How To Care For Antique Wood Furniture

One reason that antique piece has lasted this long is the dedicated care provided by its previous owners. It’s now on you to make sure it the furniture sees another generation.

But don’t be scared by the apparent delicacy of antique wood furniture. They are fairly easy to maintain as long as you do it right.

The most important thing is to keep the furniture clean without damaging the wood or the finish. Here are some helpful tips on how to care for antique wood furniture.

Note: If you got the furniture from someone or a store, ask them if there are any special care tips for it.

1. Dust Often

It’s hard to notice when furniture gets dusty. That’s because most wood furniture are dark coloured. Even if your house is dust-free, it can still come in from outside and settle on the furniture.

Dust the furniture often even if you don’t see dust on it.

Avoid using most feather dusters. They’ll leave scratches on the delicate wood patina. Instead, dust using a very soft cloth or brush.

Don’t miss the hidden areas where dust tends to accumulate most out of sight.

2. Avoid Harsh Chemical Cleaners

Most chemical cleaners don’t play well with antique furniture. They are too harsh and could damage the wood’s finish.

To remove grime, first try using a soft cloth moistened with just water. Wipe gently and then follow up with a dry cloth. Never leave water sitting on the furniture.

For more stubborn dirt, add a bit of gentle dish soap to the water. If that fails, try a mixture of baking soda and water or vinegar and olive oil.

Before you use any of these cleaners, try them on a small hidden spot to make sure they are safe.

3. Wax It Regularly

A polish wax is the best for most antique furniture. Beeswax is especially good. It forms a protective layer over the wood’s original finish, ensuring it maintains its look and patina.

Apply only a thin layer of polish, using a soft cloth such as microfiber.

Other Care Tips

  • Wipe off spills and messes immediately before they seep into the wood or leave a stain that’s difficult to remove.
  • Use mats and coasters to protect the wood surface from burn marks, cup rings and scuffs. It’s a good idea to avoid placing heavy or rough objects on antique furniture.
  • Place the furniture in a place that does not get direct sunlight. UV radiation from the sun can quickly age antique furniture, causing it to lose its finish and fade.
  • Keep antique furniture away from areas with fluctuating temperatures such as near the AC vent, near a room heater or near the window. Constantly changing temperatures can cause the wood to shrink and swell repeatedly, which can lead to cracking or warping.
  • Check the room’s humidity as well. High levels of humidity will cause the wood to absorb moisture and swell. If there’s a lot of humidity, use a dehumidifier to lower it. Too little humidity can also be problematic. If your indoor air gets dry during winter, use a humidifier to maintain the right level of humidity.
  • Finally, seek the help of a professional restorer if your antique furniture develops a serious stain or scratch. Trying to remove it yourself using homemade products or chemical cleaners could cause further damage.