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make it green

How to clean wooden furniture with ecological products: everything you need to know

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There’s nothing quite like the charm of handcrafted furniture, is there? That said, it’s important to bear in mind that wood is a natural material, which means that it needs certain care in order to keep it in the best condition for a longer number of years. There’s no need to worry! Looking after wooden furniture is much easier (and cheaper) than you might think.

Wood is our star material at Hannun, and our team of craftsmen and women use it to create almost all of our furniture and decorative pieces. Some pieces of furniture, like dining tables, are more vulnerable to scratches, dents, or oil splash marks. Do you know how to clean your tables, chairs, or other wooden furniture without using contaminating products that damage the environment?

We’ll tell you which ecological cleaning products you can use to restore your furniture’s shine and get rid of those difficult stains without affecting your health or harming the planet

Cleaning without chemical products

The most important tip for keeping your wood in tip-top condition is to avoid cleaning it with abrasive products such as bleaches, solvents and ammonia-based products. These products are not only contaminating but can also erode wood and destroy its protective varnish. Furthermore, breathing in these products can be harmful to our health: causing skin damage, irritating the respiratory tract, causing dizziness, and even irritating the eyes.

On top of all this, all of these products are highly toxic and contaminating, as they are made of chemical substances. Not to mention the harm these products can cause if they are left in reach of children.

Unvarnished wooden furniture

We love the aesthetics that wooden furniture brings to any space in its most organic and natural state. Nevertheless, looking after these pieces is more difficult considering that they tend to dry out as time passes and, in some cases, acquire a grey-coloured patina that’s visible on the surface. To avoid this, it’s important to periodically treat your furniture with products that nourish and hydrate the wood.

Weekly cleaning of this furniture needn’t be a stressful experience: wiping it with a damp cloth is more than enough.

Varnished wooden furniture

Cleaning your varnished furniture is even easier, as you can be sure that the wood won’t dry out. This means that dusting it with a dry cloth every few days is more than enough to keep it clean. It’s a good idea to give it a more thorough clean every two or three months by using the ecological products that we suggest below.

Homemade products to look after your wooden furniture

One of the biggest advantages of natural cleaning products is being able to make them at home while spending next to nothing. Have a good look through the products in your kitchen cupboards or larder and you’ll be surprised to find that some of them are really handy for thoroughly cleaning your wooden furniture in the most environmentally friendly way possible: white vinegar, olive or coconut oil, neutral soap, lemon, sodium bicarbonate.

TOP TIP: always use soft microfibre clothes and apply your cleaning product of choice directly to the cloth itself instead of applying liquids directly to the wood

White vinegar

White vinegar has been one of the most commonly used natural liquids when it comes to cleaning furniture for centuries. Thanks to its acidity, vinegar immediately removes stains without damaging surfaces. The best way to use it is by mixing white vinegar with a drop of olive oil to aid in restoring your wood’s natural shine.

REMEMBER! It’s important to avoid confusing white vinegar with white wine vinegar. At the supermarket, white vinegar tends to be stocked in the aisle dedicated to cleaning products, rather than the section stocking vinegar intended for cooking.

Sodium bicarbonate

Although sodium bicarbonate (sometimes called bicarbonate of soda) is more frequently used for cleaning tiles or metallic objects, it is also highly useful in removing fat and grease stains from our wooden dining tables. It also removes bad smells and grime.

All you have to do is sprinkle a little sodium bicarbonate directly on the stain and scrub it with a damp sponge. Don’t forget to clean the wood well after doing this and to dry it off with a cloth.

Neutral soap

Neutral soap is an ideal product for thoroughly cleaning your outdoor wooden furniture, which tends to be coated with varnish. This natural product gets rid of stains on your furniture without damaging the layer of varnish, wax, or protective oil coating you may have applied.

Remember to choose neutral soaps made from vegetable oils as an alternative to those soaps made using animal fats.

Homemade ecological soap

Have you tried making your own homemade soap? All you need to do is filter any cooking oil you’ve used for frying food and mix it with water and caustic soda. This type of soap doesn’t contain toxic ingredients and works in a similar way to neutral soap when it comes to removing fat or grease stains from your wooden furniture.

Be very careful when making your own soap, as the mixing process can cause burns until the caustic soda you’re using has completely neutralised. It’s absolutely essential that you use protective goggles or glasses, a face mask, protect your hands and arms, and that you work in a ventilated space with the windows open or on your terrace

Lemon juice

Lemon is one of the oldest natural cleaning products known to mankind. This citrus fruit contains antiseptic and antibacterial products, which means your wood will benefit from an extra dose of nutrition, as well as restoring its shine and boosting its protection from pests like termites and beetles. All you need to do is squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water and rub the mixture into your furniture using a damp cloth.

Olive, coconut or linseed oil

Using oil (whether it’s olive, coconut or linseed) is the perfect natural remedy for cleaning unvarnished wooden furniture. Your furniture will enjoy a more enhanced shine that’ll last for months on end. All you need to do is lightly dampen a cloth with any one of these oils and gently apply it to your furniture.

Should I use wax to polish my wooden furniture?

Wax is a highly efficient solution when it comes to keeping your unvarnished wooden furniture in optimal condition, as it is a product that nourishes, polishes, shines and waterproofs surfaces at the same time. It ticks all the boxes! Wax provides a great alternative to products like enamel, which tend to contain more toxins in comparison.

Protective waxes can be sourced from vegetable or animal (generally bees) origin. As you can probably guess, at Hannun we recommend that you always use vegan waxes. Fortunately, you’ll find a wide range of vegetable oil-based waxes on the market

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