Homemade Dusting Spray and Wood Polish

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Homemade Dusting Spray and Wood Polish | NourishingJoy.com

Despite what some may think when they walk into my house on any given afternoon, I actually really like to clean.

(It's just the having to do lots of it every day that gets a little tiresome.)

One of the tasks I enjoy most is dusting. Perhaps it was because my mother taught me how to be a stickler and derive satisfaction from getting every piece of furniture completely clean. Or perhaps it's just because the house simply looks and smells cleaner when I'm done.

Whatever the reason, I enjoy it.

The problem is, however, that I haven't always had the right tools to get the job done right. Either the dusting spray has left the furniture surface greasy or tacky, or has smelled noxious. And even when I did find a “natural” spray I liked, it cost a pretty penny.

So (as usual), I set about on a mission to figure out a homemade version. And (as usual) I started by flipping over my favorite products and looking at their ingredients.

I must say, this is one of the homemade products that I am MOST pleased with. I've been using it for a number of years now and even with various grubby toddler hands and lots of life happening in our house, the surfaces polish up beautifully without any residues.

Which reminds me – please check out these wood care notes. In doing the research for this recipe, I learned that there's more to wood care than one might think!

Wood: Making It Shine – from Dr. Bronner's

Mineral Oil vs. Olive Oil in Wood Care (see the comments of this post) – from Amy Bayliss


Homemade Dusting Spray

You can make a simpler dusting spray with just olive oil and vinegar (and essential oils, if desired). See below for details.

ΒΎ cup water
1 T olive oil
2 T vodka (or white vinegar)
2 T white vinegar
1 T liquid glycerin (optional) – see where to buy glycerin
30-40 drops essential oil (clove, orange, lemon, etc)
ΒΌ teaspoon xanthan gum – see where to buy xanthan gum
Β½ teaspoon emulsifying wax, melted – see where to buy emulsifying wax

Place the water, olive oil, vodka, vinegar, glycerin, and essential oils in a blender and blend on high. While the motor is still running, add in the xanthan gum and emulsifying wax. Process for 10-15 seconds until slightly thickened.

Pour into a spritz bottle and use once a week.

Lasts up to 3 months.


Homemade Dusting Spray – Simplified Version

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
30-40 drops essential oil, optional (clove, orange, lemon, etc)

Place in a large spray bottle and shake vigorously. Spray directly on furniture (being careful of overspray) and buff with a clean, dry cloth.


The Ingredients

Olive Oil – Olive oil shines the wood and protects it. Olive oil has been used for millenia in this capacity, but some would argue that mineral oil should be used instead so that there's no chance of rancidity. As usual, my opinion falls in the camp of “whichever option is more naturally derived and requires less processing is the best one.” Olives can be pressed by hand – mineral oil requires multiple industrial cleaners to extract and clean it from the crude oil brought up out of the earth. Therefore, I choose the former. You may choose the latter – it's up to you (and I won't think less of you for it).

Vodka – Vodka is the secret weapon in many of my favorite cleaning recipes, and in this case, is present to cut through grease and grime on the wood surface, then evaporates quickly so there's no residue and no streaks.

White vinegar – White vinegar also cuts through grease and grime residues. It also acts as a mild disinfectant.

Liquid glycerin – Glycerin is an optional ingredient, but one that I really like to include whenever possible because it leaves a nicer shine on varnished and painted wood and I find it buffs more easily.

Essential oil (clove, orange, lemon, etc) – These are present merely for scent. They will certainly also impart whatever beneficial properties are inherent to that specific essential oil, but the purpose here is to make your home smell lovely and clean… in a natural, non-toxic way!

Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is a thickener so that the homemade dusting spray has the same lovely viscosity as store-bought dusting sprays.

Emulsifying wax – This is present for two reasons: one, it acts as a binder so that the ingredients stay homogenous once they're all blended together, and two, to provide a very slight protective coating on the wood. Waxes have long been used to seal and protect and the small amount here just fills in surface scuffs and scratches to give a smoother, glossier, protected finish.

And why emulsifying wax rather than beeswax? Well, they both work, but beeswax doesn't firm up as nicely and is thus just slightly tacky. Beeswax is sometimes easier to source though, so it is an acceptable option.


