A Quick Trick – Turning Old Into New Again
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Here is the finished project a few weeks later. Still looks great. I added new hardware (cost $2 each). So, within a half hour, I completely revived two nightstands. Time: 30 min Cost: $24. Not bad!
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That’s fabulous!! Thank you SO MUCH for the tip and the before and after photos too. What cute nightstands you have and awesome deal!
Love it!! Great job! & looks easy:) I’m all about that!
The tables look fantastic…and what great finds!
Wow! I never would have imagined.
Wow….thank you for sharing this tip…amazing!
Miss Mustard Seed’s mix says to use “3/4 cup of oil, add 1/4 cup vinegar”, which is the opposite of yours. Did yours actually work or is it a typo?
I really need this remedy.
She did say 3/4 oil 1/4 vinegar…
So glad I saw this tip! Thanks!
I would be wary of using canola oil (or any plant-based oil) on furniture as over time it can go rancid. Try mineral oil instead as it is much more stable on wood. Great idea though!
Thanks so much for catching that! Yes it should be the opposite. I will fix that right now! Kacee, It’s been on for six months and I’ve had no problems…it is such a light coating. I also have worked with mineral oil and don’t think it would have the same effect.
Hi. Looking forward to using this tip! However, I am a little confused. I was directed to your post via Pinterest and the states the amounts as 1/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup vinegar then in your blog it states the opposite. I see a few additional posts regarding the amounts and it just doesn’t clarify which one is correct. Will you please lay it out for me? Maybe its just too late and I need sleep ;P Thanks in advance.
As I stated in the comment before yours. The changes have been made in the post. If you want to go to the original source the link is at the beginning of the post. Good luck!
I just tried this on my dining table, and it didn’t seem to do much! I used vegetable oil and vinegar. It did make it look nice and polished though 🙂
can you use vegetable oil instead of canola?
@jensanfam4 i used veggie oil and it is basically the same as canola oil. it worked wonders on a desk my mom gave me from her college years. it looks like a totally new desk! thanks
My husband is a wood worker and uses mineral oil to coat and recoat cutting boards that he makes. You have to let it soak in for a long time. It will work for sealing and blurring the appearance of cuts. I did just try the canola oil so we’ll see how it compares!
Thanks for the idea, we just bought 2 wooden chairs from the salvation army. I was trying to figure out how I was going to make them look better without painting them.
Thank you! I’m going to check out her site as well. Hopefully it will help me further. Cleaner Jobs
I just tried this trick on my dresser. How long you have to wait before results?
I’m sitting here with my mouth wide open thinking, “She’s forgetting to tell us something.” That is amazing! With only oil and vinegar??
Maybe it only works on light wood – on our darker wood it didnt do a darn thing! Bummer, it looked so cool!
How long will the mixture stay good? I didn’t use all of it. It works wonders though. Thanks!!!!
Vegetable oils will smell eventually as they become rancid. I do not think this is a good idea. A reasonable commercial product works much better,and is worth the money spent…Especially on a good piece of furniture.
If you must, use a mineral based oil, not food oil.
Tried it and all that happened was made my table stinky and oily. The scuffing is still there. I’m thinking yours weren’t actually scuffed…but just dirty. And if that’s the case, vinegar is an excellent cleanser.
Hello Kristin and Sherri,
I’m sorry you haven’t had success. My wood doesn’t stink or smell rancid and it has been on for close to 8 months now. As mentioned on the post I referred to at the beginning of my post, that I found this recipe on (Miss Mustard Seed), this is a trick used for years now by antique dealers. The wood was definitely scuffed, not dirty as I washed it thoroughly with a vinegar and water mixture. It worked for me and I just thought I’d share! 🙂
I rarely comment on pins from pinterest .. but this is awesome!
Thank you for this! It made my dresser look sooo much better!
Just tried this on an old Pentagon table that was a hand me down…was going to paint it..but tried this instead and lets just say it looks beautiful!!! Thank u for posting!!!
I tried it with distilled white vinegar and canola oil. Didn’t work. Just made my table ridiculously sticky. 🙁
Sticky? I wonder how that could happen? Did you wash it first?
That gave it a whole new life, really amazing! Thanks for the tip.
wonder if this would work on older hard wood floors
I came across this on Pinterest last week and was eager to try it, as I have a little table in my son’s room that we salvaged and it was in rough shape. I tried this today and it looks a million times better! My husband and parents were quite impressed. Thanks for the tip!!
I just tried this on my hutch. It had deep dog scratches on it. I had tried everything on it. This worked I was in shock my children even said wow mom lol thank u for sharing this post
voce s sabe dizer se existe alguma massa que complete algo mais profundo como umas mordidas de cachorro? me diz ai…obrigado.
Felicitaciones y gracias por compartir tu secreto
I have to say that I was pretty apprehensive about this working after reading some of the posts. I tried it on our house doors that were badly scratched by dog claws. It is a miracle!! the scratches are gone from the doors. I also tried it on an old dark stained table that the varnished was wearing off. It certainly looks better although some of the “wear” is still apparent. Thanks for sharing this easy treatment. ps I just used canola oil and white vinegar. My doors are now beautiful!!!
