Old wooden doors can be a great asset to your home, adding some character to your house. However, cleaning them can be a very daunting process, especially if they have cracks or scratches on their surface. Thankfully, there are a few simple techniques you can use to get old doors looking amazing again. Let’s dive into some of the best ways to clean old doors.

Removing dust, dirt, and stains

A wooden black door with faded and peeling paint, with rusting knob and mail slot

First, you will need to remove any dirt from the door’s surface. Often, the best way to do so is by simply using an old duster. This will also get rid of any spider webs that may have formed on the door. When doing this, make sure to get into every crevice so that you remove all the dirt. Using an old sponge can also help remove any dirt and grime from the door. Moreover, if you dip the sponge in warm soapy water, you will be able to remove stains as well. It is important to note that, as you do this, you should also work along the cracks and the sides of the door. Once this has been completed, wipe away any moisture with a second sponge. Now, you are ready to use tougher chemicals.

Removing old paint and varnish

Wooden double door with flaking red paint and cracks

In cleaning old doors, it is sometimes necessary to use some harsh chemicals. However, before working with these substances, remember to wear a mask. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally breathe in any dangerous fumes. Gloves should also be worn to prevent the chemicals from damaging your fingers. Initially, you may need to apply some paint thinners. This will remove tough patches of built-up dirt. Subsequently, you may also need to apply liquid furniture polish. This will remove any stains and give the wood a little more shine. To remove old layers of paint, you will then need to use a chemical stripper. Finally, sand away any old layers of wood varnish. Once this is done, you are ready to restore the door.

Restoring the old wooden door

Close-up image of a door being painted by a gloved hand in red paint

After removing the dirt and paint, the door should look much cleaner. Wood fillers can be used to repair any cracks or scratches present in the wood. Afterward, apply a new layer of varnish. This will protect the door from future damage. Generally, it’s recommended that you apply at least three layers of varnish. When putting it on, paint with the grain of the wood. Choosing the appropriate varnish colour can also accentuate the style of your home. Finally, you might also want to put sanitizer on metal objects such as door handles. These can easily breed bacteria, especially on older doors. To make sure you kill all the bacteria, wipe the handle with a cloth after you have sprayed the door handles.

Old doors can form a beautiful part of your home. They also tend to be cheaper than new doors. However, you will need to clean them up properly first. We discussed the best technique to do this, allowing you to restore an old, wooden door.  So, clean a wooden door today and experience the beauty that it can add to your home!

Pieter Boyce - Wooden Window and door specialist

Pieter Boyce
Wooden Window and Door Specialist

This article was written on behalf of The Wooden Door Company by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at www.boultonboyce.co.uk.