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How to Care for Vintage Wood Furniture

An antique wood piece is something to be treasured and cherished. It serves as a reminder of generations past while offering a touch of class and personality to any room in your home. Whether you’re a collector of fine wooden furniture, avid antique shopper or simply looking for some help taking care of a family heirloom, when it comes time to clean your pieces you may have a few questions. In order to maintain the elegance of your wooden furniture, keep the following tips in mind.

1) Always use a gentle touch. Whether it’s an ornate chest that traveled with your great grandfather across the Atlantic, or a small desk that held your grandmother’s sewing machine, even a piece that was extremely durable in its youth should be cared for gently. Even a small scratch or mark could devalue the entire piece.

2) There are two primary materials used to clean vintage wood – lemon oil and wax. If you’re using lemon oil, spread a layer of the oil evenly across the wood, and then gather a few soft rags – such as worn down old t-shirts. Gently rub the oil into the wood using the rags and making small, circular motions in the same direction as the grain. Several hours later, use another clean rag to scrub dust and grime loose.

3) If you choose furniture wax, invest in some 4-0 steel wool and dip it into the pot of wax. Again, using a circular motion, rub the wax into the wood following the direction of the grain. This will instantly remove any dust and will reduce the appearance of scratches and other marks.

4) Finally, keep in mind that wood can easily become damaged by weather extremes. Whether it’s high humidity, low humidity, extreme heat or severe cold, over time it will take its toll on the wood. Always store your antique furniture inside and, if you must put it into storage make sure the storage unit is climate-controlled. When it comes to antique furniture, preservation is key.

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