I am a firm advocate of Freecycle so when our useless plastic concertina type clothes airer collapsed for the final time I hankered after the type my dear old Mum had.
It took all of five minutes on Freecycle to obtain said item but whilst it is structurally sound and in very good order it is rather grubby so I am leaving it overnight in the shed. I was thinking of using warm water,sugar soap and a plastic pan scourer to remove the dirt but then got to thinking what if the wood is host to an army of bugs/mites! I would hate to bring this 'trojan horse' into our bungalow without first attempting to sanitise it first, or am I being a little too paranoid?
Add some bleach in water to wash it down with. No you are not being paranoid, it will have a lot of grease from hands that have been using it for years. Once clean I suggest you give it coat of clear polyurethane varnish to seal the wood so it doesn't stain your whites. It will also bring out the grain and look like new.
We used to have hours of fun with ours on rainy days when we went camping in the dinning room with a sheet over it! Such simple make belief games, can today's young 'uns do that with all the electronic games available?
We also used to have one of those ceiling dryers on a pulley in the breakfast room over the table that dripped onto us during meal times on rainy days, no spin dryers then.
This all sounds a bit Angela's Ashes now. When I wor a lad...
Quickbeam, "with a sheet over it", you could afford sheets??? When I wor a lad.........
Seriously,we played the same game, hours of endless, innocent fun, :o} If the clothes drier was in use, with eight of use that was usually the case, we used to wrap a blanket around the table legs and play at dens,shops,coal mining or whatever we could think of.
Brumas. In the blitz in London, before we had a shelter, the young un's would sleep unter a strong dining table with table cloths down to the feet of the table, with the old wooden airer as an extension! Used to play post office shops with a small balance and our dolly mixture sweet ration!!
Brumas if you want to do it properly don't use water it can raise the grain and if it is old can destroy the glue holding it together.
You are far better getting some Paraffin and 0000 steel wool, or make up some thing better by using 4 parts white spirit to 1 part linseed oil,
this will remove any dirt/ grease / old wax that is on the wood, definitely do not use bleach on wood, not only will the bleach raise the fibres in the wood but will attack any nails or glue holding it together.
Wear rubber gloves and go in the direction of the grain with the solvent then wipe dry, afterwards when it is dry just lightly go over the wood with the wire wool in the direction of the grain and it will give you a very good finish with no need to varnish it.