You may think that your only option for revitalizing your wooden doors is by refinishing them. This can be a time-consuming process, but it may also be an unnecessary one. In many cases, you can give your old wooden door new life just by giving it a thorough cleaning. With the right products, you can retain the classic character of your old wooden door without the work of refinishing it. Learn more about how to thoroughly clean your wooden door here.

Primary cleaning and maintenance

To start it off, take a duster and start cleaning off any dust and cobwebs from your door. You will find, especially if it has been a while since you cleaned your door, that there are several layers of dust and cobwebs that had built up. Be sure to get into the crevices of the door so you remove all of the easier-to-remove dirt. This can make cleaning your door a lot simpler. Doing this regularly after you have cleaned your door keeps it cleaner for longer.

Mild stains and dirt

If you have a minor cleaning job, you can get away with just using mild dish soap to clean the door. This is good if you are sensitive to harsh chemicals. Fill a bowl with a little dish soap and hot water, then use a sponge to clean your door. Be sure that you use a non-abrasive sponge on the door to keep the wood finish protected. You can also use a small brush like a soft toothbrush to get into the crevices of your door. Washing with the door open helps you gain access and clean around the edges. Wipe off any soapy residue with hot water.

Tougher stains and grime

For tougher stains, you can first try to use a mineral spirit (which is also known as paint thinner). Apply some drops of the mineral spirits onto a dry, clean soft cloth until it feels a little damp. With the newly dampened cloth, wipe along the grain of the wood. This is usually enough to get rid of most dirt and grime. If not, applying furniture polish is your next step, as this can further remove any dirt and grime as well as help you restore your door to that natural and gorgeous sheen. Using this after mineral spirits can give it the right touch to restoring your door. Other things that you can use is a steam cleaner or chemical stripper to get rid of those seemingly impossible stains. These can be harsher but are greater to use if you plan to repaint the door.

There are other things that you can do that will help you keep your door clean. Once the door has dried completely after cleaning, you can re-stain the door. Be sure to dust and wash your door with soap periodically to prevent a build-up of more difficult stains. Whenever you clean your door, don’t forget to take the extra steps to sanitize your door handles. You should also re-stain it every few years to keep it fresh looking.

Pieter Boyce - Wooden Window and door specialist

Pieter Boyce
Wooden Window and Door Specialist

This article was written on behalf of Fortis & Hooke by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at

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