You don’t have to be a woodworking expert to fix up old furniture. If you inherited a piece that needs a little TLC, try these do-it-yourself fixes before swapping it out for something brand new…
To remove old polish and stubborn dirt: Place two bags of black tea in one quart of water and bring it to a boil. Once the tea cools to room temperature, dampen a cloth with the solution and wipe the furniture. Buff dry with a soft cloth.
To remove water stains: If it’s a ghostly outline from a minor spill, rub a small bit of mayonnaise over the gray splotch. Buff dry. If it’s a white ring that looks like permanent damage (don’t give up!), mix white toothpaste with an equal amount of baking soda (usually a half-teaspoon of each will work), then rub the mixture into the problem area. Wipe the paste away and dry completely. If the area seems a little dull, rub with a little olive oil and buff dry.
To hide a scratch on dark wood: Make a paste of instant coffee (a tablespoon or two mixed with one or two drops water). Use a Q-tip to apply to the scratch or nick. This is when a coffee stain comes in handy!
To cover up a ding on varnished wood: Use an appropriately colored eyebrow pencil, shoe polish or crayon. You can also try rubbing a pecan, walnut, Brazil nut or peanut into the scratch.
To fix a dent in mahogany: A little iodine will hide most minor scratches in reddish wood. Apply with a clean cloth or a Q-tip, testing a tiny bit at a time.