Tips to Care for Wood Furniture

Rubio monocoat on a wood table next to a cloth.

You’ve just welcomed home a new addition to your space in the form of a beautiful wood furniture piece. It’s gorgeous, it was expensive, and you want to keep it in as good a condition as possible. Keep reading and we’ll do our best to ensure you have all the information you need to accomplish that goal and keep that piece of furniture in your family for generations to come!

First Steps

The first questions you need to answer are about your new piece of furniture. What type of wood is it made out of? Are there any exposed metal pieces that would be at risk of rust if exposed to moisture? What type of finish was used on the wood? What is the stain color? Once you have answers to those questions, you should have most of the information you need to proceed with properly caring for your furniture.

General Care and Basic Cleaning

Most wood furniture can be cleaned with just a damp cotton cloth followed up with a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture. This is typically sufficient for day to day or weekly cleanings of your furniture. If the piece has more dirt, dust, or mess than a cloth and water can clean up with a few swipes, you can use other types of cleaner to take care of your furniture. The type of cleaner or polish that is best for your piece will largely depend on the finish your piece has. Given the amount of finishes possible and the amount of polishes available, this is a very large question and will require additional research on your part to ensure you are using the correct product. Always ensure you test any new products on an inconspicuous area of your furniture before using them on the entire piece. A prominent and trusted brand in the wood furniture space is Rubio Monocoat, they produce a soap that is safe to use on many types of pieces that use an oil finish.

The Don’ts of Wood Furniture, How to Protect it

When it comes to the day to day use of your furniture, there are several common sense steps you can take to protect it. For example, for pieces where hot dishes might be used, ensure there is something between the dish and the furniture to separate them and prevent discoloration to the piece. If an abrasive dish, piece of décor, or hard object is being kept on the wood furniture, put a soft piece of cloth or felt beneath them to avoid scratches caused by the objects being pulled across the surface. A less prominent activity to keep in mind is writing. When writing on a wooden surface, keep something thick between your paper and the table. This well help prevent your handwriting from being indented into your table top. The density of the furniture will affect how much this could occur. The softer the wood, the easier it is for the wood to be dented.

Another aspect of owning wood furniture to keep in mind is the environment you will be keeping it in. For wood furniture, the sun is not your friend, as is the case with Resin pieces which we discussed in our “How to Care for a Resin Table” blog, here. The wood also needs to be protected from extreme changes in temperature or humidity as this leads to expansion and contraction of the wood. These changes can then lead to cracks in the wood if it dries or swelling if it is too humid. This of course creates issues for the finish, but it will also create issues with the hardware used to assemble your furniture. As the size of the wood changes, it will lead to loosening of the hardware and can create safety issues if they loosen enough for the furniture to collapse.

Fixing Some Wood Furniture Issues

Common issues that come up with wood furniture range from loosened bolts, water rings, and scratches.

Avoiding hardware issues is typically as easy as regularly checking the hardware used to assemble the furniture and tightening it as needed. If you are following the above recommendation of avoiding extreme temperature changes then this shouldn’t become a major issue unless the hardware isn’t checked for years at a time.

Water rings are a more difficult issue to attempt to fix due to the moisture being in the furniture/coating on the piece. To remove the ring, the moisture will need to be removed. This can be attempted in several ways, the easiest of which being wiping the area with rubbing alcohol. This helps to remove the moisture from the surface and hopefully remove or decrease the appearance of the ring. As always, test the rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t affect the finish.

To attempt to remove the water ring with heat, use either a blow dryer or an iron and cloth. Ensure the blow dryer is not set to a hot temperature, but is kept to warm. For the iron and cloth, ensure the iron never comes into direct contact with the piece as this may cause issues with the finish.

Furniture For The Ages

When you follow these general wood furniture care tips you set your furniture and yourself up for success! Regular cleaning and basic repairs/fixes will help to keep your furniture in your home and family for years to come.

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