Just like many other materials and surfaces in our home, you should make an effort to disinfect your wooden furniture frequently. But you may be asking yourself, how to disinfect wood furniture given its various finishes and porous nature- thankfully, we’re here to help.
In this article, we will address the various ways in which you can efficiently and easily disinfect your wood furniture, as well as some things you should consider before jumping in. It is important to know that some ingredients and chemicals may potentially damage your wooden furniture, so take your time and read this full article before getting started. Let’s dive in!
Does Disinfecting Wood Furniture Cause Damage to the Finish?
It is possible to damage the finish on your wooden furniture through disinfecting. While it depends on the precise finish, some disinfectant products are extremely potent, and can remove finishes on wood as well as damage it.
It is also important to know whether or not your wooden furniture has a finish on it at all. If you try to disinfect unfinished wood furniture, you run the risk of discoloring it permanently or otherwise damaging it as well. However, if you take the proper steps to protect your wooden furniture and disinfect it safely, you should have no trouble!
Given that unfinished wood furniture is extremely porous, you should always take special precautions when disinfecting or otherwise cleaning it. The last thing you want to do is harm your wooden furniture when all you wanted to do is eliminate germs in the first place.
How to Disinfect Wood Furniture?
Curious to know about some of the best ways for disinfecting wood furniture? Let’s take a look at some of our expertly curated solutions now!
1. Water, White Vinegar, and Dish Soap Solution
Sometimes, the simplest ingredients are the most effective, and you can make an extremely efficient disinfectant using water, white vinegar, and dish soap. It is important to get to the exact measurements correct on this particular blend, so let’s talk more about this in detail now.
You should combine 1 cup of water with ½ cup of white vinegar. Then, add 2-3 drops of dish soap- any brand or style will do, as you only need the dish soap for particularly dirty or greasy areas of your wooden furniture. Place all ingredients into a spray bottle and use this solution on any wooden furniture you have.
Spray this solution on whatever wooden furniture you would like to disinfect, including on treated wood. Use a damp and clean cloth to wipe the solution off of the wood, as the dish soap and vinegar can get tacky if left on the surface. Finally, wipe your wooden furniture down with a dry cloth so that no moisture remains on the wood itself, especially if the wood is untreated or unstained.
While this solution may seem incredibly simple, it is ideal for disinfecting a wide variety of wooden furniture pieces. It is easy to use and affordable, and the white vinegar is a perfect disinfectant for many different applications. However, make sure that you do not allow the white vinegar to dry onto your wooden surfaces, as it tends to dry wood out easily.
2. Use Pine-Sol with Water
Did you know that Pine-Sol is a natural disinfectant for wood? This product has been a fantastic staple in many homes for quite some time, and you can use it on any number of wooden surfaces, either sealed or unsealed. The most important thing for you to consider is that Pine-Sol must be diluted; otherwise, it will leave an unattractive tacky finish on any wood surface that you put it on. However, when used properly, Pine-Sol can leave your wood furniture clean and shiny, as well as disinfected!
Pine-Sol recommends diluting 1/4 cup of their disinfectant product with a gallon of water. While this measurement may seem like a lot if you are just hoping to disinfect a single wooden chair, you can always decrease the measurements to suit your home. Just make sure that you keep the level of Pine-Sol to water well, as it is an extremely effective cleaning product!
3. Disinfecting Wipes
Sometimes something as simple as a disinfecting wipe is enough to disinfect wood furniture. You can use common disinfecting wipes such as Lysol, Clorox, Seventh Generation, and other brands designed to kill germs and disinfect multiple surfaces.
However, it is important to note that you should never use disinfecting wipes on untreated wood. The chemicals involved are notorious for leaving streaks and other discoloration in untreated wood, and these marks are often very difficult to remove, if not permanent. Only use disinfecting wipes on wood furniture that has been properly sealed, and I also recommend using them with caution either way.
4. Disinfecting Sprays
Similarly to disinfecting wipes, you can always use disinfecting sprays on your wood furniture. Spray the solution on whatever surface you would like to disinfect, and be sure to wipe clean with a dry cloth so that the disinfecting spray does not set into the wood.
Just like disinfecting wipes, you should never use disinfecting sprays on untreated wood. The powerful chemicals involved can be too much for untreated wood, and you run the risk of permanently damaging your furniture in the process.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide and Water Solution
Another common household product that you can use to disinfect your wood furniture is hydrogen peroxide mixed with water. This product is commonly used to whiten and disinfect teeth, but it can also be used in a household setting as well. The most important thing to consider is that your solution is adequately mixed and measured.
Make sure that you get hydrogen peroxide that is 3% or less, and mix a tablespoon of it with a cup of water. You can use a spray bottle or a rag, and wipe the solution onto your wooden furniture. It is important to get the measurements right with this, as hydrogen peroxide can potentially bleach or lighten any dark wood that you put it on.
