Wood furniture brings a sense of tradition and class to any home, and many pieces come with unique carvings and colours, turning the home into a personalized paradise. You probably want this furniture to last for the rest of your life, and you may even want to pass it on to your children or grandchildren. But if you want your wood furniture to last, you need to take care of it.
To keep your furniture sturdy and gorgeous for decades to come, use the following tips:
- Don’t place your furniture in the sun.
When you place your wooden furniture next to a window or sliding glass door, the light coming through the glass could heat the wood to over 60 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the color will fade, the finish will crack, and the wood will dry out, leading to cracks throughout the rest of the piece as well.
- Don’t place your furniture near anything that produces heat.
Your furniture will have similar problems if placed near heaters, furnaces, electric blankets, vents, ovens, stoves, etc. The heat will dry out the wood, causing it to shrink and crack, which will ruin the finish as well. Keep your wood in cooler areas, and protect it from drier weather with a humidifier.
- Don’t clean it with chemicals.
If you have to clean your wood furniture, do so with warm water and a tiny dot of mild dish soap. Don’t soak your furniture either—wring out a soft cloth before applying the soap, and don’t scrub too hard. You don’t want to take off the finish.
After you’ve cleaned the furniture, make sure you mop up all moisture with another soft cloth.
- Always check with the store you purchased the furniture from before waxing.
The water and soap will dry out the finish a little, so you should give the finish a boost with wax every time you clean it. Apply a thin coat of soft wax, wait a few minutes, then buff it into the wood gently. Buff again after waiting an hour. The wax will help your furniture shine for months at a time.
- Don’t waste your money on furniture polish.
Your wood already has a finish on it, and you need only a little wax to maintain the finish. Once the manufacturer puts the finish on the wood, it seals the furniture, preventing anything from touching the wood underneath. You only have to worry about the “thirst” of the wood if the finish or furniture cracks.
- Touch up chips with shoe polish or a felt marker.
You don’t want anything to damage your wood furniture, but inevitably you’ll notice scratches or chips accumulating on the legs or feet of the piece. When that happens, you can disguise the flaws with matching shoe polish or a felt marker. Just make sure you pick colours that’ll match the furniture’s original finish.
- Remove cup rings and spots with baking soda.
Dishes, pizza boxes, newspapers, and other items can leave spots and stains on your furniture’s finish. But don’t worry! You can get it off without using conventional cleaners. Put a small amount of baking soda on a damp cloth, and rub gently in a limited area until the stains disappear; make sure to wipe off the soda when you’re done.
- Place it in a less busy area.
Furniture gets scratches and chips because things knock against it, like children’s toys, vacuums, shoes, and more. To keep your furniture perfect, put it in quieter areas in your home (not the kitchen or living room). Quieter areas include parlours, bedrooms, and studies.
- Place it away from water.
Water damages your wood furniture faster than anything else. The finish will protect the wood for a long time, but eventually the water will wear through the finish, damaging the wood underneath—even warping it. Keep your furniture away from sources of water in the kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom, and don’t forget that water could come in through windows too.
Your wooden furniture could adorn your home with sophistication and class for many decades. Some wood furniture has even lasted centuries, meaning that your furniture can even go to your children and grandchildren if you care for it properly. You don’t have to hide your wooden furniture in storage to protect it—use these tips to make it last a lifetime or more.