Whether you’ve bought reclaimed barnwood furniture from us and want to know how to clean it, or you’re simply researching rustic barnwood as material before purchasing, we’re glad you’re here. In today’s blog post we’re going to discuss the best care and cleaning practices for your reclaimed wood so you can be sure it will last for years to come.

We have more information about what reclaimed wood is, but we’ll discuss it a little here. One of our favorite things about barnwood furniture is its sustainability. It’s not wood that came directly from a forest, so you’re helping the planet. It’s also known for the beautiful character and rustic feel it gives to a space. We believe that there’s a certain enviable atmosphere you can only accomplish by using reclaimed wood — but you need to make sure you’re taking care of it and maintaining its beauty.

Your barnwood dining room table or your reclaimed barnwood coffee table may just be a family heirloom one day if you give them just a little bit of attention and love.

Check The Finish

Whether it’s your shelves, table, or reclaimed barnwood kitchen cabinets, you’ll want to know that the wood is properly finished. Ensuring it has been treated will help protect the piece and make cleaning easier. 

Also be aware of what is or isn’t necessary because of the finish. For example, shellac varnishes do not protect very well against spills, so watermarks would need to be wiped up immediately and coasters would be a must if your furniture has this finish. 

All of our barnwood is finished with a commercial grade conversion varnish.  It allows the wood to retain its rich character and beauty but still have a smooth buttery soft feel (no slivers here!).

Conversion varnish is a two-part spray on finish that catalyzes (hardens) and creates a fantastic moisture barrier.  We’ve sold this same finish for large scale bar and restaurants.  These places take more wear and tear in a week than most homes do in a month!

Get Wood Cleaner

There are obviously a lot of wood cleaners on the market, so you’ll need to do your research before committing to one. A mixture of olive oil, white vinegar, and water works great for cleaning reclaimed wood that hasn’t been treated. If the wood has been treated, however, simply use a gentle soap and a damp cleaning rag.

If there are tricky areas that have crumbs or other buildup stuck in them, you can use a soft brush. Many companies also make soaps specifically for cleaning wood. Dilute it with some water and wash away!

Clean Regularly

Barnwood may capture that down-to-earth feeling perfectly but it should still be cleaned as often as you would with more standard furniture.


Unless you have furniture that’s moisture resistant (like our reclaimed wood finish) you’re going to get watermarks. If you have furniture with a more traditional polyurethane finish or shellac varnish you’re going to need coasters. Even with coasters it only takes one careless guest to create a watermark. Luckily there are a few ways to clean them, including baking soda, salt, water, or even non-gel toothpaste.

Watch Out For Heat

There is one thing that no finish is immune to the effects of…Heat! Hot dishes or plates right out of the oven should never be set directly on a wood table.  Always use a hot pad or trivet to keep a second layer between your furniture and hot dishes.  

You’ll also want to be careful with heating vents or fireplaces. During colder months when you’re using heating and fireplaces more often, place a humidifier nearby or even just a cup of water  in your reclaimed wood kitchen cabinets. This will help moisture to go back into the wood.

Rustic barnwood furniture and kitchen cabinets are an investment. They’ll bring so much beauty and character to your home. Reclaimed wood will have its own quirks, patterns, and distinct differences, but stains don’t belong. Keep it clean, healthy, and well maintained with our tips here! And when you’re ready to purchase more, we have plenty of options you’ll love.

April 12, 2018