Oil & Vinegar Wood Refinisher Hoax – What Really Works
I saw a Facebook friend share a great idea for refinishing wood furniture: oil and vinegar. Everyone is looking for a quick fix using stuff they have already. So, naturally this is a popular post!
Photo source: Nature Hacks
The claim: mix any type of food-grade oil (olive, vegetable, canola, etc.) with vinegar (apple cider, white, whatever) and apply to wood furniture to clean and repair damage, scratches and scuffs.
My personal results: food-grade oil and vinegar will NOT repair wood furniture, and can attract bacteria. Yuck! Okay, calling it a “hoax” might be harsh, but let’s face it, who really wants to try this only to find their furniture has nasty bacteria on it that could make their family sick?! That’s right, read on.
Sadly, I did not have good results using oil & vinegar to repair wood. But I did find something amazing you might want to try!
Before I get into a better option for restoring wood furniture and breathing new life into antique wood furniture, let me explain how using food-grade Oil & Vinegar to refinish wood didn’t work for me.
First, I read that using food-grade oil (olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil) will attract bacteria. YUCK! I don’t want to have shiny furniture with bacteria on it!
I actually tried this myself (my pictures are shown to the left) and it did not give the claimed results. It did make it shiny and it did clean it. But wiping it off with plain water, or with soap and water would have cleaned it! Soap & water would probably leave a residue. A better way to clean wood furniture is by using oil soap such as Murphy’s Oil Soap (32 oz for around $8 on Amazon or in retailers near you) is another great way to clean up your wood furniture and leave a nice shine without residue. And, with no harmful bacteria.
Your results may vary. If you wan to try this out, I would caution you against inviting bacteria into your home by trying to restore wood with food-grade oil and vinegar.
A Better Option! Thankfully I found a better option! And ironically, it’s something we already had in our home. A few years ago my husband had picked this wonderful solution called Restore-a-Finish. You can buy it online and it’s carried at major home improvement stores such as Home Depot. A big bottle costs around $10 and would be enough to do dozens of projects.
I’d never even tried or heard of Restore-a-Finish, but saw it in our garage when I was looking for something that would work better than this oil and vinegar mess I’d made. I had looked at the hardware store for something before I started, and didn’t find much there. (You can buy Restore-a-Finish at Home Depot, but I was at a smaller store). I had searched the Internet to find something recommended on forums that would restore wood finish without sanding. I didn’t find much! Many forums have the oil and vinegar suggestion, but mostly people haven’t tried it. And, people don’t seem to realize the health hazard you could be inviting by using food-grade oil.
Anyway, it’s crazy how well it works! No sanding required, no stripping or re-staining. Just wipe this stuff on and voila, the antique dresser your mom got when she was 16 and is lending you, looks like new.
I will say this doesn’t fill in scratches. They’re still there you just don’t see them. You could see them if you looked really closely, or if you stared at it at an angle. Franky, unless you filled any deep scratches or gouges or sanded it down flat, you’re not going to fix that with any kind of refinisher. I don’t care, I was super happy with the results. It looks amazing!
I had actually thought using food-grade oil and vinegar might work. I found out it didn’t work when I tried it. But luckily I found this great product right in my garage!
Wowza, right? As I was doing this I grabbed my camera. I shot some quick video with my phone (which is not edited) to show you the results. I only did this because as we were trying it we were so shocked at how well it worked!
Here’s the video of it in action:
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