There’s nothing quite as beautiful and traditional as wood furniture. Whether it’s part of an upholstered sofa, an elegant dining room table and chair set, or a classic sleigh bed, it can remain a beautiful centerpiece in your home for years to come. With a bit of added care, you can even pass it down from generation to generation. Knowing how to care for wood furniture properly, though, is the key to making certain it looks nice day after day. These tips can help.
Where you put your wood furniture will actually affect how you care for it. Wood naturally contains a lot of moisture, and preserving that is essential. As a result, if you put a wooden bed or table near a heating vent, a fireplace, or even a very sunny window, you may find that you have real problems down the road. If you have to put it near a window, be sure to keep your blinds or curtains closed during the day to help protect the piece. Watch for leaky windows as well, which could lead to water damage.
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to damage wood furniture with a hot pan or a sweating glass of water. One key to wood furniture care is to be sure that you always use a trivet or a coaster wherever possible. You may also
want to consider using a padded table cover or protective table cloth on your dining room table when you sit down to eat. You can care for wood furniture in the living room by always using a coaster on the coffee table or end table.
You’ll also want to try to make sure that the humidity in your home is relatively consistent, if possible. Significant changes in moisture in the air can cause wood to expand and contract, damaging the joints and making surface coatings crack. When thinking about how to care for wood furniture in your home, consider whether the air is always very dry in the winter or if it’s damp in the summer. You may need to add a humidifier or a dehumidifier. Not only will it make your wood furniture last longer, it’ll make your whole home more comfortable!
You’re going to need to do some cleaning as part of your wood furniture care, and the type of products you use are important. In most cases, you can use dishwashing detergent mixed with water to clean wood furniture, although it’s a good idea to test a small hidden area first. Wring your cloth out thoroughly, and try not to get too much water on the wood, as it could cause damage. Many people use oil soap and water when caring for wood furniture, but this is not always the best idea. Older furniture, in particular, might only be stained. The oil soap can soak into the wood where the protective finish is missing, discoloring it.
Keep your wood furniture clean with regular dusting. Using a simple lamb wool duster or a clean, lint-free cloth when caring for wooden furniture can remove dust easily. Dusting dry can actually scratch the wood, though, so be very careful.
Are you concerned about how to care for wood furniture that’s very dirty or grimy? Consider mineral spirits. Again, always test a small, hidden area to make sure that the spirits won’t damage the wood, but it’s typically safe on most wood fishes. You can wipe away years of grime with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits, but always use it in a well-ventilated area.
Other wood furniture care ideas including cleaning the piece with a vinegar and soap mixture, using an ammonia and water wash, or using a combination of very hot water, linseed oil, and gum turpentine. These methods can be productive, but should always be used with caution.
If you’ve needed to clean your furniture, it’s always a good idea to follow up with a polish or wax. Don’t switch between the two, as it can create a gummy surface and the polish will remove the wax. Most professionals recommend using a beeswax or paste wax, which creates a protective surface on the wood. Apply a solid wax liberally on the surface and rub in a circular motion. When the surface becomes dull, wipe off the excess wax. You can then buff the surface with a soft, dry cloth.
Wood is a strong, reliable material, and with the right care, your furniture can actually last for centuries! Take extra care with older wood furniture, as it can be easily damaged by using too much liquid in the cleaning process. Spray cleaners and oily polishes can also cause build-up over time, so use with caution. The best method for how to care for wood furniture is to be gentle and avoid situations that could cause damage to the wood.