Wood furniture is a beautiful addition to any home or office and when cared for properly, can last a lifetime. The tips and tricks laid out below will give you the basic knowledge needed to care for your cherished wood furniture and keep it in tip top shape.
Avoid Exposure To Heat & Light
Many people don’t realize just how much moisture is naturally contained within wood. It varies between wood types but maintaining the appropriate moisture level is key to preserving wood.
That’s why it’s recommended that you position your wood furniture away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, heating vents and the like. Doing so ensures that your furniture is safe from temperature swings that could eventually dry the wood out and cause cracking, cupping, and bowing.
Do everything you can to keep your wood furniture out of direct sunlight. If your it’s sitting in direct sunlight for too long, it will begin to fade. Definitely not a pretty sight if you have a decorative bowl on your wood dining table that ends up leaving a dark spot after the sun bleaches the rest of the table. Just saying…
Clean Wood Correctly
Dusting frequently goes a long ways in preventing build up of dirt and oil on wood surfaces. But sometimes, it’s necessary to clean a considerable amount of dirt or greasy soil from the surface of your wood furniture. If that’s the case, you will want to use a solution of oil soap and water to remove the build up.
Take a damp sponge and add oil soap as directed on the oil soap packaging. Ring the sponge out and gently wipe the wood surface to loosen and remove most of the soil. Repeat the process with a clean sponge to remove the remaining dirt and soil. Then be sure to dry the surface with a fresh clean cloth.
Protect Your Wood Furniture From Damage
Let’s face it, everyday life can take its toll on furniture. But you can prevent a lot of damage to your fine wood by using protection. I’m talking about coasters and table covers of course.
We’ve all had the experience of setting a glass full of water on a beautiful wood finish. It leaves a nice permanent water mark for all to see. You can easily put an end to all the madness with a nice set of coasters. Try to find coasters with a felt or cork bottom as they are easy on wood finishes and help prevent scratching. Table cloths and table covers are also helpful for preventing spills and scratches on wood surfaces.
Dust With A Damp Cloth
Dusting is a must for keeping your wood furniture in great condition. But doing it the wrong way can actually scratch the wood finish. So, be sure to lightly dampen your cloth with water or dusting agent before wiping the wood down. Also, avoid spraying water or dusting agent directly on the wood as overspray can leave hard to remove marks.
Polish or Wax?
Both wax and furniture polish are applied to fine wood furniture to protect the surface — but you’ll need to pick one or the other. Don’t try to combine these products or you’ll create a gummy mess. Make sure that you have selected the appropriate treatment for the piece’s finish. Check with the manufacturer for recommended polish or wax options.
Which to choose? Wax is a semi-solid product; it requires elbow grease to apply, but it creates a long-lasting coat. Furniture polish is easier to apply than wax; it is made using petroleum distillates (a solvent), and evaporates fairly quickly. Most people overuse polish to restore a fresh finish. Layers of polish buildup, combined with body oils and dirt, create a sticky, dull film over the surface. If you use polish, use it with restraint.
The same applies to furniture sprays. They contain silicone oil, which is inert and which does not evaporate like furniture polish. Use them sparingly, and buff the sprayed area well with a clean cloth. Buff it again to raise the shine.
Apply wax or polish to furniture that has been freshly cleaned with oil soap and allowed to dry thoroughly. Follow package directions, and have plenty of clean white cleaning cloths available.
Note: Seek professional advice for the care of antique furniture, or if the wood is in poor condition.