Today we begin a 3-part series on the care and cleaning
of your furniture. First up: wood!
Quality furniture is a significant investment expected to last for generations. Wood is the most common material used in the furniture making industry, and has specific guidelines for care that should be followed in order to maintain its level of beauty. To expand its life as a piece in your home, please follow the routine maintenance guidelines outlined below.
- Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight, as this causes fading. Stay away from the spaces directly under windows!
- Avoid extreme changes in temperature by arranging furniture away from radiators, heat and air vents, and air conditioning units.
- Avoid placing plastic or rubber materials (lamp bases, notebooks, placemats, etc.) on wood pieces as certain plastics contain ingredients that may damage the finish. If necessary, use a pad to protect the surface from these items.
- Use pads, cloth or felt to protect the furniture surface from plastic and rubber (as mentioned above), hot dishes, beverages, bookends, flowerpots and vases. Don’t forget to use one when writing with a ballpoint pen on wooden surfaces as well!
- Periodically rotate accessories on wood surfaces to prevent them from sitting in the same spot for too long. The surface underneath the object can get discolored or damaged if an object is left there for a long period of time.
- Lift and place objects rather than drag the furniture’s legs across the floor. This will also benefit your flooring.
- Clean up spills immediately with a blotting rather than a wiping motion. Try to get to the mess as quickly as possible, because water left over a long period of time will cause white spots to develop on the surface of the piece. Alcohol, perfume, after-shave and medications can cause severe finish damage, so be careful!
- We recommend dusting your wooden furniture frequently with a clean, soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Gently dust the surface by rubbing in a motion that follows the direction of the grain.
- We recommend polishing your furniture approximately every six months, using a clean, soft, lint-free cloth and rubbing the polish in the direction of the grain.
- Avoid using silicone cleaners and waxes! While silicone cleaners create a high degree of shine, silicone seeps into even the highest-quality finishes, creating a barrier that will not accept stain or lacquer. This makes it virtually impossible to re-finish or touch-up your furniture, which is a negative if intention of the piece is to be kept for years.
- Waxes should be avoided as regular use may result in a build-up of wax film on the surface of the furniture. This build-up can attract dirt, smoke and other pollutants in the air, resulting in smudges and streaks on the surface of the piece. Also, many waxes contain grit that can permanently damage furniture surfaces if used improperly.
- What should you use? Polishes contain detergents, emulsifiers and mineral oil. The detergents clean dirt from the furniture, the emulsifiers allow the piece to last longer, and the mineral oil is left behind as a barrier against dirt and moisture. There is no grit to harm the finish, no wax to build up on the surface, and no silicone to raise the sheen nor act as a barrier to prevent touch-ups and refinishing.