Classic wooden furniture, floors, window and door frames need love, maintenance, and care. The timeless and versatile look of the wooden interior makes it a perfect addition to design, as textures create unique and elegant home decor. When it comes to caring for wooden surfaces, there is specific know-how one should have to avoid silly mistakes. Alongside dusting, cleaning, and waxing, polishing with a good finish are all mandatory chores to keep your timber looking neat and shiny, but what more is there to it?
Applying water on wooden furniture is an absolute no-no, especially if left to vaporize on its own. Instead, try alternative ways to polish, like using essential oils for that matter. Yes! Essential oils are great for bringing dull and washed-out wood furniture back to life. The natural extracts from essential oils are famous for their health benefits, aromatherapy applications, but also domestic usage to preserve and protect wood from vermin, bacteria, and more.
But, when properly applied, they can also make a powerful and all-natural cleaning agent that protects the integrity of valuable woods from mold and wood-decay fungi. When you polish with essential oils, you also add sheen and glamour to your favorite aging wood floors, dining tables, chairs, cabinets, and other timber-made elements, and without any concerns of harmful chemicals involved! On top of that, furniture acts as a diffuser of oil scents, so you benefit from the healing and soothing effects. You not only preserve and clean, but enjoy the comfy aroma. That being said, this Handyman Tips guide introduces to pros and cons of essential oils on wood. Be wary of when about to apply to wooden furniture. Follow our tips on how to avoid damage and save your nerves. Read along and learn which essential oils are best to clean and polish wooden surfaces and how exactly to use them.
Essential Oils are Highly Concentrated Extracts (Poisoning Risks)
- To extract a pound of rose essential oils takes five thousand pounds of roses.
- A single drop of peppermint essential oils equals to almost 30 cups of peppermint.
Generally, they don’t damage wooden surfaces, but failure to use correctly has its consequences that can go as far as causing chemical burns that harm and damage wooden finish. But, like with any other cleaning tips experts recommend, cautious, and responsible usage is key to preserving wood, be it a piece of furniture or another household surface.
Essential Oils Might Be Toxic For Direct Consumption
Better not leave bottles throughout the house especially if you have kids or pets running around. The same applies to licking areas treated with mixtures containing essential oils. In case of ingestion, immediately seek medical help.
Essential Oils Fight Mold & Wood Decay
According to a study by Mohsen Bahmani and Olaf Schmidt, essential oil extracts from lavender, lemongrass and thyme have the most effective impact against the range of common fungi:
- Aspergillus niger – which is linked to pneumonia;
- Penicillium commune (molds) – that mostly grows on food;
- Coniophora puteana (brown rot) – causes wet rot in wood;
- Trametes versicolor (white rot) – linked to diarrhea, darkened feces, and darkened fingernails;
- Chaetomium globosum (soft rot) – resides on plants, soil, straw, dung, but also indoor wood;
- Natural infections by other airborne spores.
Different oils affect mold to a varying degree. If you can’t decide which essential oil to use you should try bulk essential oil shopping and mix them up before useage. The above experiments shows wood samples infested with the mold type of Aspergillus niger:
- Left: Olive oil – poorest results;
- Centre: Lemongrass oil – medium efficiency;
- Right: Fennel oil – mold stood no chance.
Read: Is Black Mold Really a Toxic Cause for Panic?
Essential Oils Kill Bacteria on Wood
Bacteria are all around us, and spraying your home with a mixture of your favorite essential oil and water does the same job as antibacterial products, but in a 100% nature-friendly and toxic-free way. That being said, mixtures containing oils can serve for disinfection throughout your home especially useful for a wood-themed bathroom. You can spray your door handles, knobs, or any other surface that won’t suffer from light moisture. Washing your hands is one thing, but if you want to take the fight with bacteria a step further, consider a good water filter.
Essential Oils Keep Insects Away from Wood
A great way to carry DIY pest control on your wooden furnishing is a mixture of essential oils and water.
Essential Oils to Clean & Polish Wooden Surfaces
So, which essential oils are the perfect option to clear all the dust off of your wooden surfaces and get that beautiful gloss and vibrancy? Can you rub essential oils on wood? Yes you can! Essential oils are amazing preservatives.
Lemon Essential Oil
“Lemon essential oil is versatile, inexpensive and great at fighting mold and also cleaning ovens. The antiseptic and antifungal properties make it a great addition to cleaning agents as it eliminates all kinds of dirt,” comment John’s Oven Cleaners.
Learn: Affordable Oven Cleaning Tips
“So, sticky spots and grease stains on the kitchen table or the cutting boards, dust on the cabinets, and stubborn marks on the floor don’t stand a chance,” comments David’s Hardwood Flooring. “Not only that but the lemon type of essential oil makes your home fruity and natural with a sour note, which is absolutely lovely,” David adds.
You get sparkling wooden surfaces and a fresh aroma around!
Explore: Amazing Cleaning Hacks
Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Extracted by cold pressing orange peels, this essential oil is the perfect natural product to take proper care of your wood furniture, floors, and items. Orange essential oil is completely safe to use on wood, bringing back its luster and sheen. Moreover, when applied on wooden surfaces, orange essential oil serves as a protective layer that prevents dust build-ups. And of course, similar to lemon essential oil, the best part of polishing with orange essential oil is its fresh and clean fragrance, which improves the air quality in your home.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Known for its rich woody scent, cedarwood essential oil is another great ingredient for a homemade zero waste wood cleaner. The oil not only cleans dust away but also repels it. Just like a pro! Cedarwood oil is great for wooden surfaces, because it nourishes, moisturizes, and protects the different types of wood.
