Thursday, May 22, 2014

As Seen on Pinterest Revisit: Oil and Vinegar Wood Treatment


About 3 months ago, I tried out a DIY wood treatment to reduce the appearance of scratches that I had seen online.  I adjusted it slightly by foregoing the use of food grade oil for lemon oil designed to be used on furniture. After 3 months, the scratches have started to reappear in the furniture, so it was time to polish them again.  

This time, I adjusted my ratio (since I later realized that I had flip-flopped the ratio from the inspiration articles) from 3 parts vinegar and 1 part oil (the inspirations listed 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar) to 1:1.  The reason I tried this was that even though the inspirations used way more oil, when I used way less, it still worked, so I decided to try it out with 1 part oil and 1 part vinegar and see how it went. Spoiler alert--it worked perfectly--just slightly better than using 3 times as much vinegar, so if you're trying to stretch your lemon oil, feel free to use more vinegar.


The next thing I changed in my revisit was to use a leftover detergent booster container (Sun brand generic Oxi Clean powder that I bought at Big Lots) since it was a nice empty container with a lid and it came with it's very own measuring scoop.  I made a batch my measuring out one scoop full of lemon oil, and one scoop full of vinegar.


The scoop is probably about 2 tablespoons or so.  It doesn't seem like much, but trust me, you don't need a lot.  A little goes a long way, and it is better to have to make more than to end up pouring extra down the drain.


When I was done measuring, I put the lid on my little container and shook.  I ended up with this lovely bright yellow colored mixture.  I grabbed some paper towels and headed to my window sill.


The window sill in our front room is at doggy height.  Our dog is always jumping up to peer out the window to peek outside, and she has thoroughly scratched it up.


So I soaked my paper towel in the oil and vinegar mixture until the scratches darken and all that's left are the dings and indents. When you first apply the mixture it will be shiny and wet, but it will soak in and the scratches will stay much less noticeable for months. Below is a photo of the sill two days after treatment--the scratches are much less noticeable and the wood is no longer shiny.


Next up I treated my antique buffet.  This piece of furniture has been all over the place.  It has been moved at least 6 or 7 times between different family member's houses--it's definitely showing it's age, but I'm not ready to try to refinish it yet, so the oil and vinegar treatment is a good choice.


So I soaked my paper towel in the mixture again and polished the top and edges of the buffet.  The mixture also works great at dusting the top off so it immediately looks shinier and better, but the scratches and dings also disappear.


And below is a photo of the top and edges two days after treatment.  The edges of the buffet are still much less noticeable.


So, after using this treatment for a second time I can tell you that it lasts a couple months before the scratches start to reappear, and that you can play around with the ratio of oil and vinegar to find what works best for you.

I also learned that this treatment doesn't work well on blonde furniture (the kind that has a finish lighter than the natural wood tone).  I have a bedroom set that I inherited from my grandparents that is in a blonde finish that is starting to flake off in places and is water damaged on some of the pieces from a wet trip in the back of a trailer (the tarps didn't keep all the water out).  When I used the vinegar and oil mixture on these pieces, the exposed wood became darker than the blonde surrounding finish, so it doesn't work well for those pieces.  Because the finish on those pieces looked so bad to begin with, it didn't really make them any worse, it just didn't look a lot better--so I don't recommend it.

So back to the amount of the oil and vinegar mixture I made, just those two scoops made enough for me to treat my picture window sill, the buffet, the top of a night stand, the front of a dresser, and a few scratches on a door....and I still had a little left.  So a little really does go a long way.

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