How To Clean a Wood Kitchen Table Naturally

A simple cleaning method to clean your wood kitchen table using only natural products.

Wood table cleaner

How do you clean a wood kitchen table?

There are only a few steps to effectively clean your wood kitchen table, and you don’t need any fancy gadgets or toxic chemicals to do it right! Taking care of your wood dining table the right way will help it to last for generations.

I asked friends and family about their biggest issues with cleaning wood furniture, and here are the most common responses:

  • Current cleaners either leave a residue or strip the shine
  • Stuff gets stuck in the crevices

I sought to address these common wood table problems in a natural way, using only natural ingredients I already had on hand!

spraying wood cleaner

The following simple steps apply to tables with all different wood finishes. Whether you have a solid wood dining table, reclaimed wood table, or pressed wood table, using this natural method shouldn’t harm any type of finish.

I also have an excellent All Purpose Cleaner recipe if you plan to clean your counters next!

Steps to clean a wood kitchen table naturally

1) Initial wipe down. With two toddlers, my table gets so bad that I decided to wipe down the surface grime briefly before beginning the whole process.

2) Clean crevices with a dry brush (old toothbrush or cleaning scrub brush). I’ll be honest. My table cracks haven’t been cleaned in quite a long time (photo evidence is a bit scary).

3) Scrape any sticky residue using a dish scraper.

4) Vacuum if necessary. I pulled so much out of the crevices that I decided to vacuum up the crumbs instead of wiping them right back into the cracks.

5) Spray the table with your wood cleaner.

6) Wipe with a clean lint-free cloth in a circular motion.

7) Optional: Fill in the scratches using the method recommended below.

whole kitchen table

Why I don’t use vinegar to clean my wooden furniture

While researching this post, every single DIY I found contained vinegar. I was so confused! Everything I know about vinegar screams, “Don’t use vinegar on wood!.” So what gives?

Vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent. I use it in my own All Purpose Cleaner. However, vinegar is very strong and abrasive. In my opinion, you should never use vinegar on porous surfaces, including wood and natural stone. Vinegar will likely dull the shine on your wood table with time, and that is what we are currently trying to fix!

This Consumer Reports article backs my claim! Don’t use vinegar on wood (especially on a daily basis!).

All-Natural Wood Cleaner Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 TBSP Castile Soap

Other supplies: Reusable spray bottle and a dry microfiber cloth or cotton cloth.

I don’t recommend using paper towels because they are both wasteful and ineffective, leaving dust particles behind.

castile soap

All-Natural Wood Cleaner Directions

1) Put your filtered clean water in a measuring cup.

2) Add in olive oil and castile soap

3) Stir vigorously

4) Using a funnel, pour into a reusable spray bottle

spraying cleaner

Can I use this natural wood cleaner on a daily basis?

Yes! There are no abrasive cleaners in this DIY cleaner, so it shouldn’t dull your shine over time.

How to hide scratches on a wood kitchen table

From light scratches to the huge gauge mark, my table has seen it all. We are a military family, so this table has quite literally traveled the world. I wanted to do this whole task with items I already had on hand, but you could certainly purchase a set of furniture repair markers to fill in your cracks. Before moving forward, try your crayon or marker in a small spot in an inconspicuous area first to make sure you are not about to ruin the look of your table.

In these attempts to dull the appearance of the scratches on my wooden dining table, I grabbed my kid’s art supplies (Yes, really!).

Attempt 1: Using Brown Crayon to Fix Scratch on Wood

First, I used brown crayons. I figured the wax would also help seal the raw wood. It turns out, you have to go darker than your table for the crayon to show. If you dry this, use a damp cloth to remove any wax from the areas surrounding the cracks.

coloring in wood scratch with brown crayon

Attempt 2: Using Black Crayon to Fix Scratch on Wood

Since I knew I needed to go darker, I went all in. I used a black crayon. It basically made the gauge look like a burn mark. I do not recommend using black unless you have an extremely dark table.

coloring in wood scratch with black crayon

Attempt 3: Using Marker to Fix Scratch on Wood

After scraping away all the black crayon, I went for marker! The marker soaked into the wood like a stain and covered the scratch much more than the crayons. I think it did the trick! After I finished, I cleaned up the area with my cleaning solution and it is not much less noticeable.

coloring in wood scratch with marker

What store-bought non-toxic cleaner can you use to clean a wood table?

If you are not the DIY type, you may choose to purchase a furniture polish or other cleaning product instead.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read privacy policy and disclosure statement for more information.

My top recommendation from Amazon is the ECOS Furniture and Polish Cleaner. I have used this product for years and love it.

Other Questions about Wood Table Care

How to remove Sharpie from a wood table

Try coloring over the area with a dry-erase marker, then promptly wipe with your DIY wood cleaner. If you don’t have a dry-erase marker on hand, color back over the dried Sharpie with more Sharpie, and wipe away before it dries.

How to clean the crevices in a wood dining table

For the dry crumbs, I recommend using a soft brush such as an old toothbrush or a small cleaning brush meant for grout.

oxo brush cleaning a crack

For sticky spots in the cracks, use a scraper (mine is meant to scrape dishes), or a cotton swab soaked in your DIY wood cleaner.

How to naturally remove water rings from a wood kitchen table

If you cannot remove the ring marks with your olive oil solution, try ironing! Put a towel over the water mark and iron briefly. The ring should come out. Beware, this could dull the surface shine of your wooden table, so always try a small area first!

Pin It for Later!

wood cleaner

Looking for other non-toxic cleaners? Check out my post on how to make natural all purpose cleaner, a surface scrub, and toilet bowl cleaner!

About the Author:

I’m Brittany, totally modern and mainstream turned crunchy mama!

Read more here about how I went from a totally incompetent cook and hyper-consumer to striving to live a more meaningful life from scratch.

I can’t wait to share my modern homesteading journey with you and I hope I inspire you to join along!

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  1. This is a very cool idea! I use vinegar as my all purpose cleaner too, I never thought about it dulling the finish (of course, my table isn’t very nice and has loads of paint from various projects on it!) I’ll have to give your cleaner a try!

    1. Well I decided to test it out for you! I don’t have a butcher block countertop but I do have a butcher block cutting board and I just used it and it worked well! Especially since it should be food safe. You might just want to use. A little less Castile soap so it doesn’t leave any soapy residue.

  2. I have some scratches on my wood dining table that I’ve left alone for far too long. Today is the day I’m going to get the kids markers out and get it taken care of! Great post!!

  3. This is so, so helpful! My husband is starting to get into wood working, so these tips will really come in handy. I especially love the simple wood cleaning spray recipe.

  4. We are currently looking for a nice new dining table and I want a natural wood one. Saved your post to treat my table right once I have it. Thanks for the tips!

  5. This is perfect! I hate all those toxic cleaners, so I am always happy to find non-toxic ones! Thanks for sharing, will definitely try this.

  6. I’m going to have to give this a try ASAP. I bought the method brand daily wood cleaner and I hate it. Thanks for doing all this research!

  7. My wife and I are wanting to purchase a new wooden table for our dining room with a bonus that I recently received. I like how you mentioned that it is best to use a microfiber towel when cleaning a wooden table. It seems like it would be a good idea to have a microfiber cloth that is dedicated to only cleaning your table so that it doesn’t have small dirt or rock particles that can create scratches.

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