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Alternative Furniture Polish

Alternative Furniture Polish

We all know the smell—lemon with a touch of engine oil—that we identify as furniture polish. What we may not identify with the smell is the irritability, depression, and other bad moods that can be the response to its use.

How many people polish their furniture before a dinner party, only to wonder why they are so cranky before the guests arrive? Even worse, the smell of furniture polish can linger on furniture for weeks and months after use, causing a low level of air pollution that puts a strain on the central nervous systems of everyone living there. The petroleum distillates and solvents in commercial furniture polish are highly neurotoxic.

Replacing commercial furniture polish with a homemade formula is at the top of the list of priorities for establishing a healthier home, along with oven cleaner and pesticides.

Homemade Furniture Polish
Most of the old folk formulas for furniture polish ask for 1/4 cup of oil or so, plus a few drops of vinegar. I feel those folk formulas leave the furniture too oily, and in hot weather there is a risk of the oil going rancid.

Instead, I’ve found that reversing those ratios —using 1/4 cup vinegar plus a few drops of oil—makes for a much better wood cleaner and polish. The vinegar pulls the dirt out of the wood, and the few drops of oil lubricates the wood so that it doesn’t dry out.

The best oils to use are those that have the longest shelf life. Olive oil works well. The best choice of all is the liquid wax jojoba, because it never goes rancid. It is found in most health food stores. Boiled linseed oils found in hardware stores have synthetic drying chemicals in them and shouldn’t be used. I do love the smell of linseed oil in a furniture polish—it is rich and nutty—but I only use that which is food grade.

You can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar. Organic apple cider vinegar is the best choice of vinegar, although I don’t usually recommend this for general cleaning because of the possibility of staining. If you are cleaning something that could possibly stain, use white distilled vinegar.

Homemade Furniture Polish Cloth
Dip a soft recycled cloth, such as one of flannel, in the vinegar and oil mixture, and wipe furniture.

Lemon Oil Duster
Most commercial lemon oil is not all natural, but may contain petroleum distillates. Contact herbalists for pure sources of lemon oil. Traditionally, lemon oil has been used for furniture because it is so lubricating and antiseptic.

10 drops lemon oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
A few drops olive oil or jojoba

Dip a soft recycled cloth, such as one of flannel, in the lemon oil mixture, and wipe furniture.

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Read more: Home, Non-Toxic Cleaning

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Better Basics for the Home

Simple solutions -- almost 1,000 formulas -- for less toxic living, by Annie Berthold-Bond,'s green living channels now


+ add your own
9:16AM PDT on May 3, 2015


11:55AM PDT on May 1, 2015

Thats amazing

2:57AM PDT on Mar 12, 2015

that's amazing

10:28PM PST on Feb 4, 2015

Hey when I saw such great website, I decided to watch out its all posts, its every post is quite wonderful.
oak furniture company

12:03AM PST on Dec 20, 2014

I am confident you've got a great enthusiast following there. furniture

5:42AM PDT on Aug 23, 2014

Love our home and environment

12:49AM PDT on Apr 10, 2014

Such a great blog about the information to make your furniture shiny again . I will sure apply these tips to my garden furniture. Thank you .

5:21PM PDT on Mar 23, 2014

This doesn't seem like much. Must you make it each week? I'll give is a try.

7:04PM PST on Feb 18, 2014

I make something very similar to this, but I add lemon essential oil to make it smell nice. First made it for my parents over 30 years ago in girl scouts.

11:42PM PST on Dec 22, 2013

Thanks for giving the alternative furniture polish option for the furniture. Furniture polish is used to make furniture more shining and beautiful.

Get some more information about Furniture services from Appliances Connections here.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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