Owning a piece of antique furniture comes with a fair share of both responsibilities and rewards. Including a piece of antique furniture in your home or commercial space also means you’ll need to educate yourself about proper care methods to keep your investment in good shape.
Antique furniture care is not a matter of simply choosing a basic furniture cleaner from the local supermarket. Your piece will likely require specialized attention that is a bit more nuanced than modern day furniture upkeep. For example, if you do not use the appropriate polish, adhesive, or finish when you are maintaining antique furniture, you risk compromising its value.
Not only are the kinds of products you use to maintain antique furniture important — the way you use them is also key. Start with these basic tips and techniques to ensure you properly care for your newly refinished or restored antique furnishings.
Avoid Spray Products
When it comes to cleaning your antique furniture, the number one rule is to avoid spray cleaners at all costs. The goal in cleaning an antique is to preserve the patina, not the shine. Most spray products will only leave behind an oily residue that can do more harm than good.
No Rough Textures
Never use a cleaning tool that has a rough texture. Antique furniture can be delicate and scratch very easily. This means you should stay away from anything that might cause damage to the surface of the furniture, including feather dusters. While a feather duster may seem safe, it is important to remember that the feathers can break and scratch the surface of the piece you are cleaning.
Dusting Is Important
Before you apply a cleaning product to antique furniture, be sure the piece is dust-free. Take the time to make sure the dust is completely gone and you did not merely move it around the surface. This typically happens if you use a spray cleaner. Of course, avoid that feather duster if possible, and perhaps try a soft, clean, and dry microfiber cloth instead.
Choose the Right Wax
A high-quality paste wax or English beeswax are the best options for maintaining antique furniture. The wax will help to preserve and nurture the patina of the piece. Apply only a little at a time and rub it in softly along the grain of the wood. In order to properly care for antique furniture, you should do this at least once per year.
Use a Soft Cloth
When you are waxing a piece, you should do so with a soft cloth. Use the wax sparingly and only spread it in a thin and even layer. Gently buff with the soft cloth until you achieve a high polish. Be sure to build up a solid wax finish so that the wood surface is protected.
Gentleness Is Key
When you are working with antique furniture, always remember to use a gentle hand. If an inlay or piece of veneer comes off while you are moving or cleaning your furniture, keep in mind that the piece is irreplaceable. This means that you should not attempt to make the repair yourself. Instead, take the piece to a local furniture restoration expert who specializes in antique pieces.
Monitor the Environment
When arranging your furniture, try to keep antique pieces away from heating or cooling vents, radiators, fireplaces, and stoves. Consistent direct sunlight also causes severe damage to antique furniture. You will want to arrange your antique furniture in a location where you can control the humidity, temperature, and light exposure. You don’t want so little moisture in the air that the furniture dries out or cracks, but you also don’t want so much that mold begins to grow or the wood warps.
Taking care of your antique furniture the right way can make all the difference in its longevity, value, appearance, and functionality. If you own a cherished piece of antique furniture that is ready for restoration or in need of repair, contact us to handle your heirlooms and other special possessions with the TLC they demand.