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There's no need to have a shelf-full of commercial waxes, polishes, spray-and-dust aerosols, etc. You can save yourself a bundle -- and keep your furniture in good condition -- by making up your own.

For starters, here's a good washing solution for both furniture and woodwork. Add 1 tablespoon of turpentine and 3 tablespoons of boiled linseed oil to 1 quart of hot water. Keep solution hot as you work by setting the container into a pan of hot water.

Wring a cloth or sponge out of solution and do a small section at a time. Dry and polish with a soft cloth. Does a great cleaning job, especially on varnished surfaces.

If you'd like to follow this with polish there are any number of possibilities. The following polish solutions clean the furniture to some extent as well, so unless your furniture is unusually soiled, you can just use one of them and omit the washing step above.

With any of these polishes, apply with a soft cloth, rub in well with grain of wood and wipe off excess.

Two parts boiled linseed oil and one part turpentine; a favorite for antiques and for teak furniture. For the teak, apply just a little and rub into wood very hard to create "heat."

Equal parts turpentine, crude oil and vinegar.

Equal parts turpentine, kerosene, and vinegar.

Equal parts boiled linseed oil and turpentine; especially good for oil finish furniture. Rub hard into the surface; give it this oil treatment no more often than every four to six months.

For the smoky or cloudy look that sometimes appears on highly polished furniture; wipe with a cloth rung out of a solution of one tablespoon of vinegar to one quart water. Dry with a soft cloth.

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