Even if you don’t have time to undertake a full room cleaning, knowing how to clean coffee tables may make your living or family room look tidy and welcoming. You’ll discover assistance below whether you’re seeking to remove water rings, fix scratches on wood coffee tables, or give your metal or glass coffee table a beautiful shine.

Cleaning Wood Coffee Tables

Properly cared for, a wood coffee table can last for years. It’s easy to update as your decorating tastes change, too. Swap the legs, change out the hardware, or add a lick of paint — it’s such a good investment, but you need to know how to clean wood coffee tables to get your money’s worth.

Removing Water Rings from Wood

Finding white rings on your finished wood coffee table is a sign that someone hasn’t been using coasters beneath drinking glasses or coffee cups. If you don’t have coasters, get some. They’re not just for grandmas: coasters keep condensation on glasses from seeping into the surface of your coffee table.

Finished Wood Coffee Tables

White rings are moisture trapped between the finish and the wood surface. Sometimes, these will go away on their own, but if you’ve been frowning at the same spot for more than a week, it’s time to try one or more of the following methods.

  • Take a cloth and wipe off any visible dust you see. It’s always good to take care of this before you start cleaning.
  • Next, mix up your furniture cleaner and polish. Add a few drops of olive oil to some vinegar or lemon juice. You won’t need too much for this, so it’s best to start with a little bit and make more if you need it. If you find you want more or less oil the next time you use it, this recipe is easily tweakable until you have the type of cleaner that you need.
  • Pour some of your new furniture cleaner onto one of the cloths. Going with the grain, rub it into the wood. If there are water rings or white spots, this will also help to remove them. If the spots aren’t coming off, add a bit more oil to your solution.
  • After you’ve wiped down the entire table, take a new cloth and wipe off all of the excess oil.
  • With a third fresh cloth, buff the table to shine it up.

Unfinished Wood

To remove water rings from unfinished wood coffee tables, make a paste of 1 tablespoon baking soda and a few drops of water. Rub this mixture into the wood following the grain then wipe it away with a clean cloth. Follow with a 1-minute blast from your hair dryer using the lowest setting to ensure the area is fully dry.

Treating Scratches on Wood Coffee Tables

Shallow, superficial scratches on wood furniture often disappear when you use a moisturizing polish.

Deeper scratches in wood coffee tables (the kind you can feel with your fingers) need to be filled and then sealed.

Polishing Wood Coffee Tables Naturally

Once you’ve treated water stains and scratches on your wood coffee table, clean it using a microfiber cloth and mild soapy water. Be sure to wring out the cloth well, so the water doesn’t seep into your coffee table’s surface. Follow with a dry, lint-free cloth.

Cleaning Metal Coffee Tables

Cleaning most metal coffee tables is pretty straightforward. If yours is particularly dirty, or if there are rust spots on it, you may want to do this outside. If that’s not an option, position a thick, old towel beneath the table to protect your floor.

Chrome Coffee Tables

Treat small rust spots on chrome coffee tables by rubbing a damp ball of crumpled aluminum foil on the rusty areas. The reaction between the water, foil, and rust creates aluminum oxide which polishes the chrome.

Stainless Steel

Like your kitchen appliances, stainless steel coffee tables are fairly easy to clean. Use the process above for lacquered metal to remove grime and most smudges.

To get fingerprints off of stainless steel coffee tables and give them a nice shine, rub them with a cloth dipped in olive or baby oil then buff dry with a fresh, lint-free cloth.

Powder-Coated or Painted Metal

If the surface is in good shape, give the table a quick once-over with a dry cloth to remove dust then a wipe it with a damp microfiber cloth. Dip the cloth into mild, soapy water to treat sticky spots, and use an old toothbrush to clean crevices. Wipe with a clean, damp rag then a dry one.

If the paint is flaking or wearing away, you’ll want to take the table outside on a sunny day. Then, using a stiff-bristled brush, scrub until the flakes are gone. Wash the table with soap and water, rinse, and let it air dry. Use a spray primer for metal to cover the cleaned areas then repaint.

Glass Coffee Tables

Glass coffee tables could not be easier to clean. A lint-free microfiber cloth will help you clean your table much faster. If you have no choice but to use newspaper, then be careful of the ink transfer that is bound to happen once it gets wet. Wear gloves to be on the safe side.

All soaps aren’t suitable to be used in the cleaning solution because of their tendency to leave stains behind. Choose soft soaps and keep the amount to a minimum.

If you are using a cleaner like vinegar, you should always opt for the undiluted form or else you might be left with significant streaks on the glass tabletop.

Clean a Leather Table Top

Leather tabletops used to be a luxurious feature of only high-end tables. Today you can find leather tabletops on almost any kind of table. Because tabletops are subjected to many kinds of abuse, leather tabletops are treated with water- and stain-resistant finishes. Incorrect cleaning methods can damage or ruin this finish, however, leaving your leather tabletop vulnerable to water spots, stains and wear damage. You can keep your leather tabletop looking new by using the proper cleaning and maintenance procedures.

  • Wipe off the tabletop with a soft cloth to remove any dust or debris.
  • Moisten a clean rag with water until it is barely damp. Rub the damp rag over a bar of moisturizing soap, lightly, to pick up some of the soap on the rag.
  • Wipe the leather tabletop with the rag, rubbing in circular motions. Work quickly to minimize the amount of time the leather tabletop is in contact with water.
  • Dampen a clean rag with water. The rag should be damp but not dripping.
  • Wipe the leather tabletop until all traces of soap are gone, again working quickly. You may need to dampen a second clean rag to clean off all the soapy residue from the leather tabletop.
  • Dry the leather tabletop with a clean hand towel. Wipe over the surface of the tabletop to remove the water, and allow the leather to air dry.
  • Apply a coat of leather conditioner to the tabletop to replace any oils lost in the cleaning process. Follow the conditioner’s instructions on how to apply it and work it into the leather.

Tips To Keep Coffee Tables Clean

  • Use coasters under beverages. Opt for ones made from an absorbent material with a non-slip back that are easy to clean.
  • A decorative tray keep frequently-used items like TV remotes from looking like clutter.
  • Add felt pads to the bottom of trays and other objects you display on your coffee table to prevent scratches.
  • Tidy your coffee table and give it a quick wipe as part of your daily cleaning routine. This regular attention lets you deal with water rings and stuck-on paper before they become a permanent problem.

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