How to Clean an Old Wood Rocking Chair

How to Clean an Old Wood Rocking Chair
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Rocking chairs are unique pieces of furniture. If we inherited them from our parents or grandparents, they also come with important sentimental meanings for us, which makes us want to care for them and restore them to their glorious days.

If you are wondering how to clean an old wood rocking chair, we have the answer for you. Just have a look in the sections below.

Cleaning an Old Rocking Chair

One important aspect is that some rocking chairs are used for many, many years, and, often, they are not properly maintained. If this is your case, make sure you sand down any old grime and dirt on the arms and other sections that seem very affected.

It is essential to sand down each arm evenly, focusing on the edges. These sections usually are more affected by hand oil or dirt.

Step 1. Cleaning Solution

Once you are done with sanding down the rougher parts, if any, it is time to make a cleaning solution for the chair.

Our proposed solution is not only budget-friendly but also deep cleans the old rocking chair and restores its shine.

Make the cleaning solution by mixing turpentine, linseed oil, and water. One tablespoon of turpentine should be mixed with one tablespoon of linseed oil in one pint of warm water. Rub the chair with the solution, using gloves.

The turpentine will release fumes, so it is wise to clean the old rocking chair in a well-ventilated area, such as an open garage. Moreover, pregnant women should either avoid this solution or, alternatively, take plenty of breaks.

The piece of furniture will most likely soak in the cleaning solution, so make sure you do not over soak it, or you could damage it. Make sure you always wipe up any extra solution that drips and clean all the crevices properly. This step takes the longest when cleaning old rocking chairs, as lots of grime and dirt builds up there.

Step 2. Finishing The Wood

After you have cleaned the old rocking chair, it is best to leave it in a ventilated area until the next day to dry off.

Then, grab some new rubber gloves, a clean rag, and some tung oil.

Tung oil will not clean the chair, but it will help to restore its shine and lubricate the wood. After you treat the entire chair, leave it once again to dry overnight, and then you can bring it inside the house.

How to Clean an Old Wood Rocking Chair

How Do You Keep Your Old Rocking Chair Clean for Longer?

Now that your old rocking chair has its shine restored, it is important to find out how to maintain its cleanliness as long as possible. If you keep it outside, you can choose to buy a rocking chair cover that will keep it protected against dust, but also rain and snow.

If you live in a very cold climate, it would be wiser to take the rocking chair indoors if you want to prolong its life. The moisture and freezing temperature outside will make the wood expand.

Frequent Cleaning

If you want to avoid spending hours cleaning your old rocking chair, it is essential to schedule some necessary cleaning from time to time. For light cleaning sessions, all you need is a clean rag, warm water, and mild soap.

Once again, it would be best if you considered cleaning your old wood rocking chair in a well-ventilated space. Also, ensure that the soap does not contain any chemicals that could deteriorate the wood.

For light cleaning, you can simply sweep off any dust or dirt and, for stubborn stains, mildly wash them off with soap and water mixture. Leave the mixture on the chair for approximately 15 minutes, then use clean water to rinse it off.

Deeper Cleaning

This step is necessary if some stains will not come off when you light clean the old wood rocking chair. If this is the case, you can always follow step one and two above, that will work well in this situation.

Make sure you do not use any abrasive cleaning products – your old wood rocking chair is delicate, and an aggressive cleaning procedure is likely to damage it.

Keep the Chair Away From Mold

Another important measure is to do your best to keep the old wood rocking chair away from mold. This is especially relevant if your climate is humid, the perfect environment for mold.

Regular light cleaning will help you keep the mold at bay, but other times, the mold only gets worse, especially if your chair already has mold spores. Because of this, you might clean it with a damp cloth to remove the spores.

You might also use a bleach solution for it, but not all types of wood are friendly with it.

Restoring the Chair’s Color

If you keep your chair outside, you have probably noticed that UV rays make your piece of furniture look very dull. This is especially relevant if your chair is very old.

Some people actually enjoy this impact that aging has on their old wood rocking chair. If you are not fond of this, you can use step 2 above to restore some shine to the chair.

Some types of wood can also have the color restored if bleach is applied. But, unless you know exactly what type of wood you have and whether it is suitable for bleach, it is best to avoid it.

Another alternative might be to repaint your old wood rocking chair. Some people prefer to avoid this because it will steal away the vintage look. Repainting might be a great idea if your old wood rocking chair is cracked or peeling.


All in all, maintaining your old wood rocking chair can be an easy task if you maintain it frequently. Be sure you clean it lightly from time to time and avoid exposing it to extreme weather conditions.

Whichever step you want to go for, be sure to test the solutions on a tiny area of the chair first and see how it behaves.

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