Best Ways to Clean Antique Furniture
January 17, 2023

While many antique and older pieces of furniture are some of our favorite things, they still need to be kept clean and in good working order. Dust and dirt can build up on them over time, changing the color and effect of the piece.

Some may notice scratches or other wear that can detract from the piece’s look. Luckily there are some easy methods for keeping any piece clean, shiny, and looking great for many years. Here are the top five tips to help you preserve your antiques:

Dust the Furniture Regularly

Dust settles on all types of furniture over time, so it’s essential to regularly wipe down your antique piece with a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner attachment. This will remove dust without stirring up more dust particles into the air that might damage your antique item further down the road.

You should also vacuum regularly every few months to remove any pet hair that may have collected on top of your piece since the last cleaning day.

Use Gentle Cleaning Products

Do not use any harsh chemicals on your antique furniture. If you want to clean a piece of antique furniture, use natural products instead of commercial cleaners.

Try using lemon juice or vinegar instead of glass cleaner when cleaning glass pieces such as mirrors or light fixtures. These liquids are easy to find and will do just fine without damaging your piece of furniture.

Don’t Wipe Too Hard.

Antique furniture is typically made with high-quality materials such as wood, leather, or fabric. If you wipe too hard using a damp cloth or sponge, you could damage the finish on your antique piece. Instead, use a soft material that won’t scratch the surface of your furniture. You may also want to consider using a microfiber cloth that is softer than regular cotton.

Use a Toothbrush

A toothbrush is handy when you need to get into tight spots, like between the spindles on staircases or the corners of tables. It’s also great for cleaning those hard-to-reach places on furniture legs or anywhere else where dust and dirt tend to collect.

Clean Up Spills Immediately.

If you spill something on your antique furniture, make sure you clean it up right away. If you leave it long, the stain will become more difficult to remove. Using water, a dry cloth, or a paper towel to clean up small spills is best.

If there is a larger spill or anything sticky on your antique furniture, try using rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer as a cleaning agent. The alcohol will break down any oils or grease in the spill while also evaporating quickly so that it doesn’t leave behind residue on your piece of furniture.


Antique furniture is one of the more challenging pieces to clean in your home, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. With the tips shared above, you should be ready to go. Just remember to work with different products on different surfaces and follow up with an application of wax or polish as needed. And whenever possible, ensure you clean antique furniture by hand—it will save you time and money in the long run.