How to Restore Old Wood Furniture: The Ultimate Guide

Shopping for new furniture can be fun and exciting, but there’s nothing like the thrill of restoring old wood furniture. Maybe it’s a piece passed down from a loved one or a one-of-a-kind find in your favorite thrift store. No matter what story your wood furniture has to tell, it can be brought back to life and feel new again. Ready to get started? Follow our ultimate guide for how you can restore old furniture. 

1. Do a deep clean

First thing’s first, you’ll want to do a deep clean on your wood furniture to remove any dirt, stains, or grease that have likely built up over time. Our choice? WOCA Intensive Cleaner Spray. That’s because it’s ready to use and helps prep your furniture for re-oiling by opening the grain of the wood for ultimate oil penetration. If you have a larger wood furniture project to tackle, try our one-liter bottle of wood cleaner.

2. Tackle any additional repairs

Now that you have a clean surface to work with, you can better examine your furniture to see if it needs any extra TLC. Chips, cracks, dents, stains, paint splatters — all of this is common when you’re restoring old wood furniture. If you see any areas that need fixing, use epoxy putty to seal them up and make the surface level again.

For any black spots and rings, use WOCA Tannin Spot Remover

3. Strip and/or sand the furniture

If your furniture has excess layers of paint or oil, you may need to use a strong chemical stripper to remove them. This part is often the most time-consuming of a wood restoration project and usually makes a mess. When selecting a chemical stripper, make sure you carefully follow directions and protect yourself and anything surrounding you.

Whether you strip your furniture or skip that step altogether, now comes the next step: sanding. For larger pieces, it may be worth using (or renting!) a power sander to make this step less of a daunting task. For smaller pieces, a sanding block works just fine. Keep sanding until all surfaces are smooth, and the shine is gone. Once that’s finished, clean your furniture again with WOCA’s wood cleaner to remove excess dust and prep for oiling.

4. Apply your oil stain

Now comes the fun part: Finishing touches! By our standards, there are a couple of ways you can do this.

With WOCA Pre-Color and Master Color Oil

If you want to prime your furniture before applying the final color, WOCA Pre-Color is right for you. That’s because it’s a water-based stain that primes and helps intensify your final oil color. Once your pre-color is applied, it’s time to bring in WOCA Master Color Oil, which provides color and an oil finish — all in one step! With 11 colors to choose from, you can find the exact color you want for your newly restored wood furniture. 

With WOCA Diamond Oil Active

Another great option? WOCA Diamond Oil Active. With this, you don’t have to use a primer or pre-color because it penetrates and hardens your wood furniture. As a result, you’re left with a piece that’s stronger and more durable than how you found it. If you’re not sure which of our nine colors to choose, you can order a tester first!

5. Keep it looking great

Now that your wood furniture looks great, it’s time to keep it that way. Here are some of our favorite cleaning and maintenance tips:


  • Natural Soap Spray: This ready-mixed bottle of oil and natural soap helps clean and maintain any wood surface, including your newest piece.
  • Maintenance Gel: If your furniture ever needs a quick, refreshing boost, WOCA Maintenance Gel is your go-to solution. It’s easy to apply, dries quickly, and works on virtually any wooden surface. Don’t forget a polishing cloth for an extra smooth and silky finish.
  • Spot Remover: Life happens, and sometimes that means accidental spills or stains on your wood furniture. That’s when WOCA Spot Remover comes to the rescue! Coffee, tea, red wine, grease — it can all be removed with this magical product. Depending on the severity of the stain, your furniture may need to be re-oiled with your WOCA oil of choice or maintenance gel.

Turn to WOCA Woodcare for your next restoration project

From timeless, vintage wood furniture to entire homes of hardwood floors, WOCA Woodcare is here to help. Our plant-based, sustainable products are not only effective — they’re safe for the entire family. Check out our entire interior collection to stock up on everything you need for your next wood restoration project!

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