It's cold outside - take care of your wooden furniture!
Great tips to clean your wooden furniture and how to care for it during the year!
Dust furniture once a week using a soft cloth and, while doing so, buff up the surface to restore its lustre. Despite what manufacturers of furniture polish would have us believe, wood does not need closer attention more than a couple of times a year at most.
Don't avoid dusting furniture. Frequent dusting removes airborne deposits that build up in a filmy layer and can scratch the surface.
Clean, dry, soft cloths or feather dusters will effectively remove dust; however, to avoid scattering the dust into the air, where it floats until landing back on furniture surfaces, dampen the cloth very slightly.
1. To clean the finish on your wood furniture just use warm water and mild dish soap. Cleaning furniture with water won't hurt it -- just be careful not to soak it. Use an old toothbrush for hard-to-get areas. Wipe the dirt off the surface with soft cloths or paper towels until they come up fairly clean. Then dry off any residual moisture with a soft cloth.
2. After a good cleaning, the best way to protect the finish is to use a good-quality soft paste wax. Apply a thin coat as directed on the label. Wait five minutes and buff lightly with a soft (shoe) brush or cloth. Wait another 30 to 60 minutes and buff/brush again with a bit more vigor. You'll see a beautiful shine return to the finish that will last for many months. Do not use sprays, especially any containing silicone. The only substance that should go near your furniture is a good-quality wax polish - try Antiquax, £3.95, or Jonelle Beeswax Furniture Polish, £5.25; both from John Lewis branches. Apply a small amount of polish with a soft cloth and work it into the wood in the direction of the grain. Then go away and make a cup of tea. After a half hour or so, return to the piece of furniture and buff the surface using a clean soft cloth, again rubbing with the grain.
The idea is to remove excess polish so fold the cloth over as you work to prevent a build-up on the material. Otherwise you will be rubbing in the polish you have just taken off.
3. Keep your furniture out of the sun. The temperature of the summer sun coming through a window can go above 60C degrees. It will cook fine finishes, fading and destroying them over time, and dry out and shrink the wood, which will cause cracks. To keep wood in good condition, position it away from direct sources of heat, such as radiators, and keep it out of sunlight. Once the sun has bleached out the colour, which happens much more quickly than you would believe, the damage is irrevocable.
4. Don't place wood furniture near heating units or vents. Dry heat will cause the wood to dry and shrink, leaving cracks. Use a humidifier in the drier months to bring the moisture up to the 40 to 45 percent level.
5. There are several ways to remove the white hazy ring or spot that the hot coffee mug made on your table. The least invasive way is to rub it with a mild abrasive, such as non-gel toothpaste mixed with baking soda or cooking oil mixed with ashes. You can rub it in a small spot with your finger or use a soft cloth on larger areas.
How to apply Wax!
- Put a spoonful of wax, about the size of a golf ball, in a square of 100-percent-cotton fabric. Wrap the fabric around the wax ball and knead it until soft.
- Rub in a circular motion, one small area at a time, until the waxing is complete.
- When the surface dulls, wipe off the excess wax. Use a clean, soft cotton cloth and turn it frequently.
- Repeat waxing and wiping until the entire piece is waxed. If you notice a streak, keep wiping to remove excess wax.
- Polish the wood, with a soft cloth or lamb's-wool pad attached to an electric drill or power buffer. If the wax smears, wipe with a soft cloth and continue buffing.
- For a deep shine, apply a second coat of wax in the same manner; to maintain waxed furniture, dust with a lamb's-wool duster. Never use liquid or aerosol furniture polishes because they can dissolve the wax and leave a hazy film.
For fine furniture or treasured family heirlooms, use this three-step cleaning and care routine.
1. Clean approximately every year with a commercial cleaning product (such as Formby's Deep Cleaning Build-Up Remover) using #0000 steel wool. Work with the grain and follow product directions carefully.
2. Restore as needed, especially from sun fading, using a commercial finish restoring product such as Howard Restor-A-Finish. Choose a shade closest to the wood stain and apply with #0000 steel wool to a small section at a time. Work with the grain of the wood and use light to moderate pressure. Immediately wipe with a soft, lint-free cloth, such as cheesecloth.
3. Feed as a monthly routine using an orange oil or wax (try Feed-N-Wax beeswax) to prevent drying and cracking.
Enjoy your wooden furniture longer with these tips!