Wood furniture has always been a part of our lives and hopefully always will be. Wood adds warmth to any room. There are a vast array of products marketed for the care of wood surfaces. You, like many consumers, might be wondering how to care for that new piece you picked up from your favourite furniture store (Dodd’s) or that old oak coffee table you scored at a garage sale.
Caring for wood furniture, beyond the usual dusting, is actually pretty easy. Here’s a few suggestions that we hope will help you in caring for those pieces you love.
Before You Buy
Check out the back, the insides and undersides of furniture and drawers. This will tell you about quality and secondary woods. You’ll learn something about the age of the item and the quality of craftsmanship. Ask about finishes.
Don’t place furniture near heating units or vents. Heat can cause wood to dry and shrink, leaving cracks.
Cracks may also appear if you place wood furniture in front of windows. The heat coming from a window can be intense and can cause fading and cook a fine finish.
Stay away from those aerosol sprays and oils. You can’t ‘feed’ furniture. Wood won’t be enriched by those products no matter what the advertising says. Wood, with a protective finish, can’t be penetrated.
All you need is warm water and mild dish soap. Don’t soak the furniture. A little water and soap goes a long way. Use a soft cloth and an old toothbrush to clean those hard-to-get-at spots. Wipe the surface dry with a fresh soft cloth and you’re good to go.
Every six months or so, after cleaning your wood furniture, apply a thin coat of soft paste wax. Wait several minutes and then buff it lightly with a soft cloth. Wait an hour and buff it again. You’ll have a beautiful shine that will last for months.
No matter how careful you are with your wood furniture, there’ll be accidents causing scratches and marks.
For a quick touch-up use shoe polish or a felt-tip marker, in matching color tones, on scratches or chips. The marks will be far less visible.
Periodically we all find those hazy white rings left by coffee mugs. These come off easily with a mild abrasive, like a non-gel toothpaste mixed with a little baking powder. Works like a charm. Keep coasters handy and vigorously encourage their use.