So your beautiful wood bowl sat in water, perhaps placed there by some well-meaning guest who gathered dishes after a dinner party, but all is not lost. If you don’t mind removing the finish, this fix will keep your vintage wood serve ware in tip-top shape.

How to restore vintage serve ware.


  • Vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • Lemon
  • Steel wool
  • Mineral oil
  • Cloth towel


  1. Disinfect the piece with the vinegar and soft cloth. Let it sit for a moment before rinsing with warm water, then dry it off and allow the piece to air dry completely.
  2. Sprinkle the coarse salt onto the piece. Squeeze the juice of half of the lemon onto the piece, then using that half of the lemon, scrub the entire piece with the salt and lemon mixture.
  3. Once again, rinse the piece with warm water and dry thoroughly.
  4. Starting with a coarse-grade steel wool, sand the piece. Repeat with the medium-grade steel wool, and continue until all the finish is removed.
  5. Wipe with a damp cloth.
  6. Condition the piece by applying a generous amount of mineral oil with a clean cloth. Continue applying oil until the piece no longer absorbs it, then allow it to sit. After a few hours, wipe away any excess oil and enjoy!