Older furniture, or antique furniture if you are lucky, can often be bought at a reasonable price if it requires some restoration. Sometimes this entails some woodwork, but often it means an afternoon of careful cleaning.
Antique Furniture Cleaning
- Use the mildest cleaner possible. There are cleaning agents at hardware stores designed for furniture; though you may have to ask the shop assistants. Else, use the mild dish soap designed for hand washing dishes. Avoid anything acidic. Some specialty cleaners are oil based (Murphy’s Oil) and work well if used sparingly. Furniture paste wax is another option, also available at hardware stores.
- If in doubt, spot test any cleaners on an inconspicuous part of furniture. Never use anything that causes fading or other damage.
- Before using any solvent, try simply cleaning the furniture with a microfiber cloth. These remove more surface level problems than most people would expect, and even if you have to use a cleaning agent afterward there will be less dust and grime to deal with.
- Rub the furniture surface with a soft cloth and the chosen cleaner. Avoid scrubbing; just rub in the direction of the wood grain. Continue till the cloth no longer picks up any more dirt or grime.
- If there are any materials on the surface of the furniture, any stuck on stains, try gently using a scrubbing pad (the green nylon type). Gently rubbing the direction of the wood grain, and avoid removing the wood finish. Else, use very fine steel wool.
- Use a toothbrush to clean gaps, crevices and hard to reach places.
- When clean, wipe down the furniture with a dry rag to remove all moisture.
- Larger pieces of furniture may be best cleaned one section at a time, and immediately dried off. Avoid leaving the wooden furniture damp for any period of time. The is especially important with any veneer, which can warp under wet conditions.
- Once dry (you might want to wait overnight), polish the furniture till it shines; follow the instructions that come with the polish. Some older furniture items do not take well to silicone based polish; read the advice on the label.
- If you know the type of wood used for this furniture, do some research (Google) to find if it has specific requirements or restrictions.
- If you suspect the furniture is valuable it might be best to ask an experts advice before attempting a restoration. Some restoration techniques can have a negative impact on the furniture and its value.
Maintenance of Wooden Furniture
- Keep away from UV light, such as direct sunlight.
- Use a humidifier in a dry environment to make sure the wood does not completely dry out. Also avoid damp conditions.