What’s so great about beautifully handcrafted furniture? It’s beautiful, timeless, elegant, and someone’s tireless hard work went into building it. Handcrafted furniture isn’t run of the mill; it’s a stunning design with perfectly chosen wood and finishes. It’s furniture that stands out and encompasses a room, making a focal point. And it should be cherished and used for many years to come.
But all too often, beautiful furniture is improperly cared for. The purchasers buy it with good intentions but ultimately don’t know how to maintain it and over time that once beautiful piece of furniture turns into that old rickety hutch found at your grandmother’s house. If not properly preserved, stunning wood furniture loses its beauty and luster making you question the purchase in hindsight.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Read on to learn how to properly care for your wood furniture so that after time you still have it and its beauty is shining through.
1) Ask Questions
When buying furniture, ask for the care instructions. Since each piece of furniture is made with varying finish options, the care for each piece is different. Some wood furniture requires waxing while other requires a simple swipe with a damp cloth. It is important to know before you buy what kind of finish the wood has so you can use the proper method to clean it. Asking these questions ahead of time will help you decide if that piece of furniture is really worth the waxing and maintenance it will require down the line.
If your furniture is a hand-me-down, don’t just assume it requires a certain type of cleaning. Do your research. The piece will wear over time with improper care methods.
2) Dust Often
Keeping fine wood furniture looking its best requires dusting often. A thin layer of dust on your furniture over time will cause build up that requires heavier solutions and more muscle power to clean; thus, if you dust regularly you will save yourself work in the long run.
When dusting, it is best to use a cotton or microfiber cloth that is slightly dampened by water, wood polish or a wood dusting spray. Never use all-purpose cleaners on fine wood furniture as these will actually remove the wax and finish on the piece. With your dusting utensil, work with the grain and make sure that you spray your cloth not the furniture piece itself as doing so may leave overspray residue.
Lamb’s wool and feather dusters are also effective on wood furniture for their ability to reach crevices and curves that cloths often miss. However, it is important to note that when you use these tools, ensure there are no dry spots or broken feathers as these will scratch any delicate surfaces.
3) Deep Clean
Sometimes fine furniture such as antiques need more than a simple dusting and if this is the case, a deep clean can be applied. To get rid of the grime very gently use a soft cloth with a mixture of oil soap and water. To do this, dip your cloth in the solution, wring it out as much as you can and gently wipe the furniture following the direction of the grain. Take a second cloth moistened with water to the furniture to rinse the first solution and the residue off. Immediately dry the piece with a clean cloth and let air dry even more before placing accent pieces on it.
4) Wax or Polish
Polishing or waxing fine furniture is also required if you wish to keep your furniture for a long time. With this step, it is important to ask the manufacturer what is best since both polishing and waxing together will actually create a filmy grime layer rather than leaving the piece looking beautiful. If you have to choose a method on your own, first learn about both options:
Furniture polish is simple to apply and protects the furniture by making the surface slippery and easy to dust. While it makes the furniture shiny and can restore the finish, it does not leave a hard coat nor is it a permanent option. Polish is recommended to be used sparingly because layers upon layers will create a film over the furniture’s surface that can ultimately attract dust and more airborne residues.
On the other hand, paste or liquid furniture wax will create a hard surface and longer lasting protection than polish. More difficult to work with, wax should be applied in light coats and rubbed in a circular motion in one small area at a time until the entire piece is done. It is important that you buff the surface until all the streaks are gone and that you remove any excess wax with a cotton cloth.