Solid wood is one of the most popular materials used for furniture pieces and there are several reasons for it. It continues to have a strong staying power in the furniture and home décor industry because aside from being a truly durable material, solid wood also boasts of its timeless appeal.
However, no matter how beautiful and long-lasting solid wood is, you still need to learn a few tips and tricks on properly cleaning and maintaining furniture items made of it. Whether you choose a solid wood furniture piece that has a dark or light finish or a traditional or mid-century modern design, you need to know how to maintain it. This is the key to maximizing its benefits and ensuring that it lasts for as long as you want.
To guide you in cleaning and maintaining solid wood furniture pieces, here are some tips and tricks that you should keep in mind:
Dust the wooden furniture
One important thing that should form part of your regular cleaning and maintenance routine is dusting wooden outdoor furniture as well as those that are indoors. Dusting solid wood furniture is necessary for getting rid of surface dirt and light soiling. Make sure that you use a gentle cleaning solution at first. Only use the stronger ones in case the gentle solution you used first did not work.
You can also create your own cleaning solution by mixing water and a bit of dishwashing soap. Prepare a soft cloth then dip it into the prepared cleaning solution. Make sure to wring it to remove excess liquid then use it in wiping the whole wooden piece of furniture. Avoid saturating the wood and frequently rinse the cloth you have used. Use another clean cloth to dry the furniture completely.
Protect the finish with a soft paste wax
It is also necessary to protect the finish of the solid wood furniture after each cleaning session with the help of high-quality and reliable soft paste wax. To apply it, check the directions stated on the product’s label. Make sure to apply only a thin coat to avoid an excessive application that might only damage the finish.
Wait for around five minutes to let the paste wax get absorbed by the furniture. After that, you can use a soft cloth or brush to buff the surface lightly. Wait for thirty to sixty minutes more then brush or buff the area again more vigorously. The result of this tip is a beautiful shine that you can expect to last for several months.
Do not expose it under the sun
Another thing to remember when trying to learn the basics of cleaning and maintain solid wood furniture is to prevent it from getting too exposed to the sun. Keep in mind that the sun’s temperature, especially during the summer, can reach more than 140 degrees.
If you do not protect your solid wood furniture from the sun then there is a great chance for its finish to get scorched by the extreme heat. This can lead to fading and extreme damage. Other possible problems that the scorching heat might cause to your wooden furniture are excessive dryness and shrinking that will eventually lead to cracks.
Apart from the sun, you should also avoid putting the furniture near other sources of heat, like heating units. It is because dry heat might also shrink and dry the solid wood material, causing it to develop cracks. To avoid that, take advantage of a humidifier during the dry months to supply enough moisture.
Clean your solid wood furniture regularly
One thing to keep in mind when trying to determine the best way to clean hardwood or any other type of solid wood is to avoid using commercial cleaning products not created specifically for woods. Only use such commercial products if your furniture comes with a protective coating made of plastic. If you still decide to use a commercial cleaning product then make sure to check the instructions stated on its label first.
Also, try to test the reaction of the wood to the product first. You can do that by using it on an unnoticeable and small spot first. This helps in figuring out whether the cleaning solution is indeed safe for the item. The best cleaning product for your wooden furniture is a gentle cleansing solution made of mild detergent and soap dissolved in water. Create a paste out of them then use it to target sticky or greasy spots on the furniture. Use a damp and clean cloth when spot-treating the specific area you wish to target.
After removing the stains, rinse the area carefully. Use a dry cloth to wipe the surface again after rinsing. If you are dealing with harder stains, like alcohol spots or watermarks, then you can rest assured that it is still possible to clean it, although it might be necessary to choose a stronger cleaning solution for it, like polish.
In case the furniture item comes with a finish then go over the guidelines stated by the manufacturer in terms of caring for and maintaining the product. This can help in identifying the specific polishing products that perfectly suit the wooden furniture and the stains it has.
Polish solid wood furniture
Maintaining the beauty of your solid wood furniture is possible by polishing it twice annually. In this case, you can use the mixture of olive or vegetable oil and white vinegar to create the perfect polish for your furniture. To create the polish, combine one-quarter cup each of olive oil and white vinegar.
Mix well then apply the prepared solution on the area you wish to target with the aid of a soft cloth. Do not forget to buff it after polishing to make it shine again. The polishing solution made of olive or vegetable oil and white vinegar can moisturize the wood. However, before applying it, test it on a small part of the furniture first.
Use mineral spirits
Petroleum-based mineral spirits are also safe to use on your solid wood furniture pieces in case of wax buildup. Test this product first in a non-visible part of the furniture to have a guarantee that it will not stain. To apply, soak a clean cloth in the mineral spirit then use it to wipe down the piece of furniture.
It is also necessary to use a damp cloth to wipe off any remaining cleaning solution. Check for visible signs of damage to the solid wood furniture’s varnish. Also, ensure that the area where you do this treatment is properly ventilated.
Allow the furniture to dry completely
After each cleaning session, make sure to let the furniture dry completely for a minimum of twenty-four hours before using it again. This is important no matter what cleaning product or solution you decided to use. You need to let it dry completely to have a clear view of the actual effects of the cleaning process.
After letting it dry completely, examine each part of the furniture to find out if there is a need for repairs. In case some areas show signs of damage, try repairing it by treating the finish.
Solid wood is indeed a beautiful material for furniture pieces but you have to make sure that you apply proper cleaning and maintenance routines. This will slow down the solid wood’s deterioration. Hopefully, the simple tips mentioned in this article will help you in preserving the beauty of your solid wood furniture pieces.