Cleaning wood

Whilst we may have the cleaning bug at the moment and have the urge to bleach everything in sight, our wooden furniture needs a little more consideration.

 

Does Looking after wood have to be hard?

 No two pieces of real wood are ever exactly the same, the variations in grain, pattern and colour are what give real wood its natural beauty and timeless appeal. Looking after it doesn’t have to be hard, there are just a few dos and don’ts to follow:

Cleaning is about removing contaminants from a surface, but that doesn’t mean that you need to bleach it.

 

Moisture

Added moisture may cause furniture to move slightly, so it is recommended to ensure adequate ventilation to minimise this. Swollen wood is likely to shrink more obviously and leave marks such as splitting.

 

Temperature

Extreme temperatures may lead to the wood drying out too much – heat sources such as radiators could damage real wood. Wood left in a overly heated area such as by a radiator can dry out and split if not regularly cared for.

 

Sunlight

Sunlight may over a period of time alter the colour of real wood; this is just part of the aging process and enhances the beauty of the natural material. However extremes of sunlight can have an effect on the colour of wood so make sure you don’t leave placemats on a table in a conservatory or a table runner in a sunny window for long period of time.

 

Spills

Spillages if not cleaned off can leave water marks – this is unsightly so should be avoided where possible – don’t forget if you spill a drink lift up the coaster and clean the underside.

Protection

Heat will leave scorch marks on the surface of the wood - these marks can be unsightly so its recommended to use heat protective mats such as coasters and table mats on a wooden surface if using hot dishes or cups, candles etc.

 

 What finish have you got - Wax, Oil or Lacquer?

There are many finishes available on the market and before you break out the supermarket bought polish it’s important that you know what finish you have so you use the right product. 

 

  • Wax finish – You can apply wax over any other finish and it will give the surface a soft sheen and smooth feel, but don’t put other finishes over wax. Apply wax to your waxed furniture once or twice a year.
  • Oil finish – You will need to re-apply oil once or twice to maintain the wood finish.
  • Lacquer finish – Lacquer finish can be wiped down with a damp cloth as long as it is dried off afterwards. To keep the lacquer looking as new and fresh as possible it is recommended that the wood is cleaned regularly using natural wax based polishes only.

 

Never use chemicals such as bleach or abrasive materials such as dish scrubbers on any natural wood product as it will damage the wood. Always check the usage instructions before applying a cleaning product to real wood and if appropriate for wood follow the instructions carefully.