Like to make your own cleaners?

Check out a few of our other favorites:

Homemade Bleach

Homemade Bathtub Scrub (with a surprising secret ingredient)

Homemade Glass and Mirror Cleaner – oh, yeah. I haven't published this one yet. Soon – it's absolutely lovely! In the meantime, it's available in my e-book, Clean, Naturally!

Homemade Dusting Spray and Wood Polish | NourishingJoy.com

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  1. This sounds so easy, I can’t wait to try it! And I’ll be waiting with rag in hand for you to share your glass cleaner with us!!!

  2. Sounds great! We installed laminate floors and have not been able to find a cleaner that gets the film off of the floors. Do you think this will work for laminate floors? That would be soooo wonderful! Lots of work & money to install our floor and we have been so unhappy with it.

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work really well.

      You might want to leave the olive oil out of the recipe, as it wouldn’t be able to soak in as it does with wood and therefore it might leave a bit of a greasy residue, but definitely try it and let us know how it goes. πŸ™‚

    2. I have laminate floors too. I use white vinegar and cold water with fabric mop (one of those orange dotted ones you can buy anywhere and it is washable). I use the navy swabbing method of cleaning which is a narrow figure eight along the grain of the wood. (Hard to describe and picture but I don’t know how else to describe it). I tried everything to get mine clean and NOTHING was satisfying until this method. Good luck.

    1. Hi, Natalie!

      Emulsifying wax is a plant-based wax that is manufactured specifically for binding water and oil together – thus, it’s very common in cosmetic applications like creams and lotions, for example. You can find it at any soapmaking or cosmetic supply store, or at Mountain Rose Herbs.

      There’s more information at this link: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/wax/wax.html

      1. That’s interesting, b/c the emulsifying waxes I know of will only work when both the fatty base and the watery base are the same temperature > around 70C. Since you don’t recall for any of it to be heated, I assume this one will work with cold ingredients?

        1. That’s very interesting. I haven’t had any trouble with it, as long as the wax itself is liquid and it’s added while the everything else is in the blender on high speed. I haven’t tried it the other way – I’m woefully ignorant of how emulsifications are supposed to work, actually – and perhaps it would be even better! My ingredients are usually around 30C / 80F.

          Thanks for that note!

    1. Yes, I do. I use this spray in all the same applications that I would use a commercial dusting spray.

      I usually make sure I follow up any dusting of any type of surface by wiping the area with a dry cloth, just to make sure there’s not any dusting spray left sitting around, which if left for days or weeks, could become sticky (and thus attract dust).

      I only use this once a week at most. The rest of the time I just use a cloth lightly sprayed with water or white vinegar to do a quick wipe of surfaces.

      I hope that helps!

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  6. I ran out of polish today so I tried the second recipe with oil and a little glycerin added. It works great! It shined up all of my wood surfaces without leaving an oily residue. Makes me curious to try the full ingredients in the first recipe. I used peppermint oil and wow! My house smells wonderful and my family all noticed (that’s like a miracle in itself! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for posting this. I’m hooked.

    1. Altho it smells wonderful, peppermint can be toxic to cats – don’t use it anywhere they can walk and get it on their paws and then lick it off.

  7. I am so grateful for your website, and the efforts you are making to prevent pollution of our water supply and our homes. Would you tell me if 50% Isopropyl Alcohol is a safe substitute for the vodka in your dust spray recipe?
    Thank you!

    1. No, I wouldn’t use isopropyl alcohol merely because it acts as a solvent. Since the dusting spray is used on wood and other porous surfaces, it might mar the surface or strip varnishes, and we wouldn’t want to risk that. πŸ™‚

  8. I wish all my clients will learn to use ‘friendly’ products to clean their furniture. It’s time we start looking at the environment. Thanks for a great article.

  9. Thank you for your article. I’ve tried the simple recipe in Australia and it works great. However I’ve just moved to China where olive oil is an imported product, and is therefore a bit pricey and comes with some not so sustainable transport miles.
    Do you think sesame or nut oil would work as well?