Pine Essential Oil
Apart from a refreshing and non-toxic scent, pine essential oil has the ability to make your wooden floor pristine. It’s great for eliminating all household germs, while it still keeps the wood in its best condition.
Lavender Essential Oil
Natural lavender oil makes an excellent eco wood polish. It contains compounds that not only clean and polish wooden surfaces but also add a glazing natural shine. This type of oil works great for scratches, as well, because it’s a strong moisturizer and restores damaged wood. Lavender scent is prominent for its soothing powers. Cleaning your wood furniture and floors with lavender oils sets up a relaxing home environment that prompts calmness and a good mood.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
According to the experts from Revive, tea tree essential oil serves as an effective natural multipurpose cleaner, perfect to use as wood polish, as well. Easy to find in any organic products store, the oil is great to treat all kinds of wooden surfaces and keep them in their best shape. Tea tree oils also have the ability to protect the wood from insects and other pests. Thanks to its disinfecting powers, it’s ideal to clean wood floors, so they are sparkling clean and hygienic.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary comes with numerous benefits to health and unless highly concentrated, won’t harm any wooden surfaces, especially when polished.
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Besides the immense effect to wellbeing, grapefruit essential oils are known to dissolve fats, making it a great solution to clean and polish furnishing.
Tangerine Essential Oil
Another proud member of the citrus family, that’s great to exempt wooden surfaces from dirt and oily layers of accumulated slime.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
There are no records of special properties related to wood, but many prefer the scent over other extracts, which can still fit somebody’s particular preferences on aromas. Still a great choice to shine and polish wood.
Sandalwood Essential Oil
A popular choice on the market. It is said to help balance emotions and stimulate your immune system.
Rose Essential Oil
Rosa damascena has worldwide fame for it’s benefits to our health, but so it does with furnishing. Rose oil is great to polish as it leaves a mesmerizing aroma behind.
Does wonder to both body and woods. As stated before, fennel oil shows astonishing results with totally inhibiting molds.
How to Use Essential Oils to Clean & Polish Wooden Surfaces
What’s the best way to apply essential oils on your wood furniture or floors to make them look new and shiny? A homemade wood cleaning agent, containing essential oils is super easy to prepare. It takes just 2-3 other common household ingredients.
DIY Wooden Surfaces Polish Spray
- 10 drops of essential oil (use one, or blend some of the above-mentioned oils)
- ¼ cup of white vinegar
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 2 cups of warm distilled water
Pour all of the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well, so they mix completely.
- Remove all dust from the wooden furniture and floors.
- Use a microfiber cloth for the furniture.
- Spray the DIY solution on a new microfiber cloth to polish the furniture and other wood items.
- Spray on the floors.
- Clean with a microfiber mop.
Adjust the ratios depending on how much there is to clean and polish in your home.
Caution with Application of Essential Oils on Wood
Essential oils are highly concentrated and potent substances. When properly diluted, they pose no harm to your wooden furniture, floors, or other surface. However, direct application on wood, most often due to an accident, such as oil diffuser leakage, or spilled bottle is hazardous.
- Oil residues;
- Strip away the top layer of wooden surfaces.
That’s why you should store them concealed and out of reach.
How to Restore Damaged Wood Furniture or Floors from Essential Oils?
If the spill is recent:
- Soak it up with paper.
- Rub with mineral spirits.
- Finish with a mild detergent.
For an old oil stain:
- Try baking soda.
- Sprinkle it on the mark.
- Let sit for about 20-30 minutes, so it soaks up the oil.
- Afterward, clear the baking soda.
- Again rub with a gentle wood cleaner.
If necessary, try a furniture scratch repair solution first. These products are made to serve the purpose and are easy to find both in stores and online. But remember, prevention comes first! It’s best to keep neat essential oil away from any wooden surfaces when not in use.
Essential Oils & Wooden Surfaces, Final Thoughts
Amongst all materials and surfaces in a household, wood raises the most concerns in terms of maintenance, hygiene, and care. If you want to keep life eco and nature-friendly, essential oils are an excellent choice to clean and polish wooden surfaces throughout your entire home in a natural and hazard-free manner. As written above, even scientific tests prove that essential oils protect both hardwood and softwood from a range of common fungi. However, the wrong application of the oils might ruin or damage the finish! So, go ahead and give essential oils a try next time you need to polish wood furniture, floors, or other surfaces. Just mind how you use them and remember to be careful! If that’s all met, you will kill germs, polish the wood with essential oils, and scent your house with a fresh and natural fragrance!
very hard to read…
Great information, thanks! Still have a concern/question though: When talking about using essential oils on wood furniture, does that apply to unfinished wood only, or is it safe to use on furniture with a finish to them? i.e. dressers, headboards, etc.
Such great information in this article. I truly believe that lemon oil is the best type of essential oil to use when it comes to prolonging the life of your table or other furniture. I just learned about fennel oil by reading this and will definitely be testing that out in the next upcoming weeks. I’ll follow up and let you know which one I like better (Lemon or Fennel).