How do you clean wood carvings?

In wood carving, there are two kinds of people, the ones who love carving crafts, and go a step further to learning and mastering the craft. And there are those who show their love for the craft through collecting carved pieces. So, how do you clean wood carvings once you have carved or collected?

Before we dive into cleaning, what tools do you need for this action to happen?

Tools You Need To Clean Wood Carving

Below are some of the tools you can use to take off the dust and liquids to use if needed, which will leave your wood carving looking clean.

Feather Dusters

Feather dusters are by far the most common way to clean wood carvings. This method is used in cleaning large wood carvings because with large pieces it is easier to remove the dust.

The feathers are light and soft and the advantage of this characteristic. is that you don’t have to be careful when cleaning the wood carvings because they cannot cause any damage.

The feather dusters also come in different sizes and so if you are a regular cleaner for smaller carvings, it will come in handy.

Flat Toothpicks

Toothpicks are mostly used to clean the hard-to-reach places like the grooves on your wood carvings. When using a flat toothpick, wrap one end with a cotton cloth or any soft cloth that is at your disposal.

Avoid using the same part of the cloth to avoid spreading dust and you should always use a fresh area every time you are cleaning.

Soft-Bristled Brush

The soft-bristled brush is mostly used when the dust has settled for quite some time. The brush is soft but stiffer than the feather dusters.

The stiffness is enough not to accidentally damage your wood carving and it is also used in hard-to-reach places like the grooves of the wood carving.

Fluids To Clean Wood Carvings

If your wood carving needs more than tools to clean, here are some fluids you can use to clean;

Warm Water

I am sure some are thinking to themselves ” What is wrong with cold water?” Warm water will clean off the dust more efficiently than cold water and this will save you time.

Remember the water you are using is not hot but warm, because hot water can cause your wood to split and form cracks.

Non-Toxic Wood Cleaners

When cleaning wood carvings, avoid using generic soap to clean. The generic soap will discolor the carving, so, when it’s time to clean your wood carving, I would recommend you to buy wood cleaners that don’t contain components that may disagree with your wood carving.

A cleaning solution you can make at home is mixing olive oil, lemon, and water.

Steps To Clean Wood Carvings

Step 1

Use feather dusters to brush away dust from the entire piece of wood carving and if you will be dusting regularly this will be the only step you will be doing. At times, you can use a polish to preserve the shine.

Step 2

Brush the carved areas of the wood carving with a soft-bristled brush and make sure to concentrate on the corners and grooves where dust is most certainly to gather.

Step 3

Remove any stubborn grime with a soft cloth and a small number of non-toxic cleaners where the mineral spirit is largely used for this work. If dirt is embedded in carved areas, dip a cotton swab in a mineral spirit and it will do the work.


One thing you need to know “How do you clean wood carvings?” is, cleaning with rough tools will damage your wood carving and the sealing on the wood might come off. To be on the safe side, always use smooth materials like cotton.

You should also make it a habit of cleaning your wood carvings regularly to avoid dust building up because when abandoning them for long, it will be a long day for you when cleaning.

Choosing the right method for cleaning wood carving depends on how regularly you clean it. Cleaning wood carvings is not a complicated job mostly if your wood has not collected dust for long. When the dust has not settled in the wood carving use feather dusters or soft-bristled brush to brush off the dust particles, flat toothpicks to clean the hard-to-go places with your brush.

If the wood carvings have not been clean for some time, the dust hardens due to it mixing with moisture in the atmosphere, and in this scenario, you will need extra help and that’s the fluids comes in. The fluids you use to clean wood carvings are mainly warm water and non-toxic wood cleaners that are made to clean wood carvings or wood furniture.

When using the wrong methods when cleaning your wood carving, the outcome won’t be satisfying.

2 thoughts on “How do you clean wood carvings?

    1. The dilution for the olive oil, lemon, and water cleaning solution is not specified in the article. However, it is recommended to use non-toxic wood cleaners that are specifically made for cleaning wood carvings or furniture to avoid damaging the piece.

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