How to Clean Your Scandinavian Birch Wood Furniture


Birch wood or bark is called “näver” in Swedish and “never” in Norway. It plays a great part in the historical part of Scandinavia being the main wood for furniture and home building. They were also used to build boats during the Viking era. Here you can learn how to clean your Scandinavian birch wood furniture.

Scandinavian birch wood has a tendency to become faded and discolored with age. That’s why if you have Scandinavian birch wood furniture at home, you should know how to properly maintain it.

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Cleaning birch wood furniture requires great care and careful polishing so it will look new and clean. If you want to make it look good as new, you’ll eventually have to do some restoration.

That being said, restoring your furniture can be done at home and is actually fairly easy. However, you will have to spend quite some time to finish the whole process.

How to Clean Your Scandinavian Birch Wood Furniture
Antique Scandinavian bookcase

Before you polish your birch wood, you need to clean off all the dirt on it. Similar to cleaning a hardwood floor, you need a few cleaning tools, and then to follow these steps to remove the dust.

Use a dusting rug to remove all the dirt, dust, and any other residue that might have settled on the wood.

If you find a lot of grease on it, use a degreasing cleaner. Fill a spray can with a degreasing cleaner and spray it on the entire furniture. Wait for a couple of minutes to let the cleaner settle in.

Clean using a scrub brush. Make sure you use gentle strokes to scrub off the dirt. You can use sandpaper to remove hard to clean stains from the surface of your furniture. However, only do this if you are only planning to restore it. After sanding the surface, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the wood particles.

How to Clean Your Scandinavian Birch Wood Furniture
Birchwood. Photo: Store norske leksikon

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Now that you got rid of all the dirt and grease and scrubbed the plywood clean, the next step is rinsing the wood.

Rinse the cabinet with water. Scandinavian birch wood is 100% waterproof so you won’t have to worry about them soaking up moisture. Let it dry. You can air-dry your furniture for the best results. However, if your furniture is very old, it’s not recommended to use water on it. You can dampen a rag and manually scrub it clean to remove the oil and chemicals on it.

Using a piece of cloth, daub on the finish restorer. Apply the cloth with the chemical to your furniture in circular motions. Rub the cloth all around it. Make sure that you don’t apply excess finish restorer. If you happen to excessively apply it, use a clean, damp cloth to remove it.

Now that you’ve completely cleaned your furniture, it’s time to make it look like new again. While the restorer helps a little in bringing back some of the original colors of the furniture, you need a little more to make it look new.

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How to Clean Your Scandinavian Birch Wood Furniture
Birch wood furniture on display. Photo: Drammen Museum, Norway

Use linseed oil to give it a glossy finish to the surface. Boil the linseed oil for a few minutes. Allow it to cool afterward. Use a paintbrush to apply it and completely cover your entire furniture. The linseed oil will get the original sheen of the wood back while casting a protective coating on it.

However, like all things the coating will wear off with time. So, you will have to repeat the process of cleaning and restoring after a few years from cleaning it.

How to Clean Your Scandinavian Birch Wood Furniture – Conclusion
Cleaning your Scandinavian birch wood furniture is fairly manageable but you also need to be gentle. They’re some of the best woods you can use for your furniture so you need to preserve them and treat them with care.

How to Clean Your Scandinavian Birch Wood Furniture, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Allen Michael.

Fature image (on top) 1950s Scandinavian antique birch dining chairs from Akerblom, Sweden

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Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.