Radical Housekeeping - Put Crisco on Your Table

By Karla Jones Seidita
Home Economist

Here's a radical idea.... 
Use white vegetable shortening to clean, shine and protect your wooden furniture.

I love "clean"  but I don't want to spend a lot of time doing it.

Hiring someone to clean is no answer because, as everyone knows, you have to clean before the cleaning people come so they know what the house should look like when they've finished cleaning.....which kind of defeats the purpose of hiring cleaning people in the first place.  And, cleaning people you hire, will never want to do the really nasty jobs so what's the point of hiring cleaning people?  But I digress.

For years, I've been searching for a furniture cleaner/polisher that would give my furniture a hand rubbed, museum quality patina.  Not shine, mind you, but classic, posh patina.

The product had to be super easy to use, inexpensive and not rough up my hands or smell foul.

I've tried EVERYTHING.  
Every spray, lotion, paste, creme, and even home mixed concoctions.  Bees wax, lemon oil, Pledge, Liquid Gold.... anything and everything.

When ever I spotted a piece of furniture that had the patina I was looking for, I asked what was used to clean and shine it.  I gave everything a try but nothing ever came close to giving me the rich patina I was looking for.  

Finally, just the other day, I found it... and quite by accident!

I spotted a water ring on a table top and went to the refrigerator for the mayonnaise. As every southern woman knows, rubbing mayonnaise into water rings removes them from wooden tables.

I was a little low on mayonnaise so I  picked up my trusty white vegetable shortening that comes in a can.  "Why not?"  I thought.   "Mayonnaise is oil.  Crisco is oil...sort of.  Mayonnaise spoils... Crisco doesn't.  Let's give it a try!"

The ring came out faster than I could have imagined!!

Mayonnaise takes many applications and lots of rubbing but Crisco was fast and easy. It didn't take much Crisco to make the ring go away.

I spied an old, dried out looking table hiding in the corner.  I dragged it out and gave it a Crisco shine.  It came out FABULOUS!!  With only 2 tiny teaspoons of Crisco, my old table looked like a treasured antique!!  As a bonus,  my hands were nice and soft when I was done!

Crisco on your furniture?  That's a pretty radical idea!

Karla's Tips

1.  Works best on old, traditional wooden furniture without urethane or other coatings that will prohibit absorption.  Do not use on painted furniture, Formica, press board or similar surfaces.

2.  Always test on a hidden spot before using.

3.  Use a lot less than you think.  Too much and you will attract dust.

4.  Dry dust your furniture before using the Crisco so you remove any grit that may scratch with rubbing.

5.  Use a soft, lint free, 100% cotton cloth to rub the Crisco and remove excess.

6.  Store brands of white shortening are OK to use just make sure it's 100% vegetable shortening and does not contain any animal products or lard.  Read the ingredient label.

7.  Be extra careful around gold leaf, decals and decorations.  The shortening may remove or damage them.


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