A woman sitting on a table

How to Make Homemade Natural Furniture Polish and Get Rid of White Rings

Years 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.

A girl sitting on a table

My first thought was to quickly suggest that Kelly time her purchases for when furniture polish goes on sale, and then to stock up as a good way to save money. Economically, that’s is a good idea but that didn’t seem like the best response to her query.

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 is something all of us should consider—perhaps even more than the high price of quality furniture cleaners, polishes, and protectants.

Read the labels

It was shocking 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 dimethyl siloxanes and silicones, solvents, isobutane, 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 homemade furniture polish recipes for your consideration, plus a bonus for how to get rid of those annoying white rings on furniture, the result of wet glass or hot plate. (.See the recipe card below for the exact recipes and instructions )

Wood Furniture Polish #1

  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • white vinegar

This polish is light, lovely, and super effective. Apply and use as you would any commercial furniture polish product.

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.



Wood Furniture Polish #3

This polish should be applied and allowed to sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the nourishing oils to soak in for greater protection and a brighter shine before removing the excess and buffing to a gorgeous shine!

A woman sitting on a table
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Homemade Natural Furniture Polish

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.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Housekeeping, Make Your Own
Cuisine: Housekeeping
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Blender or Food Processor for Recipe #1 (optional)
  • 12-ounce or larger spray bottle for Recipes #1 and #2
  • empty coffee can for Recipe #3
  • double-boiler for Recipe #3

Ingredients

Wood Furniture Polish #1

  • 1 cup olive oil, see NOTE 1
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Wood Furniture Polish #2

  • cup boiled linseed oil, see NOTE 2
  • cup turpentine
  • cup white vinegar

Wood Furniture Polish #3

  • cup beeswax, see NOTE 3
  • 3 cups Jojoba oil

Instructions

Wood Furniture Polish #1

  • You will have the best results if you use a blender or food processor to get the ingredients to emulsify, in much the same way you would make salad dressing.
  • Pour the lemon juice and vinegar into the blender jar or food processor bowl, then start the machine and pour in the oil very, very slowly until all is combined or "emulsified."
  • Pour into a spray bottle, at least 12-ounce size, or other bottle or jar that has a tightly fitting lid. Apply the container's lid or sprayer top and label clearly
  • TO USE: Add 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.

Wood Furniture Polish #2

  • Pour the boiled linseed oil, turpentine, and white vinegar into a spray bottle that is at least 12-ounce capacity.
  • Apply sprayer top then shake well.
  • TO USE: Apply with a soft cloth and wipe completely dry with a second clean soft cloth. Label clearly and keep out of reach of children!

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!

Notes

1. 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 a clean container like a squeeze or spray bottle. Label the container, refrigerate between uses (olive oil can turn rancid after a long period of time) and always keep out of reach of children.
2. It must be boiled linseed oil; find this at the hardware store, home improvement center or online. DO NOT attempt to boil it yourself.
3. 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 an hour (or it could take even longer 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.

This process may not work on a piece of furniture that has a shellac or varnish finish that is older than 50 years. In this case, you would be well advised to seek the services of a professional refinisher who specializes in antiques.

Up Next:

A Robot Vacuum that Really Works—and It’s Inexpensive!

16 Surprising Ways Car Wax Can Make Your Life Easier

22 Legit Ways You Can Make Money at Home

 


Image and Book

Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day

What if there were one book that could help you do nearly everything in life cheaper, better, and faster? Show you how to remove hairspray baked onto a curling iron. How to make white shoes look like new. How to make gourmet coffee without the gourmet price. How to keep your cat out of your houseplants. And hundreds of other things.

Cheaper, Better, Faster by Mary Hunt is all the best advice you’ve ever heard, collected into one handy volume. Every tip is short, to the point, and helps you make the most of your money and your time, making everyday life less hectic and more enjoyable.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon affiliated sites.

cleaning black leather boot with olive oil
simple human 30 liter round stainless steel trash can
silver flatware forks on linen napkin
A little girl standing in a kitchen
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Caught yourself reading all the way 'til the end? Why not share with a friend.

8 replies
  1. Pat C says:

    When I had my dining room furniture refinished, I asked about what I should use as a polish, The answer was “never use polish’. To clean it, dust regularly and then just wring out a wet cloth until it’s barely damp and wipe the furniture down with that, just the way you’d do with a hardwood floor.

    Reply
  2. Paul McAndrew says:

    I tried your recommended weed killer formula: Vinegar and tsp of dish soap. Effective on a Few weeds BUT I wish you would have attached a use warning because it kills the grass better than the weeds. NOT happy and sooo disappointed Many.

    Reply
  3. Vivian Freppon says:

    5 stars
    The mayonnaise trick works so well….Everyone thinks I’m crazy when I first tell them but then they try it anyway….not so crazy now. I’ve just begun to tell them it’s a hint from “my friend” Mary and they know it will work!

    Thank you for everything over the years!

    Reply
    • Mary says:

      Thanks for your feedback on that, Vivian! You have been a loyal friend for so many years—that means the world to me!

      Reply
  4. rowan says:

    5 stars
    My homemade floor wax, which also works on furniture, is beeswax, linseed oil and (either) turpentine, mineral spirits or ecohouse art solvent (made from orange peels). the solvent helps the the ingredients sink into the wood, the beeswax helps retain the oil in the wood. I did a friend’s floor with this and it looked gorgeous.

    Reply
  5. Priscilla Khirfan says:

    5 stars
    Mary, it was 57 years ago that I came across your #2 polish in the garage of a house I was renting. Fortunately the ingredients were handwritten on the bottle. What was so fantastic about this formula was that when I used it on a set of solid maple bunk beds I’d purchased at a garage sale it removed almost all of the scratches. So this is more than a polish. It can pretty much restore the furniture. I have guarded this formula in with my most important papers.
    I love your columns. Thanks so much for your dedication to helping us.
    Priscilla

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How was it?