Do you use the treatment on a regular basis?
Gonna give it a try before replacing or refinishing some doors and woodwork. Comments here suggest that results are mixed. Still worth a try…just going to mix less, say 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar using tablespoon measure to start…
umm, wow. looks as good as new. i’m going to have to try this. had read somewhere recently that rubbing a walnut on furniture scratches or chipped brown furniture also helps. will try both methods.
Have some old furniture I love despite the fact that years of kids and animals have taken their toll. I have tried various commercial products to try and cover the scratches and they didn’t work as good as this did. It didn’t work as well on a dark cherry finish, but that was expected. The addition of a color stain pen did the trick. Its not perfect, but far better than it was.
I don’t think you have to worry so much about the possible rancid odor of the oil because vinegar is a natural preservative, to a point.
I literally had a jaw drop moment when I saw the “after” photo! WOW! Now you make me want to go thrift store browsing 😉 Thanks, I am going to save your tips and use them later!!
I was so excited to try your trick on a worn and scuffed coffee table. Mixed it up and began slathering it on when suddenly my poodle mix doggie showed up and began licking the dressing off the table! Tried to shoo him off but he would not be deterred. Oh well. Got a good laugh out of that one although coffee table still in dire need of help! 🙂
That is too funny!
Great tip, thank you! I’m just wondering… Will this trick work on rattan as well?
I have found your site to be a very helpful I just wanted to thank you for this page Please keep up the good work!
I had great results with this method, on 4 different types of wood in different states of age. I wiped everything down beforehand, put the mixture on a cotton cloth and applied to the furniture (3 tables & a large bench like a church pew). I let it soak in a bit & then wiped down the furniture again to remove any excess that had not been absorbed. I’m very happy with the results. Thanks for the tip!
I’m going to try this on my dresser today, it’s almost 20 years old and looking rugged like this in lot of places. Ty for idea and so cheap!I’m going to keep this in mind if I happen to come across some antique furniture , I do love old stuff. Jazzy
Will it even work on treated wood? I have a beautiful Tamboti dinning set, tables/chairs, the table has scratches – hope ti works!
I tried it on several surfaces. It worked best on unfinished, dry wood. I have an all wood window seat, bannister and columns in my 1924 home. All of them were very dried out looking. The former owners had an issue with water damage. They look wonderful now. On my dining table that still has a good coat of varnish. It just cleaned and polished it. I used the mix on 2 inlaid wood tables. One was very dry and now looks great. The other has a lot of water stains. It is now clean and shiny. I don’t think the water stains can be helped. Next I will go up to a beautiful armoire that my husband scratched. It can only help.
When trying to hide scratches, use tea (black, not herbal). Make the tea light for lighter furniture and stronger for darker shades. For really dark shades, I just moisten the tea bag and let it rest on the scratch for a little while. I have also used tea (black and herbals) for a stain for unfinished furniture, and it works beautifully. Plus, it’s non-toxic incase your animals chew it.
Do you think it would work on kitchen cabinets?
Just tried it on my coffee table and it worked great!
AMAZING is all I can say! I used this on my banged up bathroom door and closet door and they look new. I’m planning on going around the woodwork on my whole house.
Tried it out on a desk I just bought that had been scratched and chewed on by a dog. The scratches are gone and the chewed area doesn’t look nearly so terrible. I was so impressed I tried it out on my dining set. It gave my dining set a nice high polished look that has been absent for many years.
Wow, really? We’ve recently moved and I sure wish our amazing friends who HELPED us move took more precautions. My heirloom Ethan Allen cabinet has huge scratches in it and my chairs have been beat up for years. They are a dark oil…and this will WORK? Way easier solution than calling the company to see if they have a matching stain that I can purchase.
Thank you so much! I am definitely trying this!I am interested in knowing exactly what the vinegar does for the wood?
I used this on a kitchen island with a butchers block type wood top. It did improve the look but I had a few heavy water ring stains that it still could not cover up. It does however look 100% better. TY
As soon as I saw this I literally ran to the kitchen! I used 3/4 Olive Oil and 1/4 cup ACV for my chest of drawers that has been my Mother’s, mine as a kid, then my brother’s and sister’s and now mine again! I am VERY impressed! It went from looking like a piece of junk to looking like a piece from the furniture showroom, lol! I allowed it to sit for about 30 minutes and then wiped off the extra residue. It’s beautiful! Thanks!!
To the people saying that the oil will go rancid: I have been using just straight virgin olive oil on my wood furniture for years now and I’ve never had a problem with it going rancid. I have never mixed it with vinegar before but I think I will try it next time. For the really tough scuffs and water marks I occasionally have to leave the oil on for a half hour or so and then I use paper towels to rub as much off as I can. It has worked wonders for me on both light and dark woods. I always make sure to rub as much off as I can when I’m done so it only leaves a very thin coat. Plus it makes the furniture look super shiny! 🙂
I found a recipe for restoring furniture in an old South African magazine. They recommended 1/3 boiled linseed oil, i/3 white vinegar and 1/3 alcohol. Give it a good shake and apply it with a soft cloth.I have also used it on new wood, works well.
