Lemon loving for my love seat (Day 351)…

As some of you might remember, I bought this wicked-hideous love seat a little while ago from a U-Haul dealer, which I’ve put in my new office to go with the retro theme. The arm rests needed polishing but I didn’t want to get any neurotoxic crap like Pledge and couldn’t really buy any new product without running into plastic, so I looked on the World Wide Interwebs for a good homemade recipe.

This site had some pretty cool suggestions, so in the end, I decided to whip up a concoction of lemon juice, jojoba oil and a splash of white vinegar, then took a dish rag and gave it a rub.

I’m not sure it did very much. Here’s the before photo:


(Excuse my feet). And here’s the after photo:


I don’t know. I mean, I guess it looks cleaner — and there was definitely a lot of dirt that came off on the rag — but it’s not exactly shining. Maybe I should put more oil? Or use olive oil instead? But apparently that can go rancid in the summer or something.

Well, either way, it’s still better than spraying it with petroleum.


P.S. Happy stinkin’ Valentines Day. Remember, coconut oil before K-Y!

23 Responses to Lemon loving for my love seat (Day 351)…

  1. LG Adam says:

    I thought it looked fine in the first picture…. maybe. The second picture looks good though, I’d just leave it!

  2. Julia says:

    Does it need to be shiny?

  3. sue says:

    it looks fine. If you want to use an oil, I’d try walnut oil instead of olive oil. My husband uses it to finish woodworking stuff and it never seems t go rancid.

  4. Deb in MA says:

    What about mineral oil? Or water-based polyurethane? And I agree with Julia – does it really need to be shiny?

  5. Samantha says:

    Don’t some people polish using beeswax? I bet a small amount rubbed into it will help protect the wood and give it a shine.

  6. Mrs. Bick says:

    I second some of the other suggestions. Beeswax, mineral oil… been around a long time, and fairly green. The whole point is to protect the wood, more than shine it up! Maybe a little research on the topic will bring to light more options that suit your situation. And you might want to consider borrowing if you can, because you are doing such a small amount of wood. Just a thought. Good Luck!

  7. gettinggreen says:

    Yeah, I just would like it to look more polished… and kind of darker or something. It just looks really dried out right now, like it’s been stripped and doesn’t have any sort of protective coating or anything. Hard to explain. Anyway, I think I’ll try some beeswax or maybe walnut oil and see!

  8. blah says:

    I know this sounds silly (and a little gross), but I’ve always heard that mayonaise works well for polishing wood.

  9. Emma says:

    your feet are freakin adorable there.

  10. SP says:

    Vanessa, I think it looks beautiful. Good job.

  11. gardenqueen says:

    Beeswax. Food products will all probably eventually smell.

  12. yarrow says:

    Linseed oil (made from flax seeds, available at any artist supply store) or beeswax, or a blend of the two, will make any wood shine for all its worth. and it’s natural, and won’t release toxins into your house!

  13. Esme says:

    Go to Lee Valley- they have all sorts of waxes and polishes, many of which are all-natural. They’ve also got things to fix old furniture (glues, veneers etc.) which is great if you dont want to buy new off-gassing furniture etc. I suspect you live close-ish to the one on King St.

  14. Giorgia says:

    It doesn’t need to be shiny, it’s neat the way it is now you’ve polished it – it practically looks NEW! 🙂 If you still want it to look shinier (?), anyway, beeswax can do that.

  15. GreenYogini says:

    Not that I’ve personally tried this, but I’m guessing you could use the same type of oil conditioners on your love seat that you might use on a wooden cutting board, keeping in mind that some oils (as another reader commented) could go rancid over time. Then, you could eat right off the arm of the chair! A loveseat with a built-in cheese plate! What could be better?

    Now the only question is – what are you going to use to shampoo the REST of the couch??? (If you found that a lot of dirt and grime came off the arm rest, I shudder to think what has absorbed into the more permeable surfaces…!) EEEEK!

    I’m all in favor for re-homed furniture, though, and I happen to love the look of “wicked-hideous” retro. 🙂

  16. MamaBird says:

    When I polish wood I use much less oil and much more lemon juice/vinegar. More of a cleaner than a conditioner (got this tip from Annie Berthold Bond and I really like her book Better Basics btw). But I second the wax suggestion if you want to go darker. And I agree, I like the toes shots too (smile).

  17. kimberly says:

    it looks a lot cleaner now. have you heard of this book “better basics for the home”? i got it from grassroots. it’s pretty sweet… it has directions for how to make just about everything, from lotions, to cleaners, to pest control. you should check it out… and it’s all natural, and involves really basic ingredients. i’ll flip through it and let you know if i find anything for your chair…

  18. Julie says:

    From my feet to yours, happy stinkin valentines day!!!

  19. Julie says:

    Burt’s Bees makes an oil from apricots that might help. It’s meant to be used in place of traditional baby oil, but it’s a pretty golden color and it never seems to go rancid.

  20. Totally strange idea, but what about a banana peel? I posted about using it as a shoe polish, so I think it woud be fine as a wood polish — and it is very eco-friendly! Using waste for good! LOL!


  21. Laura K says:

    I think it looks much better. No need for shine, it would look unnatural. 🙂 There is definitely a difference.

  22. Mrs. Bick says:

    just another thought if you want to darken the wood… I think there are tinted waxes and such on the market. Might be an option. Not sure how green, but research would tell on that.

    STill, good luck.

  23. Mrs. Bick says:

    Sorry… I meant to link this

    in the last response. Carnuba wax is something else to consider. I Googled “tinted beeswax for furniture” and came up with lots of interesting reads and thought-provoking options.

    Ciao, really!

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