    1. Yes, other nut oils or avocado oil should work just fine as well. Sesame might be a little overpowering, scent-wise, so personally, I’d go for something a bit more mild-flavored. πŸ˜‰

      Let us know how it goes!

  10. I am interested in making my own all-purpose cleaner which would be good for wood & glass. Any suggestions? I am geared towards any of the simplified versions. I currently use Pledge Multi-Surface which is good on metal, wood, glass & electronics… so a comparable homemade [simplified] version would be great!

    I notice that most wood cleaners leave a greasy residue, which is why I like the combined wood & glass cleaner. To avoid that, would adding more white vinegar (to the homemade wood cleaner) be harmful to the wood?

    If I add a bit of lemon juice (for scent) to the wood cleaner, do you think that would harm the wood?

    1. Well, I have a couple of thoughts – I think you’re definitely on the right track!

      Adding more vinegar shouldn’t hurt the wood at all, so that would definitely be an option. Also, you could take the oil out of the recipe completely so that the mixture could be used more easily on electronics and glass. If you want the benefits of the olive oil on the wood, just use it by itself every once in a while and buff well.

      As for the lemon juice, I think lemon juice would make the residue of the spray sticky. It would also shorten the shelf-life of the spray considerably. However, just a few drops of lemon essential oil (one of easiest and cheapest to find) would impart an even stronger scent and wouldn’t affect the spray adversely as the juice might.

      So, I hope that helps!

      1. So white vinegar alone would not hurt the wood at all, even with little or no olive oil? I know your ratio is 3/4 cup olive oil & 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar… so taking the oil out would leave you with only vinegar (for an all-surface cleaner).

        I appreciate your assistance… thank you so much!

  11. I soak orange peels in white vinegar to infuse them for the scent as well as the oils in the peel. Could I sub that infused vinegar for the plain vinegar in the recipe for dusting spray? For some reason I’m always hesitant about spraying anything on wood for fear of harming it.

      1. This is what I was wondering. I have a lemon tree and aside from feeding the peel down the garbage disposal I have little use for the peel. I really don’t like zest in food. It is too bitter for me even though I love the sour of the actual juice. I love the smell of the lemon. I wanted to use it in the recipe. Good to know the juice may make it sticky. I will try the infused vinegar thing. Thanks so much.

  12. I’m ready to “mix it up” now…just wondering if grape seed oil can be substituted for the olive oil (only ‘cuz I have a bottle of it, and don’t really know what else to use it for, ha). Thank you, Kresha! I really like your site.

    1. Sure! Olive oil is slightly more viscous, so it might coat the wood slightly differently (I haven’t tried it), but I wouldn’t think it would make a noticeable difference. Go for it! πŸ™‚

    2. It’s good for cooking too. Higher smoke temp than olive oil. I sometimes buy a mix of grape seed and olive oil. Helps it so the oil doesn’t burn and smoke so quickly.

  13. Thanks so much for this wood polish “recipe,” Kresha! I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand for the first option, so I tried the second and it worked beautifully! My wood furniture seems so nourished and shiny — and without the waxy/chemical residue that is usually left behind from the brand name wood cleaners. I substituted rose essential oil for the citrus ones you suggested, and it gave the polish a nice, subtle scent. What other oils would you suggest besides lemon or orange?

    1. Hmmm…. good question! I love the idea of rose essential oil. That would smell heavenly!

      I suppose the other direction I might try would be “woody” scents, like rosemary or spruce, or perhaps warm spices, like clove. Lavender and geranium are popular for cleaning, too, and if you like floral scents, they’d be lovely!

      Depends on what mood you’re in, I suppose! πŸ™‚

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    1. This has worked fabulously on every table, chair, cabinet, and shelf I’ve used it on, so assuming your table has some sort of finish on it (e.g. paint, lacquer, varnish), I would hope it would work beautifully on yours as well. πŸ™‚

  15. I love to find ways to make cleaning products instead of buying all those expensive chemicals! This is a perfect addition to our Spring Cleaning Party! I’ve repinned!! Thanks for sharing… Sending you PIN love from pin-n-tell.com πŸ™‚

  16. Hi there –

    Thanks for posting – have been trying to find a homemade dusting solution for some time now, and am disappointed with all, so will have to try this one. Curious though – I thought that white vinegar had a high acidity level (why its such a great disinfectant) so if used on wood it would strip it….confused.