Just tried it. Worked like a charm on dark wood for me. Results were instantaneous. THANK YOU!!!
it worked wow thank you wait till i get started on the rest of the furniture!
Just tried this on my MIL’S cabinets that had been scraped and poorly sanded in an attempt to remove decades of yuck. The sanded areas now look like brand new wood. Never would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
Warning to people running out and using this cleaning and magic touchup method. Coin collectors are also tempted to clean their coins to make them NEW looking. When they clean their coins, they become LESS valuable although brighter and newer looking.
By putting oil and vinegar on your wood, it may make them less valuable as well. No coin collector wants a coin that has been cleaned. It’s all about the patina and the MONEY$$$.
Tried it… didn’t work. Nope, just got greasy wood. Disappointing.
Love it! but…Does not work on dark wood:( only light, worked wonders on my kitchen cabinets.
Wonderful results on both light and dark wood~was so excited about this. Went to bed and got up the next morning after going a little crazy in freshening up a lot of the wood I have in my home. BEWARE ANTS ARE DRAWN TO THIS MIXTURE. I almost died I had no less than 100 ants crawling on my woodwork. My tables seem to be doing fine, but beware of where you use this. Don’t use it anywhere around doors or window wood treatments!
I used this method on my Dark coffee table. It was very scratched from daily abuse from my kids. Truck races, walker races, Barbies, you name it every scratch has a story. I used 3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil and 1/4 Cup white distilled vinegar. It helped darken the scratches but not quite to the level of darkness of the original stain. However the oil really helped add shine and luster to the dry wood! After that I took Old English stained furniture polish in DARK over the scratches and like magic and a few cents of cost later. I had a beautiful restored coffee table. I KNOW the Old English polish wouldn’t have done that by itself. This method worked awesome and also cleaned and polished the entire table at the same time! Great method thank you for sharing!
Works absolutely on me.
This worked wonders on my antique, hand me down (free) dining table. I like a shabby chic look, bu my tabl was very beat-up and the finish was dry/peeled off in places, so I used a table cloth (which I hated). Tried this today & it looks a million times better. Not perfect, bu definetly my kind of shabby chic & no more table cloth. I read the comments after trying, so I’m hoping for no ants, nor a rancid smell (I don’t know how canola & vinegar would cause a rancid smell?). And I’m not planning on going on Antiques Road show, so I could care less about collectors worrying about my “cleaned up antiqu table”. Thank you thank you thank you! You saved me a bunch of money from having my table restored.
I used this on my Mom’s 50 y/o – D R Y – wood kitchen cabinets. C.oil&V are put in a SPRAY BOTTLE. And I seriously believe it’s better than wood oil. Things also cleaned off nicely. The cabinet above her oven was spattered with something (a cake mishap?) from long time ago. I sprayed it then lightly used a scrubbie. EVERYTHING came off easily, AFter wiping dirty area, I re-applied C.oil&V. So my vote is: EASIER & *better* than wood oil. – – THANK YOU FOR SHARING – –
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So, just went in and tried in on some water stained bathroom cabinets—wow!! We are moving and I thought I would have to pay to have them refinished!! I could not be happier!
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WOW! I just tried this on an antique spring type rocker that had been in a building for months. Sadly the building leaks and although I thought I had the chair covered, it still got wet. The finish was gone on part of the wood and it looked dried out not to mention worn from age. This technique works! It looks amazing!!! I wish I had taken before and after pictures. Now, any suggestions on how to clean the dirt mixed with water marks on the upholstery part of the chair?
To the people who said it made your furniture sticky, possibly the vinegar reacted with the old varnish or stain in your furniture. This happened to me with some antique chairs. To get rid of the stickiness, you’ll have to wipe down the furniture with vinegar until all the old stain comes off, then you can oil it.
Just used this mix on a 100-year old cedar blanket chest…lots of recent digs and scratches from grandson rooming with me for awhile. Scrubbed it clean first, then applied vinegar/oil which I mixed in a very small spray bottle. The wood being quite dry just soaked up the mixture and now it looks great…so very pleased. Thanks much!!
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Hallo! I use for cleaning first some hot beer – does work very good on many kinds of wood without lack-coat. I’m going to try after that the trick above. Thank you!
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Do I have to wipe it down with a wet cloth afterward? Wouldn’t it get too oily?
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Just linked via a pin and I’m so glad I did – this worked wonders! Thanks!!
great article. where can i find more information about it?
Do you think this would work on white rings from water damage? If not, is there something else that might work/
A very useful post thnx for sharing – I normally repaint them but will defo try these tricks 🙂
It works better with Olive Oil