I have a penchant for old wooden bowls. I search for them everywhere; estate sales, junk yards, garage sales… I even found one in the trash a few months ago! Why, you might ask… look how horrid they look, all dirty and moldy and grimy. Yuck, you would say if you were my husband.
Just wait, I would reply… let me work my magic and you’ll see!
Here is my cleanup and restoration method… Look at this old wooden bowl I found at a garage sale over the weekend. It is filthy and stained. It has moldy patches on it. It is discolored.
First, I am going to show you how I clean it up and then I’ll show you how to make a polish to restore it’s splendor and make it shine. I use my bowls for displaying my collections of acorns and stones and such. I don’t use them for food. If I did, I’d use an olive oil/beeswax polish instead.
For cleaning, you’ll need boiling water and bicarb of soda (the stuff you put in your fridge to keep it smelling nice)
What you’ll need for the polish is odorless turpentine, beeswax and your favorite essential oil… mine is lavender.
To clean the bowl, I soak it in warm water for a few minutes. Then I scrub it with dish detergent and a scrubbing brush (here’s a use for that no-longer-needed bottle brush)
I scrub it hard. Then I rinse it and fill it with boiling water, letting it stand for a few minutes.
I pour out the boiling water and put a handful of bicarbonate of soda into the bowl. I add a few drops of water until it forms a paste and then I scrub it again, using my hands. You will be so surprised at what comes off… it is all the old grime and residue. The bicarb scours wonderfully gently. The paste turns brown. I feel soooooo satisfied.
Look at the beautiful whiteness it dries to. Ohhhhh it is so clean and lovely. I adore this vintage look and often leave it just like this.
I couldn’t find my measuring cup anywhere (Kids! *big dramatic sigh*) so I improvised with an old yogurt container (4 oz).
1 cup of odorless Turpentine (2 yogurt containers)
1/2 cups of melted beeswax (1 yogurt container)
a few drops of essential oil (optional)
Make a bain-marie on your stove to melt the beeswax (if you want instruction on how to safely melt beeswax, take a look at the other posts I’ve done on working with beeswax)
While it is melting, sit your turpentine in a bowl of warm water… you want it to be warm when you add your hot melted beeswax. When wax is melted, add it to the warm turpentine and stir thoroughly. When it has cooled a little, add your essential oil and stir again.
Use a lint free rag to rub the polish into the bowl evenly. I apply a few coats and Voila! A beautifully stained and polished wooden bowl. I love knowing that it has had a myraid of lives before this on, that it has been loved, tossed aside, forgotten, discarded, found, restored and then loved again. Phew… how romantic!
Blessings and magic,