Caring for wooden furniture: 8 pointers

June 30, 2015

With some basic precautions and a little care, good wooden furniture can last for many years. Here are 8 tips for keeping your wooden pieces in top shape.

Caring for wooden furniture: 8 pointers

Treating your furniture right

Regular maintenance with gentle cleaners and conditioners such as beeswax, vinegar and pure soap can bring new life to your well-used wooden furniture and preserve its natural sheen. Whenever you work with wooden pieces, be sure to keep the following in mind.

  1. Wooden furniture (and upholstered pieces too) will last longer if you keep it out of direct sunlight. Ultraviolet rays bleach and damage both wood and fabric.
  2. Avoid placing good furniture in very damp or very dry places, or near hot fires, heating vents or radiators. High moisture levels cause wood to expand; if the atmosphere subsequently becomes less humid, wood may develop cracks. Cracking may also occur in very dry or hot conditions.
  3. Protect wooden surfaces from heat and spills with coasters, table mats and heat pads. To remove cigarette burns, try rubbing the burned area with some toothpaste.
  4. Start any cleaning routine with dusting, using a slightly damp cloth. If you apply polish to dusty wood, you will simply grind in the dirt and you may damage the surface.
  5. If necessary, clean wooden surfaces with a mild soap and water. For unfinished wood or finishes other than polyurethane, use the suds only on a barely damp sponge or cloth. This avoids over-wetting.
  6. To clean and condition unfinished and lightly finished surfaces, try a simple polish made from equal amounts of olive (or linseed) oil and white vinegar mixed with a few drops of essential oil. Apply it with a soft cloth.
  7. To clean raw pine, always use cold water and soap, as hot water can turn it yellow. To remove grease spots, rub with fine-grade sandpaper and wipe with a damp cloth.
  8. A French-polish finish is susceptible to damage by heat and all solvents, including water. Wipe the surface carefully with a barely damp cloth. If it needs waxing, use only pure, softened beeswax, working in the direction of the grain.

By making a small effort to regularly clean and maintain your wooden furniture, you should be able to enjoy it for years to come.

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