Using Bleach to Disinfect Wood Furniture
While bleach may seem like an obvious disinfectant for wood furniture, I encourage you to pause before using it. Bleach is a very volatile chemical in terms of what it can do to a variety of materials, including wood and fabrics. I recommend avoiding the use of bleach to disinfect your wood furniture.
Similarly to hydrogen peroxide, bleach has the potential of lightening and permanently staining your wood furniture, especially your dark wood furniture. Even if you mix a solution that is particularly mild in terms of the amount of bleach that you use, you run the risk of damaging your wood furniture, especially if it is untreated.
When Should You Disinfect Wood Furniture?
Are you curious when and how often you should be disinfecting your wood furniture? Here are some suggestions for when you should perform this routine maintenance.
- Regularly in Your Home
Depending on how active your home is and how much traffic you have, you should consider regularly disinfecting your wood furniture one to five times per month. While it depends on how many people are around, as well as how dirty the furniture gets, there’s nothing wrong with disinfecting frequently so long as you are using a wood-safe solution.
- When Buying it Second Hand
Now more than ever before, it is important to always disinfect your second-hand wood furniture. You may not have considered this before, but take the time to disinfect anything that enters your home from the home of someone else. You never know what sorts of germs may be lurking in secondhand furniture!
- Visiting Hotels and Traveling
If you travel frequently, you have no doubt experienced hotels in a variety of states and levels of cleanliness. While bringing around a spray bottle of disinfectant solution may not seem like a reasonable request, you can easily package disinfecting wipes with you on your travels. Be sure to only clean the furniture with a reasonable amount of disinfectant so that you don’t damage any pieces that aren’t yours!
What’s the Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting Wood Furniture?
Cleaning and disinfecting wood furniture is inherently different. Disinfecting specifically refers to killing germs and bacteria that could be present on your wood furniture, while cleaning involves removing dust, dirt, and any other grime that may be present. This is why it is important to look at cleaning products with disinfectant in mind versus simply cleaning. There are plenty of products that clean but don’t disinfect, so keep this in mind when shopping.
Still have questions regarding ways to disinfect wood furniture? Here are some frequently asked questions that other homeowners have.
Does Polishing Furniture Count as Disinfecting it?
No, polishing furniture does not count as disinfecting it. Most wood furniture polish is designed to protect and seal your wood furniture, but it does not include any ingredients that kill germs or bacteria. You may want to disinfect your wood furniture before polishing it so that it is disinfected as well as protected against scratches and other forms of wear.
However, it is interesting to note that Pine -Sol does have the ability to disinfect as well as add some shine to your wood furniture. You may be able to accomplish both goals using our Pine-Sol solution, but it is likely that any other type of furniture polish will not disinfect as efficiently as Pine-Sol will.
Can You Disinfect Wood With Rubbing Alcohol?
It is not recommended that you disinfect wood with rubbing alcohol. This is because rubbing alcohol is capable of cutting through or damaging whatever existing stain or finish is present on your wood furniture. While rubbing alcohol is ideal for disinfecting many different things, it is not recommended for any stained or sealed wooden furniture.
Not only can rubbing alcohol potentially damage or stain your wood furniture, it also drives things out easily. This is especially true for unsealed or untreated wood furniture. While it is unlikely that you will cause enough damage to frequently dry out your wood furniture with rubbing alcohol, it is another possibility. I recommend using another solution on this list over rubbing alcohol!
Can You Disinfect Wood With Apple Cider Vinegar?
Yes, you can disinfect wood furniture with apple cider vinegar. Similarly to white vinegar, you will want to dilute apple cider vinegar in warm water solution, as vinegar on its own can have adverse effects on wood and wood sealant. However, vinegar is not as effective as other disinfectants on this list, so consider something else before resorting to apple cider vinegar.
You should plan on diluting a half cup of apple cider vinegar into a single cup of warm water, and you can always add a drop or two of dish soap to further promote cleanliness. Just like cleaning with white vinegar, you should take the time to apply the solution with a damp cloth and then wipe down the entirety of the wooden surface with a dry cloth to prevent any moisture build-up.
Does Refinishing Furniture Disinfect it?
Refinishing furniture can be a way of disinfecting it, but it is recommended that you disinfect furniture before refinishing it in the first place. This is because you are exposed to whatever germs and bacteria are present while you work on refinishing the furniture. However, sanding down and resealing or refinishing your wood furniture will indeed reset whatever potential germs are present.
No matter what you decide, any of these five solutions in this article can help you disinfect your wood furniture with ease. Keep in mind whether or not your wood furniture is properly sealed or stained before choosing a solution, but there is definitely something here to help you disinfect your wood furniture, month after month!
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.