From beautiful dining tables to well-preserved antique nightstands, wood furniture is one of the most widely used home accessories all over the world. While dusting is helpful, it does little to protect wood from intense light, moisture, extreme temperature changes, and scratches. Read on for some helpful tips on how to keep your beloved wooden furniture in the best shape for years to come.
Make an effort to dust at least twice a week. Even small amounts of dust can lead to tiny scratches that can eventually turn into more severe damage. Instead of using a feather duster that will only shift dust around, use a dampened soft cloth to remove all traces of dust. Remember to clean out your heating and cooling air ducts at least once a year to help prevent large amounts of dust from being released into the air and onto your wood furniture.
Skip Inexpensive Cleansing Agents
Everyone wants to save money, but opting for inexpensive furniture polish does much more harm than good. Avoid strong-smelling, ammonia-based products that can strip away shiny, protective finishes. Believe it or not, a soft, damp cloth, followed by a dry one is often better than a commercial cleaner.
Choose Products Based on Wood Type
With so many wood compositions and finishes, it’s important to know which type of surface you are caring for before investing in wood care products. Whenever you buy wood furniture from a designer firm, the accompanying paperwork should give you a detailed description of the exact wood type as well as how to properly care for it. Older furnishings often lack modern-day post-catalyzed and pre-catalyzed protective lacquer finishes and therefore require extra care.
Protect Wood From Prolonged Sunlight Exposure
Constant exposure to sunlight is bad news for any type of wood furniture, regardless of the finish; however, if you must keep wood furniture near windows, consider investing in window treatments such blinds, drapes, curtains, or custom-fitted window film.
Prevent Moisture Damage
When wood is exposed to constant low-level moisture, over time, it can result in cracking or splitting of the wood. In contrast, high moisture levels often result in swelling and mold formation. Through the use of a humidifier, you can keep indoor moisture levels in constant check. In addition, always use drink coasters when needed. Cold glasses and hot coffee mugs will discolor the finish, and any moisture left behind will eat away at the wood surface.
While wood is durable, it is highly susceptible to scratches, especially if you have small children and pets. Before attempting to fix scratches, make sure that the area is clean and free of all traces of oil, wax, grease and dirt. Scratches can easily be disguised with concentrated dark black tea, a thick paste of instant coffee and water or a felt tip colored marker made specifically for furniture touch-ups. Once the scratched area is concealed, you can protect the newly stained area with furniture oil. Avoid applying oil in excess amounts as this can attract fingerprints and excess dust.
Factors like dust, sunlight exposure, moisture and scratches can damage your wood furniture in a short amount of time. Weather your wood pieces are new or delicately aged, you can keep them looking great with minimal effort and spending.