Varnished Wooden Door Cleaning Tips to Make It Shiny Again


Varnish is a popular choice for wooden doors because of its transparency. It ensures that the wood’s true and natural grains and tones are exposed with a beautiful appearance. On top of it, the natural glossiness of the varnished wood doors looks premium and amazing.

The problem starts when dust, residues, and grimes develop on the shiny varnished door. It makes the door look dull. So, you need to clean the door timely. But most people don’t know how to clean varnished wood doors. Also, many people think cleaning a varnished wood door is difficult.

Therefore, we have developed this guideline for cleaning the varnished wooden door properly.

How To Clean Varnished Wood Doors

Varnish is a hard and protective coating. People use it to protect the wooden door and expose its grain and tones. Thus, the wooden door gets a high aesthetics.

You will, however, need to clean the varnished door timely. You can dust away from the varnish daily to remove dust and cobweb. Also, use a mild soapy or liquid detergent solution to clean the door once a month. Finally, for tougher stains, you may choose mineral spirits to provide the varnish a new look.

Tip 1: Remove Minor Dirt and Grime

Cobwebs and dust will easily sit on the varnished doors. When you don’t clean them regularly, they will make the door look ugly. The layers of dust become tougher to clean as you don’t remove them timely. Thankfully, you can easily eliminate the cobwebs and dust with a duster.

Use the duster to reach the nook and crannies of the door to eliminate the dust and cobwebs. If you don’t have the time to dust off the door daily, you must perform a weekly cleaning at least. As you clean the dust, ensure you reach its grooves where the cobwebs are found in maximum numbers.

Tip 2: Minor cleaning with detergent or soap

It would help if you tried cleaning the varnished door with daily detergent or mild soap. If you don’t have that time, never ignore cleaning the varnished door once every two months. The minor cleaning will protect the door from tougher stains. Also, it prolongs the lifespan of the varnish film.

  • Dust off the door following our suggestions in “Tip 1.” As you remove the cobwebs and dust, half of your cleaning task is accomplished.
  • Mix mild soap or liquid detergent in a medium bowl with lukewarm water. You will need a few drops of the liquid detergent, and that’s all.
  • Use a sponge to apply the mild soapy solution to the varnished door. Also, use a brush to apply the solution to the grooves and corners of the door.
  • After waiting a few minutes, wash off the solution with a clean sponge or towel. You must soak the sponge or towel in water to eliminate the soapy solution.
  • Alternatively, you can rinse the mild soapy solution with hot water. But, we don’t recommend it for varnished doors.
  • Keep repeating the cleaning process until you wash off the door properly. Then, dry the door with another piece of towel.

The process is simpler than most people think. You may accomplish the entire cleaning process within 15 to 20 minutes.

Tip 3: Getting rid of the tougher stains

Over time, grimes, residues, and greases can build up on the varnished wooden doors. These are the tougher stains and need special removal treatment. We will show you the removal process of the tougher stains on varnish with mineral spirits.

Mineral spirits are used as cleaning agents in many industrial and commercial places. The slight presence of alcohol in it will weaken the chemical bonding of the stains. So, you can easily wipe it off with a soft rag.

Mineral spirits are available in most hardware or wood shops. Many people call it to paint thinner as painters will use it to thin their thick paints. In fact, woodworkers use it widely during their wood painting.

  • Take a piece of clean and soft rag. Apply a few drops of the mineral spirit on it until the rag becomes damp.
  • Then rub it on the stains of the varnished wooden door. Continue rubbing the dampened rag on the tougher stains until you see them removed.
  • If the stains remain on the door, apply a few more drops of the mineral spirits. Then, wipe off the stains.

Mineral spirits will evaporate in the air. So, never leave the lid of the container open. Also, you don’t need to wipe off the door with water as the paint thinner will evaporate.

Safety Tips for Cleaning Varnished Doors:

  • Avoid using alcohol-based liquid detergent or soaps on the varnish. If the cleaning solution contains more alcohol, it will damage the varnish.
  • Instead of using mineral spirit, you can also use turpentine. These two cleaning items work similarly.
  • After cleaning the door for tougher stains, try applying a wax coating on it. You will get the wax coating for varnished doors in hardware shops. The wax coating will elevate the glossiness of the door.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use vinegar on varnished wood?

Yes, you may apply vinegar on varnished wood. When you use vinegar, it will quickly dissolve the residues and grimes so that you can wipe them off with a clean rag.

Can you use baking soda and vinegar on wood?

Yes, you can apply vinegar and baking soda mixture to clean the painted wooden furniture. You need to remove the cleaning mixture with mild hot water and a clean rag.

Read: How to Clean Laminate Wood Floors Without Streaking


Varnished wood doors will last 10 to 15 years with ease. The only setback of it is the grime and residual development. Thankfully, there’re multiple ways to clean the residues, grime, cobwebs, and dust from a varnished wooden door. Plus, the cleaning processes are straightforward without any rocket science.

Nonetheless, when you apply turpentine or mineral spirit to clean the wooden doors, we suggest you wear gloves. It will protect your hands from additional dryness.

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