10 Tips for Taking Care of Wood Furniture
When purchasing furniture, it’s always a good idea to ask for specific cleaning and care instructions. For furnishings already in your home, here are 10 tips to keep the wood looking its best for many generations to come.
1. Don’t Mistreat Furniture
To avoid rings and heat damage, always use coasters when setting glasses or mugs on wood tables, and never place hot food directly on them without the protection of a trivet or potholder. Incorporate decorative placemats or a tablecloth to protect your dining room table from food and drink spills.
2. Avoid Environmental Damage
Sunlight, heat and other environmental factors can wreak havoc on your fine wood. Don’t place valuable furniture in front of uncovered windows, vents or fireplaces, as the light and heat can damage and fade the wood.
Frequent dusting keeps buildup from happening. Always use soft cloth like cotton T-shirts, cloth diapers or microfiber to avoid damage. Lambswool dusters are great for ornate carvings or hard to reach places because they effectively attract and hold dust.
4. Keep Your Wood Clean
Never use all-purpose cleaners, which can cause damage to the finish. If you have a spot that is heavily soiled or sticky, dip a cloth in water that contains a mild dish detergent.
5. Protect Your Wood
Most commercial polishes and sprays contain either petroleum distillates or silicone oil to for a fresh and shiny finish, and to offer some protection for your wood.
6. Treat Wear and Tear
Even with the best care, wood furniture can sustain injuries. For minor nicks and scratches use a product like Old English Scratch Cover. This liquid polish hides abrasions, restoring the wood’s inherent beauty.
7. Re-Oil Dry Wood
Begin by cleaning it with Murphy’s Oil Soap or another appropriate cleaner, and then prepare the surface with #0000 steel wool, always working with the grain. Liberally apply your furniture oil and let it soak into the wood for about 15 minutes. It you are going to apply a protective coating, let your furniture set for at least 24 hours before proceeding.
8. Re-Wax as Needed
Always prepare the surface with fine #0000 steel wool then wipe with a soft cloth to remove any residue. Apply a coat of wax and spread it with a Scotch Brite pad, using light pressure and always following the grain. Don’t allow the wax to set for more than 20 minutes. Remove the excess wax with a clean Scotch Brite pad, and buff with a soft cloth until the surface feels smooth to the touch.
9. Keep Wood Smelling Fresh
You can sprinkle the surface with baking soda to freshen it up, and place a pan of charcoal inside drawers to absorb smells that emanate from inside. You can even leave the piece outside in a shaded area on a warm, dry day to give relief from a malodorous stench and make your furniture good as new.
10. Remove Tough Stains
For white rings from wet glasses, apply a paste of equal amounts white toothpaste and baking soda. Rub it into the stain until it’s gone. Then, wipe off the furniture and buff with a dry cloth.
For dark spots from water damage, try gently blotting the stain with a cloth soaked in vinegar.
For crayon marks, apply mayonnaise over the area. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before rubbing clean with a damp cloth and buffing with a dry cloth.
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