Without a doubt, quality wood furniture is beautiful, a significant investment and a valuable asset. It is also expected to last for generations. To maintain its beauty and help it last, wood furniture needs the right care.
Most wood furniture products are finished with coats of lacquer for extra depth and long-lasting durability. The sheen of these finishes can range from high to low. Finishes are applied to protect the wood, but no finish is totally indestructible. However, with regular care the lifespan of the finish can be extended to provide years of enjoyment.The following tips will help you take good care of your fine wood furniture:
1. First off, wood isn’t hungry! You cannot feed furniture that has a finish applied to it. Once it has a protective finish for beauty and protection, the wood is sealed. Polishes and oils will not penetrate it.
2. Use warm water and mild dish soap to wash your furniture. Cleaning furniture with water won’t hurt it – just don’t soak it. Use a soft toothbrush for grooves and hard-to-get-at areas. Soft cloths or paper towels are best to wash the dirt off the surface, rubbing gently until the wood is clean. Dry off residual moisture with a soft clean cloth.
3. An appropriate color shoe polish will conceal scratches and chips. This quick-fix touch up is especially good to make them less visible on the feet of furniture. Careful application of a matching-color felt-tip marker first can hide scratches and chips even better.
4. White hazy ring spots made by a hot coffee mug or iced cocktail glass can be removed in several ways. The best way is to rub the spot with non-gel toothpaste mixed with baking soda or cooking oil mixed with ashes.Use your finger to apply the mixture if it’s a small spot with your finger or use a soft cloth for large areas.Another method applies a clean soft cloth or towel over the spot then carefully iron over the spot for 10 to 20 seconds at a time.Start with heat at the medium setting before turning the heat up a bit if needed. Keep your iron moving and check the spot frequently.
5. The best way to protect furniture finish is to use a good-quality soft paste wax right after a good cleaning. Follow label directions, but generally a light coat will suffice. Wait several minutes and buff lightly with a soft (shoe) brush or a cloth. For a more luxurious finish you can buff/brush again after about 30 to 60 minutes. A beautiful shine will appear that should last for many months.
6. Take metal hardware off your furniture before polishing. Be careful to remember which piece goes back where. Determine the appropriate quality metal polish to use to get your hardware shining again. Replace the hardware once its buffed bright being careful not to scratch the wood surfaces.
7. Keep your fine wood furniture out of the direct sunlight. Summer sun temperature coming through a window can exceed 140 degrees. This harsh condition will cook fine finishes, eventually fading and destroying them. The sun also dries out and shrinks wood, which will cause cracks in your furniture.
8. Do your best to keep wood furniture away from heating units or vents. As with the sun, heat causes wood to dry and shrink, leaving cracks. Run a humidifier during colder months to bring room moisture up to the 40-45 percent level.
9. Get advice from someone who is knowledgeable about the fine wood piece you are considering restoring or refinishing.While it may seem to be a great idea to bring an older or antique piece of furniture back to its original glory you could harm its value. You may find that your piece, which just needs a proper cleaning, is valuable because of its original color and finish. Any extensive work should be left to a professional.
10. Thinking of buying fine wood furniture? Take time to look at the back, inside and undersides of furniture and drawers should you be out one Sunday shopping for new or antique furniture. The secondary woods can tell you more about the age of the item and the quality of construction than the display wood.