Is Murphy’s Oil Soap Good for Furniture? Here Are Some Concerns

Murphy’s Oil Soap has been a go-to cleaning product for over a hundred years. The product is suitable for cleaning and maintaining furniture. However, as with any cleaning product, there are some concerns that users should be aware of.

In this article, we will explore whether Murphy’s Oil Soap is perfect for furniture and if there are potential concerns about its use. We will provide a balanced perspective on this popular furniture cleaner and offer alternatives for those concerned.

Now, let’s dive in and explore the cleaning product in depth.

What is Murphy’s Oil Soap

Murphy’s Oil Soap is a popular cleaning product that has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. The composition of Murphy’s Oil Soap is relatively simple. Mainly, it’s a blend of safe-to-use and natural ingredients such as vegetable oil and water and contains only 2% synthetic ingredients.

Notably, the oil soap is gentle on wood surfaces and is formulated to leave a natural shine. It’s commonly used on wood furniture, including tables, chairs, cabinets, etc.

Benefits of Using Murphy’s Oil Soap for Furniture

Murphy’s Oil Soap has gained popularity over decades among furniture owners for its various benefits in cleaning and maintaining wood furniture. The following are some key benefits of using Murphy’s Oil Soap for furniture.

  • Effectiveness in removing dirt

Murphy’s Oil Soap effectively removes dirt and grease from wood furniture surfaces. It helps restore the natural beauty of wood furniture by removing accumulated dirt and grime that can dull the appearance of the furniture. Its oil-based formula acts as a surfactant, emulsifying and lifting dirt, making it easy to wipe away.

  • Gentle on wood surfaces

Murphy’s Oil Soap is formulated to be gentle on wood surfaces, commonly used on a wide range of wood furniture without causing damage. Ít helps to maintain the furniture’s original appearance and extend its lifespan since it does not strip the wood’s natural oils or finish.

  • Enhances the furniture appearance

Murphy’s Oil Soap is designed to leave a natural shine on the wood after cleaning. It provides a lustrous finish that enhances the furniture’s appearance.

  • Versatility in cleaning different types of furniture

Murphy’s Oil Soap is versatile. It can be used on various types of wood furniture, including tables, chairs, cabinets, and more. It can be used on both finished and unfinished wood surfaces; hence it’s a convenient option for different types of furniture in different settings, ranging from antique pieces to modern furniture.

  • Long-standing reputation

Murphy’s Oil Soap has been in the market for decades and has gained a reputation as a trusted and reliable wood cleaner. Many users have used it for years and trust its effectiveness in cleaning and maintaining furniture.

Another reason Murphy’s oil soap is popular is that it’s affordable, readily available, and easy to use.

How to Use Murphy’s Oil Soap

The following are the steps for applying Murphy’s Oil Soap to your wood furniture.

1) Gather Materials and Prepare the Area

Gather all the needed materials, including Murphy’s Oil Soap, a soft cloth or sponge, clean water, and a clean, dry cloth. Also, ensure the area where you will clean the furniture is well-ventilated.

2) Dilute Murphy’s Oil Soap

You should dilute Murphy’s Oil Soap before use since it’s a concentrated solution. When diluting, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution ratios. Usually, use around 1/4 cup of Murphy’s Oil Soap per gallon of water. But this ratio may vary depending on the specific manufacturer’s instructions.

3) Test on a Small Area

Test the diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility with the wood and finish before applying it to the entire furniture piece. Apply a small amount of diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to a hidden spot and wait a few minutes to see if any adverse reactions occur. If you see discoloration or damage to the finish, you should not use it. But if there are no issues, you can proceed with the cleaning process.

4) Apply Murphy’s Oil Soap

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap solution and gently wipe it down the wood furniture in the direction of the wood grain, using long, even strokes and paying attention to particularly dirty areas. Importantly, avoid over-saturating the wood with excessive moisture since it can cause damage to the wood.

