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Care & Cleaning of Solid Wood Furniture

How can you maintain the beauty of your solid wood furniture for many years? Learn some tips that can keep your furniture looking like it did the day you brought it home from the store!

How to Clean Solid Wood Furniture

Dust, fingerprints, fumes, cooking oils, and smoking residue build up on the surface of wood finishes and won’t disappear by simply swiping a feather duster across your furniture.

Wipe the furniture with a soft damp cloth first, following the grain of the wood. Then remove all moisture with a dry one. This will usually restore the shine to your furniture.

If you need a cleaner, choose a very mild soap. Avoid nail polish remover, alcohol, or other solvents that may harm the wood finish. First test the detergent in a small inconspicuous area of the furniture to make sure it will not mar or discolor the finish. Always wipe the furniture dry to eliminate water damage to the wood.

Polish natural wood a few times a year to keep it from drying out. Apply a high quality furniture polish according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using a soft cloth is important to prevent scratching the wood. Silicone polishes are hard on the wood finish if used many times and are best avoided. Your retailer may be able to recommend a polish that is perfect for your needs.

Natural Cleaning Options for Solid Wood Furniture

Here is an option for those who enjoy natural cleaners. Mix half a cup of white vinegar to half a gallon of water. Wring out your rag thoroughly before cleaning the wood. Or if you prefer, you can place the mixture in a bottle and spray it on the surface of your furniture. Wipe clean with a soft rag. Since too much water can penetrate the finish and damage the wood, remove all moisture with a fresh rag.

For natural furniture polish, combine ¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil and ¼ cup vinegar. Test on a small area first to ensure that the polish does not leave any undesirable marks on the finish. If you like the results of the natural polish on your wood, rub a small amount of the polish over the furniture. Buff the wood to a lovely shine with a soft dry cloth. Polishing is only necessary a couple times a year.

Helpful Furniture Care Tips

  • Placement. Place your furniture away from sources of heat such as radiators, heating vents, or wood burning stoves. Dry air may cause the wood to crack. Also keep furniture far enough away from windows to avoid direct sunlight as sunlight may discolor the wood.
  • Humidity.
    • Controlled humidity is important in the longevity of your solid wood furniture. Humidity outside the normal range of 35-45% could cause solid wood furniture to expand or contract, causing splits in the grain patterns and joints of the panels. In an uncontrolled environment, these conditions are an inherent characteristic of solid wood and are not considered a defect. It is a normal occurrence for seasonal gapping or minor cracks to appear in the grain pattern of solid wood, so please don’t assume this to be a defect of materials or workmanship.
    • Table leaves. A damp basement or a dry attic is not a good place for storing your table leaves. The difference in humidity may cause the wood to shrink or swell. Then how will you fit the leaves into your table when preparing for a houseful of company? Instead, find a hall closet where you can store them.
  • Clean with the wood grain of the furniture.
  • Dust the furniture often with a soft cloth to reduce dirt buildup.
  • Spills. Run for a soft rag and soak up spills immediately. The longer liquids sit, the more damage they can do.
  • Rotate your accessories.
  • Scratches. Lift items instead of sliding them across your furniture. Glue felt to the bottom of figurines to reduce scratching.
  • Hot items. Do not place hot items on your furniture. If it hurts you to touch something, it will probably hurt the wood as well. Place your morning coffee on a coaster.
  • Turpentine or mineral spirits clean up very grimy furniture and also remove the buildup of polish.

You will get many years of enjoyment from your new furniture by following these simple tips. We hope that when your furniture gets passed on someday, the first word the fortunate new owner will say is... "BEAUTIFUL!"

Feel free to contact us anytime if you have questions.

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