Some time ago, I got a request from EC reader Kelly for a homemade furniture polish recipe. She said that she uses a lot of it and it’s getting so expensive.
My first thought was, of course, to suggest she time her purchases for when furniture polish goes on sale, and then to stock up. That was fresh on my mind as I’d recently purchased a can of Pledge aerosol polish (reg. $5.49) for $1.50. What a deal! Here’s how I did that:
I’d been harboring a $1 coupon and when Pledge went on sale for 2/$7, I used my coupon (back then my store doubled), bought one can and enjoyed a great bargain.
Kelly didn’t mention environmental issues in her desire to make her own furniture polish, but after doing some research on the matter, I became convinced that may be something all of us should consider—perhaps even more than the high price of quality furniture cleaners, polishes, and protectants.
Read the labels
I was quite shocked to see what goes into a can of commercial spray furniture polish (not sure what I was expecting, but what I found was not it!)
Many contain synthetic ingredients like silicone, solvents, petroleum distillates, and artificial fragrances to mask the chemical smells.
Since then, I’ve learned so much and mostly this: We can establish healthier homes and at the same time save a lot of money by replacing chemical- and fragrance-laden furniture polish with homemade natural formulas.
Here are my top three for your consideration:
Wood Furniture Polish #1
- 1 cup olive oil*
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
Mix until blended well. You can do this in a blender or food processor to get the ingredients to emulsify, in much the same way you would make salad dressing. Mix the lemon juice and vinegar, then start the machine and pour in the oil very, very slowly until all is combined or “emulsified.”
To use, simply apply a small amount of the mixture with a soft cloth and buff to a shine. Use sparingly! A little of this mixture will go a long way. It is best to start with a small amount on your cloth, adding more as necessary. If you leave too much oil on furniture it will act as a magnet to attract the dust you’re trying to avoid.
Do not make large batches of furniture polish, because unlike the canned stuff, these natural ingredients will lose their effectiveness over time. It is best to make up a small batch in the amount you will need at the time, or no more than you will use in a month. Store in a clean container like a squeeze or spray bottle. Label the container and always keep out of reach of children.
Wood Furniture Polish #2
This homemade furniture polish is better for your wood furniture than anything you buy at the store. It polishes, cleans and protects like no commercial product can. In a sturdy container with a tight-fitting lid combine:
Shake well. Apply with a soft cloth and wipe completely dry with a second clean soft cloth. Label clearly and keep out of reach of children!
**It must be boiled linseed oil; you buy this at the hardware store or online—do not attempt to boil it yourself.
Wood Furniture Polish #3
Place the beeswax and oil in a double boiler over medium heat. Warm and stir until the beeswax has completely melted and incorporated into the oil. Stir in the optional essential oil if you wish to add a lovely fragrance (the only reason for essential oil in this recipe).
Carefully pour the liquid into a jar or other container that has a tight-fitting lid. Allow cooling for about 2 hours, at which time this polish will reach a semi-hard, creamy consistency.
To use: Scoop a small amount onto a clean rag and rub it into the wood surface, always in the direction of the grain. Wipe away the excess immediately and buff well with a dry clean cloth. Or allow to remain for a few hours to let the nourishing oils soak in for greater protection and a brighter shine before removing the excess and buffing to a gorgeous shine!
NOTE: Beeswax is difficult to clean out of a container, so using a disposable container like a coffee can set over a pan of boiling water (creating a double-boiler) is a great idea. Then keep that can to melt beeswax in the future. If you use one of your regular cooking pots for this, you’re not going to like me in the morning!
Get Rid of White Rings
Before polishing wood furniture, check the wood for watermarks that look like white rings from where a wet glass or hot plate was previously placed on the surface. One way to remove that is with a little mayonnaise! Place a dot of the real stuff—full fat, no diet or lite version here—on the problem and then gently rub it into the stain.
Let the mayo remain on the mark for at least 15 minutes (or it could take hours to penetrate properly) then wipe it away. Remarkably, the mayonnaise should pull the moisture out of the wood’s surface, which is causing the white markings. When the white rings are gone, proceed to polish the surface with your choice of polishes.
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