How to Clean Wooden Drawers | A Brief Guide By Expert


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When it comes to furniture, one cannot help but think of wood, a material capable of giving warmth to the environment and furnishing elegance. Indeed, these pieces of furniture are impressive, but taking care of them is not always easy. Wood is also a raw material widely used since ancient times. Its versatility and malleability make it a very widely used material, but it is mostly used for creating furniture to furnish homes. Everyone, without exception, owns drawers made with this beautiful but also delicate material. Wooden drawers suffer a lot from excessive heat and too much humidity, which is why it is essential to keep them in a dry and cool environment. Despite having this kind of attention, the accumulation of dust and dirt can ruin the wooden drawers. This is why we need to understand how to clean wooden drawers in the best possible way.

How to Clean Wooden Drawers: Tools Needed

When working on how to clean wooden drawers, some tools would be needed. This includes:

  • Sponge
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Household vinegar
  • Ammonia 
  • Turpentine
  • Brush
  • Wood cleaning spray 
  • Drawer deodorizer

How to Clean Wooden Drawers: Steps

How to Clean Varnished Wooden Drawer

To clean your varnished wooden drawer, dust it regularly with a microfiber cloth. A sponge soaked in soapy water and a few household vinegar drops will do the trick to restore shine. But be careful to wipe the wood well afterward with your microfiber cloth. If your drawer is very dirty, ammonia, turpentine, or Murphy’s oil soapwill also work.

Finally, be aware that lighter fluid can remove traces of grease from your varnished wooden drawer.

How to Clean Wooden Drawers

How to Clean Waxed Wooden Drawer

Your waxed wooden drawer should be maintained twice a year with a wax that does not contain silicone. Beeswax does the trick. But first, you have to take care to dewax your drawer. Indeed, the accumulation of wax layers clogs the wood in the long term.

To dewax your drawer, use a clean cloth soaked in ammonia or turpentine. You can also use white vinegar to perfect the dewaxing and make the drawer shine. According to a static, for a streak-free finish, use a solution of 50% distilled white vinegar and 50% water or a commercial glass cleaner with ammonia.

Then wax your wooden drawer with a soft cloth, following the direction of the wood. If a stain resists you, clean your drawer as a last resort with lighter fluid.

how to clean wooden kitchen drawers

How to Clean Painted Wooden Drawer

The maintenance of a painted wooden drawer is easy. Just use a sponge dampened with soapy water and wipe down with a soft cloth. If the wooden drawer is very dirty, you can also wash it with a mixture of soapy water and ammonia.

Make sure you always wring out your sponge before cleaning your wooden drawer. To restore some shine to your painted wooden drawer, use a soft cloth impregnated with a few drops of linseed oil.

how to clean wooden kitchen drawers

How to Clean Lacquered Wooden Drawer

To maintain your lacquered wooden drawer, use a chamois or a silk cloth, which will make the lacquer shine. You can add a little white vinegar before wiping well with a clean, dry cloth. Stains usually come off quickly on lacquered wood.

In the event of a stubborn stain, make your household stain remover by mixing linseed oil and turpentine in equal parts and then adding flour. The dough thus obtained will do miracles. You can also select one with a high percentage of d-Limonene, around 90-100%, such as pure orange oil concentrate.

how to clean wood furniture

How to Clean Unfinished Wooden Drawer

Unfinished wood is the most challenging wood to maintain because it stains very easily. Consider waterproofing it with specific products to protect it. In case of stains, a brush soaked in warm water and black oil soap will be useful.

You can also use sandpaper and sand gently in the direction of the wood to clean stained wood. As a last resort, lighter fluid will be supreme to clean wood furniture and shelves.

Mistakes not to be made when cleaning a wooden drawer

We have seen How to clean wooden drawers naturally and straightforwardly, but some substances are used in household cleaning that is good to keep away from wooden surfaces and drawers. They include:

Hydrogen peroxide: it is not recommended for cleaning wooden drawers because it tends to lighten them, thus modifying their natural color;

Ammonia: like hydrogen peroxide, ammonia is also not suitable for this type of surface as it darkens the wood and eliminates the paint that protects it.

Alcohol: Alcohol is another ingredient to avoid on wooden drawers, as it would damage them irreparably.

Caustic soda: it should not be used to clean How to clean wooden drawers because it is highly corrosive and cautiously used. You can also strip the surface of the wood when you use it.

