How To Properly Clean and Care For Your Furniture

As a homeowner you will know how important it is to have your house ‘just right’, fitted with the finest furniture and finished with the chicest of home accessories; having the right décor is what transforms a house into a home, giving it personality and finesse. As such, it is understandable that you are willing to spend a lot of time and effort finding and investing in the right quality pieces. Whether you have a country cottage in the Cotswolds decorated with all things shabby chic, a classic home fitted with bespoke furniture in London or an abode that is somewhere in between, decorating it perfectly and finding the right quality pieces is only half the battle for a beautiful home.

Like anything, quality furniture is only likely to stay pristine if it is cared for properly. Now, on the one hand that means using coasters for drinks and stopping pedestrian traffic kicking and scuffing legs. On the other hand however, it requires knowledge and practice of proper maintenance.

Maintenance can be particularly tricky when it comes to wooden furniture and finishes which is why we have compiled this quick list of all the tips and tricks involved with cleaning and caring for wooden furniture.

French Polished Finish

  • To dust a French Polished surface you can use a soft cloth regularly
  • Every now and then you can use wax polish but don’t use too much and not too often
  • Use a warm, damp cloth to remove sticky spots but be sure to dry the spot off thoroughly

Lacquered Finish

  • Lacquered surfaces can be wiped over with a damp duster (sprayed directly with a fine water-mist)
  • To remove grease or finger marks from lacquered surfaces, use a damp cloth

Waxed Finish

  • Dust wax finishes with a soft cloth on a regular basis
  • Remove sticky marks with a warm, damp cloth but dry the surface completely afterwards
  • In order to keep water-resistance and shine, apply wax or polish to the surface once or twice a year

Oiled Surface

  • Never wax an oil finish as this will block the pores, dry the surface and make it brittle
  • Oiled surfaces only require an occasional application of furniture oil to keep them looking in good condition
  • Use a cloth with toothpaste, another mild abrasive (salt, baking soda, pumice) or oil (olive oil, petroleum jelly, cooking oil) to remove drink rings and other white spots

Painted Surface

  • Painted surfaces are low maintenance, needing very little care
  • To clean regularly, use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner
  • Try to steer clear of polishes and waxes as they can ruin painted surfaces; if you absolutely must use a wax then use a hard paste wax once a year only
  • To remove fingerprints and other such marks, wipe the surface occasionally with a damp sponge

Polished Finish

  • Easy to keep, polished surfaces are suitable for commercial polishes but choose one suitable for your particular finish
  • Paste wax is tougher and longer-lasting than sprays and liquids; paste wax polish is best for antiques especially

Speciality Surface

  • Woods like wicker, rattan, bamboo, cane and rush are not as high maintenance as other finishes so simply clean them on a regular basis with the brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner

7 Bonus Tricks

  • Use cotton gloves when waxing so as not to leave fingerprints
  • Wipe polished wood with a cloth that has been dipped in tea; buff for a finish
  • Microfiber cloths are best for dusting
  • Spray polish onto the cloth, not the furniture
  • Wax and oil are best for buffing or for ‘filling’ scratches
  • Apply mayonnaise to white rings, let it set for an hour then wipe it off with a soft cloth before polishing the cleaned surface
  • For easy-to-make and easy-to-use DIY polish, try Crunchy Betty’s Wonderfully Simple Homemade Wood Polish Recipe (remember to try any new polish on a subtle test patch first!)

Use these tips and tricks to keep all of your wooden furniture in top condition, keeping in mind that picking out the perfect home furnishings is only the first step. Whether it is store-bought or bespoke furniture, ensure you protect your investment and keep your home pristine by performing the proper maintenance.