    1. You’re absolutely right. Vinegar UNDILUTED can eat at some finishes, but when it’s diluted, it’s just fine. And in this case, it’s also accompanied by an oil, which helps protect the wood as well, so in this case, the vinegar shouldn’t harm the wood at all.

      I hope that helps!

  17. Theresa asked: “I am interested in making my own all-purpose cleaner which would be good for wood & glass. Any suggestions?”

    This is the best all-around cleanser I’ve found… cheap, effective and natural.
    1 quart white vinegar (I use orange or lemon peel-infused vinegar)
    1 quart water
    3-4 Tbsp Dawn dish detergent

    I double the recipe to make a full gallon in an empty vinegar gallon jug and pour into the spray bottle when needed.

    Sanitizes and cuts grease very well, better than 409 or other commercial stuff. Works in kitchen and bathroom, cleans shower walls, sinks, faucets, mirrors, windows, even the toilet. Completely nontoxic and smells great, better than commercial chemical crud.

    Been using it two years… I don’t use anything else now..

  18. Kresha, This is great- thank you! Would this work to polish real Hardwood Floors? I’m actually also searching for a natural solution to clean hardwood floors as well. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear : )

    1. Yes, absolutely, this works beautifully on hardwood floors! Of course, always test it in a corner first to verify, but I’ve had great success with it.

      As for a cleaner, I would recommend just a basic all-purpose cleaner, such as this one:

      2 1/2 cups water
      1 1/2 cups white vinegar
      1 teaspoon liquid castile soap (optional)
      40 drops essential oils (mint & clary sage or cinnamon & orange are current favorites)

      Place in a large spray bottle and shake well. Makes 1 quart.

      I hope that helps! πŸ™‚

      UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this works beautifully on hardwood floors that are polyurethaned, not on hardwood floors that are waxed. I’ve never tried it on a waxed floor, but typically you don’t want to use anything wet on a waxed floor. The vast majority of hardwood floors are polyurethaned these days, so I made that assumption when I gave my original answer.

    1. The basic all-purpose cleaner I listed above is excellent for laminate flooring – I use it regularly. πŸ™‚

    1. Y’know, I haven’t found an alternative for the emulsifying wax, so feel free to skip it if needed. You’ll just need to shake the mixture vigorously before each use. πŸ™‚

    1. Hmm….. I’m not sure. Provided they have a urethane finish, I think it would work just fine, but definitely try it in a corner first to see if polishes nicely on your specific floors. I know with bamboo you need to be careful to make sure no oil is used, both for concern about being absorbed and for leaving behind a sticky finish, but generally the products that create problems are entirely oil (like orange oil or oil soap) and not in the ratios here.

      I’m not sure that helps, but hopefully so! πŸ™‚

  19. From the little I know about essential oils or fragrances and using them in the home I understand spiders do not like mint and some people mix it with water in a sprayer for insect control. Therefore, it would make since to use it in this recipe unless it is harsh in wood or finished surfaces. Do you know if this might be the case or would it be safe? I soooo love the idea of these cleaners. Thank you!

    1. I’m sorry – are you asking if this dusting spray would be safe for spiders? Please clarify and I’d love to help. πŸ™‚

      1. I’ve seen mint oil recommended to help control spiders, so I would think it could be advantageous in the dusting spray as well as the wood polish. However, I’m not familiar enough with it to know if it will harm wood or other surfaces. If not it would be great to use in place of insecticides and take care of two problems at once- dusting and spider control. Do you are anyone else know if it is harmful to surfaces?