In all, knowing how to choose the right products helps you not only to keep your wooden drawers clean but also to make them last longer.

how to clean stained wood

How to Remove Mold from Wooden Drawers

The procedure for removing mold from wooden drawers is simple and very useful; moreover, it requires very few dollars. Let’s see how to proceed:

  • Remove everything you have inside the drawers, including papers and linings. There is usually the possibility of leaving unused items here. Thus, at the end of 3 months, anything remaining in the bin likely isn’t needed, so you can donate the items.
  • Let them breathe for a long time, opening all the windows in the room. There is nothing better than simple, clean air and sunlight to eliminate and prevent mold growth.
  • Prepare a cleaning solution based on clean water and one part of apple cider vinegar in a non-metallic bowl. We advise you to mix and transfer everything into a bottle with a spray dispenser. Shake very well to mix the ingredients.
  • Spray the solution in all drawers, insisting on the areas most affected by mold.
  • Before closing the drawers, wipe with a clean and soft cloth, and then wait for the inside to dry completely.
  • Change the interior coatings, placing clean and preferably plasticized wallpaper so that it absorbs less moisture.
  • Put some gloves and a handful of black pepper in the corners of the drawers. This would help in absorbing humidity and therefore prevent the formation of the annoying mold.

How to Clean Wooden Drawers: FAQ

What is the best thing to clean wood furniture with?

The best thing to clean an entire piece of furniture is water and dish soap.

How do you clean smelly wooden drawers?

Closed spaces are unpleasant places for the smell. Lack of ventilation, accumulated humidity, or other types of odors is left in the wood or other materials that form our drawers. Be it the drawers in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or living room, in all cases, it is good, from time to time, to do a good cleaning and ventilate a little if we don’t want to be afraid to open them. Below are some of the best tips for leaving the drawers smelling good and keeping their contents in perfect condition.

Avoid and fight against humidity.

Humidity is one of the main causes of bad smell in drawers and cabinets or any other closed space type with little ventilation. A piece of advice to avoid humidity in the clothes drawers is not to store the clothes, sheets, or towels in the drawers and cupboards when they are not yet 100% dry. This is quite valid because the humidity of wet objects can encourage the appearance of mold in the drawers, especially the wooden version. It is also convenient to leave a little separation between the clothes so that the small air in the drawers can circulate at will.

Another piece of advice is to ventilate the drawers from time to time. You can keep your drawers open (from the kitchen, cupboards, living room furniture, etc.) for at least 30 seconds each time you open them to pick up or store some clothes, cutlery, etc.

Finally, you can use some chalk as a solution against moisture. By placing several chalks inside the drawers, you ensure that they absorb moisture well instead of your clothes or other objects in your drawers. Chalks will also absorb some odors, but remember to change them at least once a month.

Use white vinegar

Despite its intense smell, white vinegar eliminates odors from furniture, especially wooden ones. Wet a cloth with vinegar and clean the drawers with it. Don’t worry; the strong vinegar smell will soon disappear, taking possible odors from the drawers with it. If the wooden drawers are moldy, white vinegar will also eliminate them.

Use Activated charcoal

This is a product in everyday use for aquarium filters, for example. Just as it does a great job in our aquariums, it also works in our drawers. Place activated carbon in a container that fits in the drawers and makes holes in the lid. Leave the container in the drawer and wait 24 hours. After that time, the coal will have absorbed the smells.

Use Sodium bicarbonate

Some people fight the drawers’ odors by spreading baking soda directly at the bottom of the drawers, but this technique is not very clean. We advise you to fill a sock with this product and place it inside the drawers. Then leave for a day. The next day, the bad smells will be gone.

Remember that before cleaning the drawers, you must make sure that the cause of the bad smell is not an object inside. In kitchen cabinets, especially wooden ones, it is easy for foods like garlic or onions to leave their scent embedded in the drawers, even though they are no longer there.

Use drawer deodorizers

We can use commercial drawer deodorizers sold in stores to get the drawers to smell good. But for fans of homemade objects and crafts, you can also make homemade drawer deodorizers using little bags containing spices that smell good. There are dozens of possibilities: flower petals, cinnamon, aromatic stones, coffee beans, citrus peels like orange or lemon, dry leaves, you can make any combination you want.

Can Lysol wipes be used on wood?

Yes. Lysol wipes can be used on finished wood surfaces but not on unpainted or unfinished porous wood surfaces.


In conclusion, wooden drawers come with great merits for the home. And if you desire to learn how to clean wooden drawers without hassles, the steps above would be indispensable. 

Read More: How to Remove Orange from Wood Floors

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