back the original finish. You can change color by adding dark wax or you can use a varnish stain but from what im seeing here once its cleaned and shining again you may fall in love with it. The product is called a Finish Rejuvenator and its made in Oklahoma but its online too.

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  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 30, 2023

    You could try teak oil maybe or Beeswax, but if not successful you will have to rub down and all and use a colour that seems appropriate for both areas. Otherwise a Furniture ewstorer or French Polisher may be able to help you.

  • Mogie Mogie on Sep 06, 2023

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  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Sep 06, 2023

    You could call the consumer hot line on the Murphy's Oil soap and ask.