Jennifer from A Merry Mishap emailed recently asking for a little advice to spruce up her newly found vintage dining room table. I’m not a furniture restore, btw, but I’ve done a lot of reading over the years about wood, and how to look after it, and watched plenty of antiques programmes, and one consistent theme has always been to leave solid wood furniture alone, dust it, and use a minimum of polish, and let the timber age naturally, it’s the touching and rubbing of human hands over decades that gives it it’s character.
And speaking of planning, we also originally planned to paint the top, sides, and bottom of the piece white (while leaving the rest of it in the same wood tone that you see now – sort of like this but wood where the white is and white where the wood is) but now that we’ve scrubbed it down and brought it into the living room we actually like it just the way it is.
If you go that route there are a few important things to know: You must must must test it first on a hidden portion of the table to be sure it won’t damage the wood; you must work in a ventilated area and use protective gloves; when applying mineral spirits, use a soft cloth and wipe with the grain of the wood, then wipe the product off immediately with a clean, soft cloth dampened with water and dry the table immediately.
I’ve always been scared of furniture wax for some reason but in the interest of being awesome, I’d like to give it a shot now. If your wood is unfinished, just clean it using a dry microfiber cloth, as moisture can parch and/or warp the wood. The masking tape holds the blade slightly off the surface so you can knock off paint spatters without the blade even touching the wood. I tested four cabinet cleaners — two spray formulas, a plant-based product, and a traditional oil soap — to find out which product would clean my kitchen cabinets best. It is important that the original finish be clean of wax, oils, soot and nicotine otherwise the final product will not stick to the furniture.
It might sound like the makings to your favorite salad dressing, but believe it or not, a little oil and vinegar might be all you need to bring your favorite old wood dresser back to life. This article contains some general information about care of antique furniture as well as tips and solutions to common problems. Initial cleaning always improves the appearance of old furniture, but can still look dull and lifeless. And since a popular ask has been how I clean it, I decided to go over in detail how to clean and care for wood furniture.
You can use this mixture on antiques, however, do be very careful when dealing with old, antique pieces – or furniture made from exotic woods – they may very well have specific cleaning requirements, so do your research! TSP was commonly used prior to the 1970’s to clean walls prior to painting them. Use a wood care product designed specifically for treating everyday injuries to your wood furniture.
It is not necessary to soak the entire pad – you need just enough to wipe onto the clean wood surface. Using your soaked and rung out furniture cloth, wipe down the item of antique furniture until it is clean. Every forty or fifty years, due to normal wear and tear, chairs will become loose and need to be knocked apart, the old glue cleaned off and the joints re-glued and re-assembled.
Homemade recipe for cleaning wood: Some experts recommend reviving grimy wood furniture with a mixture of equal parts olive oil, denatured alcohol, gum turpentine, and strained lemon juice. Since there were a few other questions about how I was going to oil up the chest in the master bedroom I thought I could show you guys (and therefore Jennifer as well) how I handle dealing with lackluster vintage wood furniture.
All that is required is some buffing with a mild abrasive such as burnishing cream, even rubbing the surface with a clean soft cloth will start to put a lustre on it. To start bringing back the colour and to show the grain more clearly, apply some wood reviver. At this point, it would be better to stop using a water-based cleanser and switch to a solvent based cleanser to avoid swelling the wood.
If you’ve ever thoughtlessly sat a coffee cup or glass down on a wood table without using a coaster, you’ve probably seen how easy it is for those white water rings to happen. Apply OLD ENGLISH® Oil to your furniture and buff with a soft cloth until surface is dry and shiny. Don’t forget to thin the paint out a bit with some water, since their new formula is a lot thicker than the old one. Most commercial spray and liquid furniture polishes contain silicone oil, which provides some protection.
Depending on the wood type, I sometimes need to sand before the last coat of primer goes on (the primer can raise the grain of the wood). The wood polish can be used on sealed wood surfaces such as wood furniture and cabinets and will protect the wood’s finish without the use of harmful chemicals. Thank you, thank you, thank you – I will begin bringing my furniture back to life tomorrow. I sure could have used your help like 3 months ago when I was stripping and refinishing an old vanity. So in my professional opinion, leave store-bought furniture polish out of your cleaning kit.
You can stop sanding when the grain of the wood is visible or when the cracks have disappeared. If there is very little grime on the cloth you may have furniture that really does not need much cleaning or your solution is too weak. Never use liquid or aerosol furniture polishes because they can dissolve the wax and leave a hazy film. I am doing old carved dining chairs that have major black in all the intricate places along with scratches.
The internet offers a wide range of advice for cleaning and refinishing vintage furniture from complicated finish stripping to techniques that only work on certain kinds of wood — and there are enough products on the market to leave a person totally confused. Never use all-purpose cleaning sprays unless your furniture has a plastic coating, such as the kind used on kitchen tables and children’s furniture.
That removed all the dust, and since vinegar is also great for absorbing/removing musty smells in old wood, it was amazing how that tangy vinegar went on smelling strongly but then dried to have no smell at all (so those formerly musty drawers smelled like nothing at all as well). I’ve even heard from people who have reused this method to bring life back into old wood floors!
All of the furniture was old but only one (a relatively new metal chair) was previously painted all the others were old wood with stain/varnish so maybe no big deal but it made me think and was wondering what you have done for clean up/protection! Wood furniture can last for years, but it takes a fair amount of care and maintenance if you want it to look brand new year after year.
We belive it’s worth investing time and effort keeping furniture clean and nourished, not only does it preserve them, it keeps furniture looking good and is much more hygenic – you wouldn’t neglect to wipe your kitchen benches for six months or even years at a time would you?! If you sanded down to the wood, you’ve been careful to do thin coats of paint, and your piece of furniture is made of nice wood, you should still be able to see some nice wood grain through the paint like so.
Natural Shine Furniture Cleaner & Polish is another all-natural wood cleaning product that will clean and polish wood furniture, fiberglass, Formica, paneling, vinyl, and cabinets. Working in a well-ventilated area, dampen a clean cloth with the mineral spirits and rub a small surface at a time. If you have the need to polish your furniture, and again, speak to the manufacturer or your furniture dealer to get the skinny on whether this is OK or not, just make your own! Although most conservators would like to save the original finish when possible, finishes that have degraded to the point where the wood is in jeopardy should be removed.