Cleaning wooden chairs

I have a set of Heywood Wakefield dining chairs - blond wood, good varnish, but they're dull and grimy. I'd like to clean and shine up the wood when I re-do the cloth seats. What's the best stuff to clean furniture with? I've been told standard wax, and also oil and fine steel wool. I don't want or need to strip the varnish.
Thanks.
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" I have a set of Heywood Wakefield dining chairs - blond

I tend to wax only wood that has an initial wax finish, not over good varnish, and wax is not a cleaner. Further, should you revarnish in the future, the wax would resist being coated by varnish.You might try a sponge and soap, such as Murphey's Oil Soap, but I would steer clear of steel wool if the varnish is in good shape. Oil is for previously oiled - not varnished - wood. Bottom Line - stick to cleaning it - no wax, no oil, nor steel wool. Your local paint/hardware store will have both advice, and products that clean varnished but grimy surfaces.
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wrote:

Makes sense. The hardware person said that Murphy's Oil Soap might dull an old varnish finish, though it would be fine for one that was still new and tough. Mine is somewhere in between.
Thanks for the help. I might try a different hardware store...
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o-------= Charles Martin =--o
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Look around in www.refinishwizard.com forum for cleaning tables. If memory serves naptha is suggested often as it will strip any wax and AMY wax left will cause recoating problems.
On Sun, 10 Jul 2005 16:57:41 GMT, Charles Martin in Seattle

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The easiest method is to use BriWax. It comes in 4 or 5 shades including clear. Cleans, polishes, restores, and wax in one step, about $15 a can. Look for it at a woodworkers store or possibly online.
On Sat, 09 Jul 2005 20:07:51 GMT, Charles Martin in Seattle

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There are two ways to do this.
Add about a capful of a pH neutral dishwashing liquid like Dawn to a gallon of water. Saturate a fresh cleaning cloth with the solution and squeeze out any excess so it is damp and not dripping. Wipe down the chair with the damp cloth followed immediately with a fresh dry cloth. Wipe down the chair with a fresh cloth dampened with fresh water again following up immediately with fresh dry cloth. Finally wipe down the chair with mineral spirits. The soap solution will remove water soluble dirt and a good deal of wax and oily dirt. The mineral spirits will take care of any remaining wax and oily dirt. The idea with the soap solution is to clean the chair with it but not so deeply as to soak the wood.
The second way to clean the chair is to use Permatex DL Blue Label Hand Cleaner. This cleaner does not contain any abrasives or grit. You will need lots of clean cloths for this. You will still need to go over it with mineral spirits at the end to remove any remaining oils from the hand cleaner. The first method is a bit safer.
Going over the chair with wax to clean it will remove only a tiny amount of dirt. You will still have to rewax the chair if cleaned by either of the above methods.
Good Luck.

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