wooden furniture care

A Complete Guide to Caring and Maintaining Solid Wood Furniture

A quality piece of wooden furniture makes for a sound and significant investment for your home. One of the most prominent features of solid wood furniture is its timeless beauty. You can expect its beauty to last for generations provided you give it proper care and maintenance. In most cases, solid wood bedroom, kitchen, laundry and bathroom furniture, among many other places where you can display the items, comes with a finish designed to protect the material and further improve its beauty.

wood furniture oil
Image by La Belle Galerie from Pixabay

However, you can’t expect the added finish to be completely indestructible. With this, you need to exert effort to care for solid wood furniture and its finish so it will last longer, allowing it to serve its purpose for a long time.

Here are some tips to care for and maintain the beauty and durability of the material:

Waterproof the wood

If you do not treat your solid wood furniture then it can be more prone to cracking, warping, and rotting. You can extend the life of the material by treating it with the help of a waterproofing product. Make sure to waterproof those wooden furniture items exposed regularly to the weather, such as the ones in your porch or patio. You can use three oils when it comes to waterproofing wood. These are walnut, tung, and linseed.

Create a mixture out of your chosen oil. What you have to do is to combine the oil with apple cider vinegar and turpentine in a metal-based container, such as a coffee container. Mix well until fully blended. Before the actual application of the oil, prepare the wood by scraping any flaws or imperfections that can be clearly seen from the surface with the help of a metal file or sandpaper.

Once done, use a dry cloth to rub or sweep away the scraps. Make sure that the surface is dry enough before the actual oil treatment. Get a rag then pour a tiny amount of the oil mixture into its surface. Avoid applying the oil solution directly into the piece of wood. Rub the oil into the piece of furniture using the rag. Move it gradually from the interiors to its exteriors. Avoid touching the oil when it is still being absorbed by the wood and focus on giving it an even coat.

Let the coat dry for at least thirty minutes. Once it is completely dry, get a clean cloth to wipe the surface and get rid of any excess oil. You should then let the wood cure for at least 24 more hours. This can help in waterproofing the wood. Aside from oils, you may also use a sealant to waterproof your wooden furniture and help maintain its good condition for quite a long time.

Clean wooden furniture regularly

Of course, a vital part of caring for hardwood or any other type of wooden furniture is to give it a regular cleaning. It helps in preserving the beauty of your wooden furniture and in keeping it fully protected. Make it a weekly habit to clean the item by wiping its surface with the help of a dry cloth.

In case there are spills and stains, use a damp cloth to wipe the affected spots based on the wood grain’s direction. Make sure that you are also using safe cleaning products for furniture made of wood. Avoid commercial lemon oil, especially if you intend to clean a furniture item made of hand-carved mahogany.

It is because while the lemon oil is effective in giving the item a nice and beautiful shine, it still contains kerosene that might harm the finish of the wood. It would be much better for you to use an aerosol furniture cleaning spray as an alternative. Avoid using all-purpose cleaners, too, as these are also damaging to the material’s finish.

In case there is a spot in the furniture, which is extremely sticky or heavily soiled then you can handle it with the help of a cloth dipped in water containing a mild dish detergent. Use the cloth to wipe the spot gently. Do not forget to wipe it again using a damp cloth rinsed in plain water. Finish it up by using a soft, dry cloth to wipe it. Aside from regular cleaning, it also helps to polish the furniture every 6 months with the help of a soft and clean cloth free of lint. Just rub the polish in the grain’s direction.

Protect your solid wood furniture

cleaning wooden furniture
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It also helps to apply some precautionary measures designed to protect and preserve the excellent condition of your solid wood furniture items. Some of the simple things that you can to retain the wood’s look and condition are the following:

  • Do not put the furniture in a spot that exposes it to direct sunlight. It is because this might cause it to fade prematurely.
  • Do not expose your solid wood furniture to extreme temperature changes. Put it away from air conditioning units, air and heat vents as well as radiators to avoid that.
  • Do not put rubber or plastic-based materials, like placemats and lamp bases, on the furniture as such materials have ingredients that can significantly harm the wood’s finish.
  • If there are spills, do not fail to clean them up right away. Apply a blotting action, instead of wiping the spills. Also, keep in mind that if you leave water on the finish for a long period then it might trigger the development of white spots. Be extra careful with perfume, medications, after-shave, and alcohol, too, as this might also severely damage the wood’s finish.
  • Avoid storing wooden furniture in your garage, attic, warehouse, or basement if possible. Putting the items in those areas might cause them to age prematurely.
  • Prevent environmental damage. Note that environmental factors and elements, like heat and sunlight, might be damaging to fine wood. With that in mind, avoid putting valuable furniture items in front of windows without any cover, as well as fireplaces and vents. This is necessary for preventing untoward damage and fading to the wood.
  • Do not mistreat the furniture. Treat the pieces of wooden furniture well by using coasters whenever you need to set mugs or glasses down on wooden surfaces. This can help prevent damage caused by heat as well as the development of rings in the surface. Also, avoid putting hot foods directly on the furniture. Put a tablecloth or decorative placemat on your wooden kitchen table to protect it from drink and food spills.

Re-oil and re-wax

Re-oiling and re-waxing your solid wood furniture should also form a vital part of your care and maintenance routines. If the item becomes extremely dry because of long-term storage then make sure to apply oil into the surface again. Start by cleaning the item with the most suitable cleaner then prepare it with the help of steel wool.

Apply a liberal amount of the oil you are using for the furniture. Allow the oil to get absorbed by the material for around fifteen minutes. If you wish to put on a protective coating on the furniture then allow it to set for a minimum of twenty-four hours before moving on to the other steps of the process.

Also, take note that based on the wooden furniture’s finish, some pieces may have a wax protective coating. When they age, re-waxing the surface may be necessary for its proper protection. Just prepare the wooden furniture’s surface with the aid of steel wool then get rid of the residue by wiping the area gently using a soft cloth.

Put on one coat of wax then spread it using a Scotch Brite pad. Make sure to use light pressure during the application and follow the grain. Let the applied wax set for a maximum of twenty minutes. You should then use a clean and new Scotch Brite pad to get rid of any excess wax. Get a soft cloth then buff the surface until it becomes smooth and nice to the touch.

Conclusion

Caring and maintaining solid wood furniture is not that hard. For extensive damages, treat the affected areas with a polish. It also helps to paint damaged wooden furniture again as this will incorporate a new life to it and lengthen its life for several more years.

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