The Essential Guide To Wooden Furniture Care

Published 8 years ago

When it comes to wooden furniture, periodic care can go a long way in retaining that beautiful, timeless elegance that it first came with. Staining, peeling, or just a lack of its original sheen are all signals that it’s time you get down to some cleaning and polishing. Here’s how you can care for your furniture in the long run:

Place Them Right: Moisture, sunlight, and temperature are the three main factors that have an impact on the condition and look of your wood furniture. Don’t, for instance, place your desk next to a window where it receives direct sunlight, for that is a sure way to hasten its damage! Furniture placed in the direct line of heating-vents or radiators, or near balconies or patios (exposed to the elements) are all prone to damage. Places like attics, that may have extreme and inconsistent temperatures during seasons should be avoided for the storage of wooden pieces. Don’t place hot vessels directly onto solid wood – they will scar and discolour the patina.

The Basics: Regular dusting is a fool-proof method to ensure the long-life of your wooden furniture pieces. It prevents an oily-layer from forming. Following the grain of the wood while dusting can prevent scratches. If it is greasiness from oil or cigarette smoke that is forming an unsightly layer, use a sponge or soft cloth and a solution of soap and warm water. Always make sure that when you are using wet cloth on wood, the cloth is only damp, and that the table is later wiped with a dry cloth to remove all moisture. Take care that the wood is never soaked by the water while wiping it, for wrong methods of cleaning can be detrimental to the finish of the wood.

Stains: If your table has food-stains or water-rings from the use of years of ‘sweating’ beverage glasses, worry not! Apply a thin layer of toothpaste without abrasives mixed with baking soda or even a little mayonnaise, and the marks (that are on the wax-covering and not the wood itself), will come right off. Invest in special cleaning agents for wood, if you must, but don’t use harsh chemicals or detergents indiscriminately.

Polishing: The idea is to first completely clean the wood and to then protect it. A great way to preserve the polish is to use a paste wax that is soft. Depending on the amount of wear your furniture is subjected to, you could re-wax them with paste-wax once or twice a year. Re-oiling too can give it a shiny, new look. Do not use sprays, as they often leave a stubborn, dark sticky film. Sprays containing silicon are especially to be avoided. A quick-fix solution to temporarily cover blemishes is shoe-polish of an appropriate colour!

Useful Tips: Don’t use ‘nourishing’ oils – your wood doesn’t need them! Use coasters, mats and padded covers while placing wet or hot items on your wooden tables. This will prevent marks and scratches. If the wood is in very poor condition or is an antique piece, take professional or expert advice before or rather than setting out to clean it on your own!


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