Quality crafted solid wood furniture makes a dramatic addition to any space. Adding wood pieces to a design layout provides a bold contrast to concrete and marble palettes and is a simple way to bring the natural world into a room. Wood is timeless and warm, begs to be touched and is always original - with no two pieces identical. Well made wood furniture can last for generations with the proper care. Maintained pieces can pass from home to home and family to family, thus avoiding landfills like those built from plastic and other man-made materials.
Just as your vehicle requires routine maintenance to keep it performing at an optimal level, wood furniture, especially pieces used in high-trafficed areas and those that come into contant with food and beverages, also occasionally need a little TLC. To help keep your wood furniture looking its best, read on and then download our material specific guides for water-based, oil-based and exterior wood furniture care.
Before we delve into what we refer to as the "Wood Care Steps to Success", we feel it necessary to quickly run through our list of Wood Furniture Enemies.
Water rings and stains, scratches and faded areas from sun damage can ruin a beautiful table
Protect your furniture and your investment by avoiding the items on this list as much as possible.
Sun: Just like fabric, wood is susceptible to fading when placed in direct and constant sunlight, so please try to avoid a sunny spot - or at least make sure to invest in window coverings.
Water: Condensation from a glass or overflow from an overwatered plant can become damaging when left to sit and soak so try to always use coasters and clean up spills as they happen to avoid water rings and stains.
Heat: Wood furniture that sits to close to a heating source (think radiator or wood-burning stove) can cause wood furniture to expand which can in turn cause pieces to warp. And placing hot dishes or mugs directly on wood surfaces can leave cloudy stains in their wake so invest in some hot pads and coasters to keep the clouds away.
Chemicals: While Pledge promises to make your wood shine with a lemony scent, the silicone it contains can cause problems should your piece need refinishing at a later date. Additionally, any products containing ammonia or with a high pH can cause wood finishes to soften and degrade over time.
So what products can I use to clean my wood furniture?
The answer might surprise you. When taking care of wood furniture we take a "less is more" approach. For regular and quick clean ups, a damp cloth is all you need for both water-based and oil-based finishes. A mild soap can be used on water-based finishes when necessary, so long as you do not saturate the piece with moisture. With oil-based finishes, we recommend OSMO Wash and Care, an oil-based natural soap that helps reduce the stripping effect of regular cleaning. A small amount of this product diluted in water cleans effectively and feeds the finish at the same time.
In-between cleanings, there are other steps you can take to preserve the beauty of your wood furniture including climate control, polishing, refinishing and protection.
Climate Control: Wood expands and contracts with temperature and humidity changes. By controlling the climate of your space with humidity gauges and thermostats, as well as keeping your table out of constant, direct sunlight, you can keep this movement to a minimum.
Polishing: For water-based finishes, we recommend Guardsman brand furniture polish, a silicone free cleaner and polisher all-in-one, that enhances the beauty of the wood without damaging the finish. Simply apply a small amount to a clean, soft cloth and wipe on the piece, making sure to follow the direction of the grain, then buff lightly with a clean, dry, cotton cloth.
Refinishing: To remove stubborn stains, or to refresh the finish of oil-based finished furniture, we use OSMO Liquid Wax Cleaner, a hard-wax based care product. To use, rub a small amount of the cleaner over the entire wood surface using a cloth or 3M Scotch-Brite 7445 white ultra-fine pad. Allow the product to dry for 30-60 minutes, until it becomes hazy, then buff lightly with a clean, dry, cotton cloth. Avoid placing flat objects on the finished surface for 24 hours after application to ensure it cures thoroughly. IMPORTANT NOTE: cleaner soaked rags can spontaneously combust so please be sure to dispose them carefully.
Protection: Covering your wood furniture can also go a long way with preserving its beauty. Using coasters, tablecloths, placements and hot pads create an effective barrier between the wood and potential damage caused by heat, rough surfaces and moisture.
Quality wood furniture is a wonderful investment that, with the proper care, can retain its beauty, and value, for years. Following the steps we mentioned here will keep your pieces looking great and your investment protected. If you have purchased a Meyer Wells piece and have any additional questions about care, please let us know. let us know. We are always available to talk wood!
Download the guide that describes your wood furniture and always know how to care for your prized pieces.