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Make your own furniture polish

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Making your own furniture polish helps ensure you're using natural, household materials rather than chemicals to clean your wood furniture.

How to make your own furniture polish

Varnish on wood furniture can develop dullness, surface clouds, and water rings which, if not too deep can be buffed away, with natural, household materials. Here's a great homemade furniture polish recipe:

  1. Mix equal parts white vinegar (or lemon juice) and olive oil in an old shampoo bottle.
  2. Shake well and apply to a rag (old undershirts make great cleaning rags), working first in long strokes following the grain, followed by circular buffing.
  3. Rub mixture into wood until it is absorbed, using a clean rag to wipe off excess, if any.
  4. Untreated raw wood, like cutting boards, may be "thirstier" and require a bit more. When the oil begins to bead, wipe off excess and you're done, thus keeping the wood from drying and cracking.

To make a large batch with a long shelf-life, try a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and jojoba oil, a liquid wax that won't go rancid (olive oil and lemon juice can both go rancid over time). Though touted as a sealant and polisher of wood, linseed oil often has added synthetic drying agents and isn't recommended. If you're working with wood pieces used to serve food (like bowls or serving platters) olive oil and walnut oil both work well as they're food grade options.

Homemade furniture polish helps you go green because…

  • You can buy less and cut down on the need to purchase products with unnecessary packaging, that would otherwise wind up in a landfill.
  • You'll be able to breathe easier without volatile chemicals which build up in the body over time, persist in the air and can find their way into groundwater.

Wood polish can contain artificial fragrances, flammable toxins, petroleum distillates, and solvents that are highly neurotoxic. Exposure to these chemical vapors can alter the nervous system's normal activity and can lead to headaches, loss of memory or vision, cognitive or behavior problems, and may lead to serious disorders for those people especially vulnerable, such as children. Along with oven cleaners and sink de-cloggers, commercial furniture polish is one of the top pollutants of indoor airspace.

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