How To Clean Mahogany, Oak And Black Cherry Antique Furniture

Posted on: 10 March 2015

Antique wood furniture can last for hundreds of years, if it has the proper care. Various species of wood furniture require different cleaning methods, so it's important you use the right kind of cleaner for your antique pieces. Below you'll learn the best way to clean mahogany, oak and black cherry antique wood furniture so it will last for many more years.


Antique furniture made from mahogany will have a deep red hue and a rough texture. Mahogany wood won't rot and it's resistant to termites, so it's not uncommon for many pieces of antique mahogany furniture to still be in existence today.

To keep your mahogany furniture looking its best, clean off the dust with a soft flannel cloth once a week and use beeswax to polish it twice a year. Using this type of polish will protect the wood from dirt buildup and water stains. It also keeps the wood from looking dull by adding a luster.

  1. Wipe the surface of your antique mahogany furniture with a damp cleaning cloth.
  2. With a clean cotton cloth, apply beeswax paste to the wood and rub it in along the grain using medium pressure.
  3. After polishing your furniture, let it dry for two hours or until the beeswax evaporates.

If you notice any scratches in the wood, use a small paintbrush to blend iodine into the scratch until it disappears.


The wood from the mighty oak tree is a heavy, strong wood so it's not unusual for it to last several decades and hold up to frequent use. This wood has a warm golden hue and an open grain. If you've acquired a piece of antique oak furniture, learn how you can make it last one hundred more years.

  1. Before cleaning your oak furniture, use a dusting cloth or a feather duster to remove any dust.
  2. Measure two tablespoons of gum turpentine, four tablespoons of linseed oil and mix these ingredients with one gallon of very warm water. The turpentine will cut through the grime while the linseed oil will make the wood shine.
  3. Dampen a cloth with the cleaning solution and rub the surface of the furniture until it's clean. Apply pressure to your cloth as you're cleaning to remove any waxy buildup on the wood.

If you have any mixture left over, store it in a plastic container for later use.

Black Cherry

A tree that's grown in the Eastern region of the United States, black cherry has a medium hard texture with a closed grain. The color of this wood can be light brown to reddish brown and since it's resistant to warping, it's always been a popular wood for furniture construction.

  1. Mix ¼ cup of oil soap to one gallon of water to use as a cleaner for your antique cherry furniture.
  2. Pour a small of amount of cleaner on a cloth and rub the cleaner on the wood in a circular motion along the grain of the wood.
  3. Use a dry cloth to wipe off the cleaning solution residue. Avoid spilling or pouring the mixture directly on the surface, as this will cause the wood to warp and swell.
  4. Allow the table to dry completely for at least 30 minutes before placing anything on the surface.

If your black cherry furniture has scratches, use equal parts of iodine and denatured alcohol to cover these imperfections. Dip the end of a cotton swab in the mixture and carefully dab each scratch. Don't get heavy-handed when covering the scratches or the mixture will be too dark for the wood.

Using the right cleaning ingredients will preserve the wood of your antique furniture. You can find all of the above ingredients at a home improvement store. Now that you've learned how to properly clean various types of antique furniture, visit area estate sales and antique dealers to find more pieces of furniture from the past.

Check out sites like for more information on antique furniture.


A Grownup Chair

When I was a little girl, my grandparents surprised me with a small wooden rocking chair. This adorable petite chair was painted pristine white. At night, I would sit in my rocking chair and read picture filled books while the adults in the family sat in their own comfortable chairs. Having a piece of furniture that perfectly accommodated my small short body made me feel like an adult. If your child struggles to climb onto the adult furniture in your home, consider purchasing him or her a child size chair. You might be amazed at how much your little one would cherish his or her own piece of furniture. On this blog, you will learn how to shop for the perfect chair for your child.