Wood Furniture Cleaning & Care Tips
Quality wood furniture can last a lifetime and is often a treasured heirloom, passed down through multiple generations. Still, even the highest quality wood is susceptible to scratches and abrasions if not properly cared for.
When purchasing furniture, it’s always a good idea to ask for specific cleaning and care instructions. For furnishings already in your home, here some ideas to keep the wood looking its best for many generations to come.
Tips to Protect Your Wood Furniture
- Keep your furniture away from a fireplace and heating and cooling vents; away from moisture sources, such as humidifiers; and out of direct sunlight. As much as we love the sun, it can be brutal. Just look at what it can do to your skin in a few hours or to a newspaper in a day. Daily exposure to heat or sunlight - even indirect sunlight – may fade your wood finishes and dry the wood, which can create cracks over time.
- Avoid extreme changes in temperature by arranging furniture away from radiators, heat and air vents and air conditioning units. Wood can swell or contract, depending on the surrounding atmosphere. If you live in a dry area, you may need to use a humidifier in your home. And if you live in a humid environment, you may need to control the moisture in your home.
- Avoid placing plastic or rubber materials (lamp bases, notebooks, etc.) on your furniture, as certain plastics contain ingredients that may cause an adverse reaction with your wood finish over time.
- Rotate things on furniture, so they do not sit in the same spot all the time.
- Always use a coaster under glasses, mugs, plates, etc. Use a pad under hot plates and pizza boxes. When writing, place something thicker underneath your paper, such as a book or magazine. Wood is soft, so your handwriting can travel through the paper and onto your tabletop.
- Clean up spills immediately. Use a blotting rather than a wiping action. Water left over a long period of time will cause white spots in the finish.
- Lift and place objects rather than dragging them across the furniture surface.
How to clean wood furniture?
Dust often. Frequent dusting keeps this buildup from happening. Sometimes dusting isn’t enough and you’ll find it necessary to clean your wood furniture. Never use all-purpose cleaners, which can cause damage to the finish. Simply wipe down your furniture with the dampened cloth. Then wipe away any remaining moisture with a dry cloth. Use cotton, as synthetic fibers can cause surface scratches. In case a performance finish is applied, wood furniture can be cleaned with a 100% cotton cloth slightly dampened with water and a mild dish detergent. Be sure to wipe away any detergent residue, and follow with a clean, dry cloth.
Keep Wood Smelling Fresh
Sometimes older pieces will develop an unpleasant odor, especially if they’ve been stored. You can sprinkle the surface with baking soda to freshen it up, and place a pan of charcoal inside drawers to absorb smells that emanate from inside.
Homemade furniture polish
For light wood:
2 teaspoons (10 g) beeswax granules
1/2 cup (100 ml) soybean oil
For dark wood:
1/2 teaspoon (2 g) beeswax granules
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lanolin
4 teaspoons (20 ml) soybean oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) mineral spirits
Melt the beeswax in a heatproof bowl then beat in the other ingredients. Allow it to cool and pour it into a metal or glass container and seal. Apply sparingly with a soft cloth and buff with a clean one. It can be kept for up to 6 months.
Removing wax from wood
To remove wax from wood, simply use a hair dryer switched to the lowest fan speed and highest heat setting to melt the wax residue on the wood. Rub the wax off with a piece of paper towel, then wipe with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water.
Taking proper care of your wood furniture isn’t hard or even that time-consuming, and the reward for your effort will be a home filled with beautiful wood furniture that looks and feels as good as the day you got it — now and for years to come.
Do you like wood furniture? Are there any particular cleaning tips, that you follow? Let me know down in comments!