5) Rinse and Dry

After cleaning with Murphy’s Oil Soap, wipe down the furniture to remove any residue using a clean, dampened cloth. Ensure the furniture is thoroughly cleaned and then dry to prevent soap residue from building up over time.

6) Apply Furniture Polish (Optional)

If necessary, you can apply furniture polish after cleaning with Murphy’s Oil Soap further to enhance the shine and protection of your wood furniture. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the furniture polish for the best results.

7) Dispose of Used Solution and Clean Up

Clean the sponge and other tools used in the process with water and mild soap, and allow them to air dry before storing them for future use. Importantly, dispose of the used Murphy Oil Soap solution properly.

Concerns with Using Murphy’s Oil Soap for Furniture

Sometimes, even after following the above steps to effectively apply Murphy’s Oil Soap to your wood furniture to clean and maintain its natural beauty, you may not always get the desired outcome. Mainly, while Murphy’s Oil Soap has many benefits, some concerns are too associated with its use for furniture. The following are some common concerns that users experience and that you should be aware of.

1) Build-up of Residue

One of the concerns with using Murphy’s Oil Soap is the potential for residue build-up on furniture surfaces. Murphy’s Oil Soap contains oils that can leave a thin residue on furniture. The residue can build up over time with repeated use. This residue may affect the appearance of the furniture in the long run by making it look dull. Also, the residue can attract dust and dirt.

2) Risk of Over-saturation

Another concern is the risk of over-saturation when using Murphy’s Oil Soap. This happens if the product is applied excessively or not wiped off properly. The wood becomes overly saturated with moisture, which may cause damage to the furniture finish.

3) Potential Damage to Certain Finishes

While Murphy’s Oil Soap is generally considered safe for most finished and unfinished wood surfaces, some furniture finishes are more susceptible to damage. Furniture with certain types of paint or varnish may be more vulnerable to damage from using Murphy’s Oil Soap. Therefore, it is advisable to test the product on a small, inconspicuous furniture area before applying it to the entire surface to avoid potential damage.

4) Sensitivity and Allergies

The product contains various additives and oils that can potentially cause skin irritation or respiratory issues in susceptible individuals. Notably, some users have allergies to the ingredients in Murphy’s Oil Soap. Therefore, it is recommended to use the product in a well-ventilated area, wear gloves if needed, and discontinue use if any severe adverse reactions occur.

Alternatives to Murphy’s Oil Soap

Sometimes, you may not have Murphy’s oil soap, or due to concerns about the product, you don’t want to use it. So, are there alternatives you can use? Definitely yes. If you have concerns about using Murphy’s Oil Soap on your furniture and are looking for alternative options, there are some other cleaning products that you can use to clean and maintain wood furniture. The following are some of the suitable alternatives you can use.

  • Commercial Wood Cleaners

There are many commercial wood cleaners available in the market that are specifically formulated for cleaning and maintaining wood furniture. These products come in various forms, such as sprays, wipes, or concentrated solutions, and they are designed to remove dirt and stains without leaving residue. Notably, it’s essential to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and choose products specifically formulated for the wood furniture you have at home.

  • Homemade Wood Cleaners

If you prefer DIY solutions, make your wood cleaner using simple household ingredients such as mixing olive oil and water in a 1:1 ratio, or make a solution with mild dish soap and water. Other homemade cleaning agents include lemon juice and white vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil, coconut oil, and black tea and water. You can then use the homemade solution to clean your wood furniture.

  • Dry Dusting and Polishing

Regularly dusting the furniture to remove dirt and debris and polishing can be all you need to do to restore its shine.


Overall, when using Murphy’s Oil Soap, it’s essential to be aware of potential concerns associated with its use and be able to mitigate the concerns. To get the best results safely using the product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take proper precautions, such as working in a well-ventilated area.

Lastly, while Murphy’s Oil Soap is a popular and safe-to-use choice for cleaning and maintaining wood furniture, it’s not always suitable for use on all types of wood at all times. Interestingly, sometimes, you may not have it, and you need to clean your furniture. In such instances, you may consider exploring alternative furniture cleaning options that better suit your cleaning needs.