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Heat induced crack oak table

How to best care for wood furniture

Wood furniture goes back thousands of years. With our origins being so tied in with nature itself, it’s hardly any wonder why we have such an affinity for wooden furniture. Manipulation of wood into furniture is an art form which differs from metal and other man-made materials we so often use. Wood is naturally porous and often treated with a protective finish, these qualities lead to vastly different maintenance requirements than you may be used to. This article is intended to give tips on the best way to care for wood furniture. 

In a commercial environment adhering to these guidelines is even more paramount as cleaning may be as regular as once every half hour – this will accelerate any negative consequences of bad maintenance. Avoiding these common pitfalls when taking care of your wooden furniture will improve it’s overall health and longevity.

Tips on taking care of wood furniture

“If it’s safe enough for your hands, it’s safe enough for the wood”

  • In order to best clean the finish on your wooden furniture it is best to use hand soap or mild dish soap with warm water; if it’s safe enough for your hands, its safe enough for the wood. Remove any excess water with a soft cloth. Never clean wood with abrasive chemicals, this will erode the protective finish and expose the raw wood. 
  • Invest in a good quality soft paste wax. Follow the directions on the label. These usually consist of applying sparingly, waiting 5 minutes and buffing lightly with a soft cloth. After 45 or so minutes have passed buff again with a bit more enthusiasm. This should bring out a beautiful shine.
  • Keep your wooden furniture out of the sun as best you possibly can, the temperature of sunlight on a beautiful summers day through a window pane can easily get above 60 degrees. This will fade colour, play havoc with the finish, dry out and shrinking the wood over time which will result in cracks.
  • Dry heat such as that from fires, vents or heating units will also dry out and shrink your wooden furniture, which will result in cracks. If you live in an arid climate it is a good idea to use a humidifier in the drier months. 
  • You cannot enrich your wood with oils and polishes. Advertisements would have you believe otherwise, but in reality after it has been treated with a protective  finish the wood is sealed, this means polishes and oils will not penetrate it. 
  • Chips and scratches can be touched up by carefully matching the colour of shoe polish or felt tip marker. 
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