Homemade Help To Restore Dry Wood

We’re in the midst of a re-carpeting project here at my house and several rooms (including my little blogging office) are being cleared out so the grubby old carpet can be ripped up as we get ready for the new stuff to come in a few more days.  All this emptying of rooms and moving of furniture is giving me a chance to sort through my stuff and decide what’s worth bringing back into the rooms again, and what I might want to just toss out. (And in the meantime, I sure am missing my blogging desk!)

blogging desk

Among the odds and ends in my blogging office that I’m sorting through is a little folding wood tray table.  At first glance you would think it would be one of the things to toss out.  It’s in rough shape!  It’s at least 25 years old, was used outdoors by my kids for many years, and then sat in our shed for a few more years.  But a few years ago when I started blogging I dragged it out of the shed and put it to use again.  It’s a perfectly sized little table for staging many of my blogging photos.

How to restore dry wood

So yeah, it looks pretty bad, but I use it ALL the time.  It’s still a keeper!

And because it’s a keeper and it’s going to get a place sitting on the fancy shmancy new carpet soon,  I decided it was time to show my little wood folding table some love and get it spruced up a bit.  Even though I always cover it with some kind of cloth or other background for my blog photos, it still needed some TLC and I wanted it to look a little nicer sitting in the room.

My Homemade Method For Restoring Wood

The wood on this little folding table was very dried out and had several water rings and spots.  I knew that one of the homemade ways to get rid of white water spots on furniture is to try mayonnaise.  I’ve also used a homemade remedy for dry wood made of mayonnaise, olive oil, and lemon juice with good success in the past.  So it was mayonnaise to the rescue!

How to restore dry wood

Because the top of the table was in the worst shape, I started out by just putting straight mayonnaise on the top of the table.  I let it sit for 10 minutes and then wiped it off.  After this treatment the wood looked much less dry and some of the white spots were barely visible anymore.  It didn’t get rid of the spots completely, but what happens is once the wood is re-hydrated, these spots begin to look more like the natural colorations of the wood, and they don’t look as much like damage anymore.

I then finished up by wiping down the rest of the table (and the top again too) with my mayonnaise / olive oil / lemon juice mixture.  This mixture also did a very nice job of re-hydrating the wood.  In fact if I could do again, I think I would skip the straight mayonnaise and just use this mixture on the whole table.  I don’t think the straight mayonnaise was any more effective and it used up quite a bit of mayonnaise.

This homemade mixture for restoring wood uses equal parts of mayo, olive oil, and lemon juice.  I find that about a tablespoon of each of those ingredients makes a good size batch.

Here’s how to do it:

Homemade Wood Restoration Mixture


  • 1 tablespoon Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

Combine the mayonnaise, olive oil, and lemon juice in a bowl and stir to mix together.  Dip the edge of a cloth in the mixture and then wipe it across the wood, rubbing it into the wood as you go.  Keep re-dipping the cloth in the mixture as needed to keep applying the mixture to the wood.  I suggest you use an older rag or cloth that you don’t care about ever using again and are willing to toss out.  This is a mixture with oil in it and doesn’t wash out of the cloth well.  Don’t use your best microfiber cloth for this project.

After this treatment my table looked MUCH better.  It doesn’t look brand new of course, and the pictures here might not do it justice, but it really was a big improvement.

Here’s the top of the table:

How to restore dry wood

And the underside of the table:

How to restore dry wood


It even looks good enough to be setting around the house again!

restore dry wood 9

So before you give up and just get rid of an old piece of wood furniture that you might still like to keep, why not give this homemade remedy a try? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your final results!

Update:  Read about a second project I tried with this mixture that also turned out great!

= = > How To Restore Dry Wood Project #2



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  1. I used mayo, lemon juice, olive oil on barn beams that act as a fireplace mantle. It has changed the colour to dark brown. What should I do.

    1. Whenever I have used this mixture it does make the wood look darker at first because it is rehydrated. However that darkness does fade over time.

  2. Can I apply a finish after this treatment? I have a old chest that spent one too many summers in a Phoenix garage and just wanted to try this to restore moisture before applying restor a finish

    1. I think you probably could still add a finish, however I would wait a couple days after using the homemade treatment to make sure it has thoroughly dried.

    1. I have never personally done it, but I do think you could paint the wood after this treatment. I think the key would be to make sure the wood is completely dry before proceeding on with any painting.

  3. I wonder if you could use this on old hardwood floors? I have an area in my hall that is very dry and I keep it hidden under an area rug.

    1. I think it’s definitely worth a try. It can’t hurt the wood in any way so it will either look better or will be the same as before. I hope it works for your situation!