Last week we shared tips for the cleaning and care of your upholstered furniture and other fabric decor items. Today’s focus is on the wood furniture pieces in your home.
Quality furniture is a significant investment and is typically expected to last for generations. Wood is still 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 the life of wooden pieces in your home, please follow the routine maintenance guidelines outlined below.
- Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight, as this can cause fading. Try to keep these pieces away from the spaces directly under your windows.
- Avoid extreme changes in temperature by arranging your furniture away from radiators, heat/air vents, or air conditioning units.
- Avoid placing plastic or rubber materials (such as 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 wood surface from these items.
- Use pads, cloth or felt to protect the furniture surface from plastic and rubber (as mentioned above) as well as hot dishes, beverages, bookends, flowerpots and vases. You’ll want to use a pad when writing with a ballpoint pen on wooden surfaces as well!
- Periodically rotate your 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 objects are left there for long periods of time.
- Lift and place objects rather than dragging the furniture’s legs across the floor. (This will benefit your flooring as well!)
- Clean up spills immediately with blotting rather than a wiping motion. Try to get to the mess as quickly as possible, because water left over time will cause white spots to develop on the surface of the piece. Alcohol, perfumes, after-shave and medications can cause severe finish damage, so be careful!
- We recommend dusting your wooden furniture frequently with a clean, dry, soft, 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 becomes a problem if you intend to keep the piece for many years.
- Waxes should be avoided as regular use may result in a build-up of wax film on the surface of your 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 to clean your wood furniture?
Polishes contain detergents, emulsifiers and mineral oil. Detergents clean the dirt from the furniture, emulsifiers enable 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 or become a barrier to prevent touch-ups and refinishing.