Make-It-Yourself Furniture Polish Cheaper, Better, Healthier

Not long ago I got a request from EC reader Kelly for a make-it-yourself 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. I recently purchased a can of Pledge aerosol polish (reg. $5.49) for $1.50. I was harboring a $1 coupon and when Pledge went on sale for 2/$7, I used my coupon (my store doubles), 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, that may be something all of us should consider and perhaps even more than the high cost. I was amazed to see what goes into a can of spray furniture polish. Many contain synthetic ingredients like silicone, solvents, petroleum distillates and artificial fragrances to mask the chemical smells.

All of us can establish healthier homes and at the same time save a lot of money by replacing chemical furniture polish with this homemade formula:

  • 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 the same way you would make salad dressing.

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.

You may prefer to use Jojoba oil instead of olive oil, if you can find it (look in a health food store or online). Jojoba is a natural liquid wax that has no scent and will not become rancid.

Do not make large batches of this 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  clean container like a squeeze or spray bottle. Label the container and keep out of reach of children.

It is always a good idea to test anything new in an inconspicuous place first. Then give yourself a little time to get used to this new kind of furniture polish. If you’ve been using the aerosol type commercial furniture polishes, you may find this method a bit more tedious. But give it a chance. Try it for a month. I did. I am confident that the cost savings together with breathable air as you clean will convince you to make the change permanent.




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  • laurie bowen

    Never use food grade oil for polish it will turn rancid and vinegar is an acid and could dull your floors finish like it did my Bruce wood floors. I do love your columns though I thought my experience was worth noting.

  • Margaret

    Not related to topic but can’t figure out how to communicate… Need to know if you have any recommendations for meat thermometers? Also how to search your archives? Have tried to figure it out but never come up with anything. Thanks

  • Emily Booth

    I love Murphys oil soap. I dilute a capful in water & use it to wipe down all painted and wood surfaces. I also use it on my hardwood floors. I use it for spring/fall cleaning. Once a year or so, I use a wood oil on wood laminated and hardwood furniture.

  • PNW Jenn

    I resized the recipe to make a smaller batch because 1.5 of polish is a LOT for many people, especially when olive oil can be very pricey..

    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    1 Tablespoons lemon juice
    0.25 Teaspoons vinegar

  • Fonda Auldridge

    olive oil and vinegar did not work for me and scratches. i have seen this before