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Can You Use Baking Soda on Wood? (Quick Answers)

Baking soda is a multipurpose item and is an alternative to commercial cleaners. However, some materials do not react well to the abrasive and alkaline properties of baking soda, which results in stains or decolorization. Hence, we will discuss if you should use baking soda for cleaning wooden surfaces.

Using baking soda on wood

Wooden surfaces will go through if you clean those with baking soda. Baking soda is corrosive. As a result, it will ruin the wood sealants and cause staining. Instead of baking soda, you can use a solution of dish soap and water to clean any wooden surfaces, as that will not harm the material.

Although baking soda is an effective cleaner and is available almost everywhere, some people will advise against using it on some surfaces. For example, you should not clean a marble countertop regularly using baking soda because it will cause staining and decolorization. Similarly, wooden surfaces go through significantly when baking soda comes in contact with them.

Here are some reasons why baking soda is not a solution for cleaning wooden surfaces:


Baking soda is abrasive and will likely decolorize the wooden surface. Moreover, any residue left on the surface will stain it. You will have to sand and reseal the stained area to fix it. Otherwise, the stain will stay there permanently. Additionally, baking soda will deplete the wood sealant and reduce its lifetime.


Wood has molecules of tannins. Tannins are present in the bark of trees which protect them from harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. The acidity of tannins varies from one tree to another. On the other hand, baking soda is an alkaline material. So, it reacts with the tannins in wooden materials and creates dark permanent stains. Unless you sand the area and reseal it, you will not be able to remove it.

Ruin furniture:

Furniture made of wood has loads of sealants to hold the pieces together. However, baking soda can be hard on wood sealants. If you apply baking soda to a piece of wooden furniture, it will eat up the sealants and cause the furniture to break down. If it does not break down completely, the joints and pieces of wood will come out of the furniture. Additionally, it will stain the wood and cause a darkening of the area.

These reasons are convincing enough to not use baking soda to clean wooden surfaces. Therefore, do not use baking soda for cleaning purposes on wooden surfaces unless you are sure that the wood has insignificant amounts of tannins. Also, if you want to make some natural-looking stains, you can use baking soda.

Does baking soda remove oil stains from wood?

Wood is a hard material but most people fail to realize that it is porous. Some liquids can get inside the wood and cause stains. Similarly, you can use a little oil to polish and make the surface smoother but a large amount will effectively stain the wood.

Baking soda is abrasive and has a reputation for removing stubborn dirt, grease, or stains. It does remove oil stains from wood. To remove oil stains from a wooden surface, sprinkle a layer of baking soda, about ¼ of an inch, and leave it for several hours. The powder will effectively absorb the oil from the wood and you will have to vacuum the powder after the stain goes away.

However, if you leave baking soda on the wooden surface for too long, it will stain the wood. As a result, you will have more stains on your wood instead of removing oil stains. So, check the stained area frequently after sprinkling the baking soda powder and remove it as soon as possible to avoid permanent darkening of the wood.

How to safely use baking soda on wood surfaces?

Baking soda is alkaline and abrasive which makes it an excellent cleaner. The high pH of baking soda makes it effective for cleaning stubborn dirt, grime, and stains from food materials. The alkalinity lifts the food and dissolves it which you can later wash off using water at room temperature.

However, the alkaline and abrasive nature of baking soda make it dangerous for wooden materials, surfaces, and furniture. It can cause wooden surfaces to decolorize or bleach and stain permanently. Therefore, most people advise against using baking soda or baking soda with vinegar on wood because it can dull the surface and irreparably ruin them.

If you are sure about the type of wood you are working with and know for certain that the wood has low amounts of tannins, you can use baking soda on it. To stay on the safe side, do not use too much baking soda. Sprinkle some powder on the surface and after you have completed cleaning the surface, vacuum or gently wipe off the powder to avoid any damage to the wood.

What are the best things to use to clean wood floors and furniture?

For people who do not wish to use baking soda to clean wooden floors and furniture for obvious reasons, we have compiled a list of materials you can use to clean them. Using these items, your wood floors will look clean and shiny.


Frankly, water can clean most stains and grimes from the floor. You will only need a microfiber mop to clean the floor with water. If you do not have a microfiber mop, a regular mop will do the job just fine. However, remember to air dry the floor after you have completed cleaning. Otherwise, water will seep into the wood and cause stains.

Vacuum cleaners:

Vacuum cleaners are an excellent choice for cleaning wood surfaces and floors. Using a vacuum cleaner, you can clean the surface regularly without damaging it. However, you cannot remove any stubborn grimes with a vacuum cleaner alone. Therefore, vacuum the surfaces and any small corner where you know dust collects.

Commercial cleaners:

If you notice scratches on your wooden floor, you can resort to using a commercial cleaner to fix that. Also, commercial spot cleaners can remove scratches from any spot on a wooden surface. Moreover, if you regularly clean your wooden floor and furniture, you can use cleaners with specific cleaning chemicals for wood. As a result, you will not hurt the material using these, and the surface will look shiny.

Hydrogen peroxide:

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent. It can react rapidly to its surroundings and remove stubborn dirt and stains. The bleaching property of hydrogen peroxide makes it suitable for treating spot stains.

You are unsure whether it will decolorize the wooden floor; it will not. It is safe for hardwood flooring, and you will not observe any decolorizing after using the product. To apply hydrogen peroxide, you can soak a cloth and leave it over the stain for 6 hours. After that, you can remove it, and the dark spot will likely be gone.


Vinegar is like baking soda but better suited for wood. You will find vinegar almost everywhere, even in your kitchen. The availability of vinegar makes it suitable for the suggestion of it as an alternative to cleaning products.

Vinegar is an effective cleaner. If you wish to clean your wood floors with vinegar, you can start by adding it to water. Add ½ cup of vinegar to a bucket of lukewarm water, and you can use a mop to clean the wooden floor. If possible, use another mop to dry the floor after cleaning it with vinegar. Any residue might result in an unwanted stain.

Paper towel:

It is always advisable to keep paper towels around wooden tables and furniture. If liquid spills on the table, dry it using a paper towel. But if it is a dark-colored liquid or something that will leave a difficult-to-remove stain, immediately try removing it from the surface using a paper towel. If it is sticky, dip a paper towel in water and clean the wooden surface. Then, use a microfiber cloth to dry it.

Feather duster:

Feather dusters are very advantageous for dusting wooden furnishings regularly. At night, dust the furniture to keep them looking shiny. After cleaning, you should use a soft cotton cloth to remove any scratches or smudges on the surface. Do not forget the legs, arms, and other wood supports, as those collect a lot of dust.

There are alternatives to baking soda for cleaning wooden surfaces and furniture. If you are worried about staining your favorite piece of furniture using baking soda, do not worry. You can use any of the alternatives listed above instead of baking soda.

Final Thoughts

It is not ideal to use baking soda for cleaning wooden surfaces as it can cause darkening of the wood and leave stains. But, it can remove difficult oil stains and grimes if you use it in small amounts cautiously. Also, there are other items, such as vinegar, that you can use as alternatives.