Caring for wood furniture [Video]

Because wood has such a long life, it does require some maintenance to keep it looking new. Here are some tips.

Wood is a staple in many houses. It’s durable and long-lasting and fits in with any kind of decor. Because wood has such a long life, it does require some maintenance to keep it looking new. Even if you don’t have a piece of furniture that is completely wood, you likely do have some wood accents, like chair legs, that require attention. Here are some tips to care for wood furniture and keep it in top shape for years to come:

Since wood is so hardy, you may neglect it, leaving tables, shelving and other furniture to become coated in dust. While this miniscule material won’t harm the wood, it will change the look of the piece. Dust can alter the color of wood and even make it look much older and dirtier than it is. Use a microfiber dusting cloth to pick up all those tiny pieces and return your wood furniture to its original hue.

The best way to clean wood furniture depends on the finish. Typically a mixture of mild soap and water on a damp cloth will be enough to clean these types of pieces. Chair and table legs take particularly well to this easy method. Tabletops may be a different matter as they often see sticky spills and water rings. Prevent stains by wiping up any spills immediately and using coasters for beverages. Never set hot food or other items directly on the wood – place a hot pad between the two.

Consider light exposure
The Smithsonian Institute noted that light can damage wood furniture by discoloring and bleaching the surface. The best way to reduce the likelihood of this happening is to use shades or drapery. Simply reducing light exposure will prolong the life of your wood furniture. In the event that you have pieces that are already affected, consider giving them a darker stain that hides the bleaching.

Avoid humidity
Wood swells with humidity and heat. This can change the size of the furniture just enough to weaken joints. Promote wood health by keeping this type of furniture inside and closing up your home if it is very humid outside. Consider investing in a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air and prevent humidity damage. Use an air conditioner to keep your family and furniture cool during the hot months of summer.

Use oils or polishes
Better Homes and Gardens recommends using oil or polish to keep your wood furniture looking new. Look for solutions that contain a half and half mix of polish to oil. When the duo is skewed too far towards oil you’ll find the product takes forever to dry and may result in smears and fingerprints. Sprays and polishes typically contain silicone oil, which can protect your furniture from wax dust and imperfections. Apply these options once or twice a year after thoroughly dusting and cleaning the wood until it is dry.



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