How to Clean Dirty, Grungy Old Wood Furniture In a Few Easy Steps

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I receive so many messages about cleaning the furniture. Today, I would like to share with you how I clean my furniture before I start any repurpose job. ? Since I repurpose old pieces, most of my pieces are very dirty. I think that’s probably why some people pass them up. But if you don’t mind a little elbow grease, you can transform that dirty piece into a gorgeous piece of furniture! (This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. Thank you for your support!)

The Cleaning Process

There are a few steps you can take to make sure you clean your furniture that is very dirty. Remove all drawers, doors, and hardware. Lay the piece on it’s back (with help if it’s heavy). It’s easier to vacuum and clean if it’s laid on its back. Take a shop vac like this one, and give it a very good vacuuming, getting in all the nooks and crannies. If the vacuum hose will not reach into the small areas, switch over to your blower function. This is great at removing dust and grime and cobwebs! And BEWARE! Little critters like spiders may surface!

Clean Inside Piece

After vacuuming, spray the bottom and inside with cleaner. I use a vinegar and water solution. I also use a car brush to clean my pieces, which you can get HERE. Give it a good scrubbing. After cleaning the bottom, give the inside a good scrubbing as well. I think a lot of us don’t realize how dirty the inside of a piece of furniture can really get. Wherever you applied the vinegar and water, take a damp cloth and wipe to remove the cleaning solution.

Scrub the bottom of the piece
Scrubbing Bottom

Make sure to spray and clean the feet or casters as well. If there are old casters, I remove them and clean around the holes because they can have cobwebs and dirt inside them. You can also place them in a mixture of vinegar, Dawn and warm water to clean, allowing them to soak for an hour or two.

Clean Casters
Clean Casters

Prime if Necessary

After cleaning, I always prime the inside of my piece if it is antique or has some age. I use the Rust-Oleum tinted primer in gray (you can get here) and give it a light coat. It just gives the overall piece a clean, new feel.

Primer Inside

You can see how the Hubs and I transformed this piece by clicking HERE. You will NOT believe the end result! It was one of our popular makeovers!

Now you are ready to transform your piece! Happy Repurposing! If you have any questions please use the “Contact” button and email me! I will be happy to help.

Also remember, try not to see the piece as it sits. In other words, do not pass over the dirty, yucky pieces of furniture. See their potential!


“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it will be.”

2 thoughts on “How to Clean Dirty, Grungy Old Wood Furniture In a Few Easy Steps”

  1. You are so smart & creative! I have my husbands family dinning table and hutch, the table has a laminated table top that over the years is starting to come up. The wet towel method of removing the laminate explains how this happened. Wood below does not seem to be affected. I’ll send pic once I tackle this project. Thanks for your explications on various methods.

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