        1. Ah! Got it. πŸ˜‰

          To my knowledge, either peppermint or spearmint would work just fine without damaging wood. However, I don’t know if the amount of essential oil in the recipe would be enough to make a difference for spider control. It would make your home smell mighty fresh, though! πŸ™‚

          I’m sorry I’m not of more help. I’m definitely not an essential oil expert. :/

          1. Don’t use peppermint if you have cats, it is toxic to them (see my comment above, otherwise happy cleaning!

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  21. found the article good but have some queries
    1. what about if we add turpentine oil in addition?
    2. if using bee wax what is the right time to put molten wax in mixture?.
    3. any alternative for xanthum gum

  22. In the first recipe you mention shelf life is three moths have about the second one with olive oil ,vinegar and EO how long is last or can be used?

  23. Most furniture has a polyurethane or similar finish on it. Oils do nothing for the wood as the finish is a hard plastic or similar coating. Now if you have furniture with only stain or is natural, then oils will help condition the wood.

  24. So I just tried the second recipe. When I put it into my spray bottle, it was too thick to come through the nozzle. I added extra vinegar and essential oils, but then it wasn’t as easy to combine. I tried it anyway. Looks nice, but I’m curious…how long do I have to wait for the oily residue to go away? I’m not unhappy with the way it looks at all, but the way it feels. I’m afraid to touch it or put anything on it after this. I’m also curious as to using other cleaners at a later date….will it be an issue trying to remove the thick oil left behind?

    1. Well, that second recipe is definitely heavier on the oil than the first and in my experience, just following it up with a dry buffing with a lint-free cloth will create the feel/shine you want. (By the way, I’m assuming you used it on wood?)

      And no, there shouldn’t be any issue with using any other cleaners in the future. I’ve used these two recipes for years and interspersed them with other store-bought polishes and our furniture still look and feel just like I want them to.

      I hope that helps!

      1. Just wondering if using the wax in the blender hurts the blender…. I have a vitamix. I am excited to try this recipe just want to make sure the wax is OK in the blender. Thanks,

        1. I’ve never had an issue with it, but I would definitely make sure that you add the wax while the motor is running so it immediately begins to emulsify rather than clumping up.

          Also, if you’re concerned, you might want to check with Vitamix first to make sure it won’t void whichever particular warranty you have.

          Side note: if you have a smaller blender, you might want to try it there first. After making this in my BlendTec for a year or so, I found a blender at the thrift store for about $5 and I use it for household recipes, just so if something doesn’t work properly (especially when I’m developing new recipes), I don’t worry about gunking up the expensive blender! Not that that will help today….

          Have fun!

  25. This recipe is AMAZING!! My Pledge was running out,and I was in a pinch so I gave this a try. I didn’t have the wax, so I left that out, and it still created a beautiful shine. In fact, I used the rest of my Pledge and did a side by side sample to see the difference, and this recipe produces far better results. I’m someone who is usually sceptical about diy products such as this, but it is a keeper! I’ll never buy Pledge again! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad!!! I prefer it too, but then I’m biased. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for letting us know how it worked for you!

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  27. I came across this article looking up the do’s and dont’s of green cleaning wood. You have a fantastic list of cleaning ingredients and do such a great job of breaking down their properties and benefits. This is great information that’s highly valuable and yet an easy read. Thank you! πŸ™‚

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  31. Hi! I have a question. First, I just want to say I like very simple recipes. I just finished using up another diy wood cleaner that I had made a while ago with grated castile soap and water. I was on the lookout for something different that I could make more easily.
    I had read about using just white vinegar and water, but what you say about adding oil makes sense. I’m thinking of just adding those 3 ingredients.
    My question is: does it have to be olive oil? I only have canola oil on hand. Also, could I make a bunch so it’ll last a long time, or is it better to make just a little at a time?

    1. That’s a great question! It can definitely be any oil – grapeseed, canola, olive, whatever you have on hand. I would simply recommend that you not use any oil that has a definite aroma (like sesame), as then your whole home may smell of sesame. πŸ™‚

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    1. Hmm… I’ll look into that. In the meantime, it can be accessed by signing up for our weekly e-mails, which you can do either by clicking the little envelope icon in the menu at the top of every page or by clicking the “subscribe” button in the box at the bottom of every post (the one that has a picture of a cabbage as a background). I’m sorry I don’t have a direct link to share with you, but one you sign up, you’ll be taken directly to the page where you can download the “Clean, Naturally!” e-book.

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