Not all wooden furniture is the same. Care and cleaning of wooden furniture is dependant on the type of wood and the type of finish.
When buying wooden furniture new, stick to the manufacturers recommendations, which are usually available from the sales reps.
With second hand wooden furniture the care and cleaning instructions may not be available and this is where the OPH guide comes in useful. Below is a guide to determining the finish of the wood and how best to care for it.
Types of Wood:
Wood can typically be categorised into:
Hardwood such as beech, oak ash walnut chestnut mahogany
Softwood such as pine yew cedar
Plywoodthin sheets of wood glued together and can be made with hardwood or softwood.
Softwood and hardwood furniture may be further sub -divided according to the finish:
Generally hardwood furniture is more expensive than softwood furniture but that is no reason to compromise the attention afforded.
The correlation of the care and cleaning of your wooden furniture and the life and appearance cannot be over estimated and may be achieved with minimal effort. In fact excessive use of polishing materials may be detrimental. Lavishing the right amount of care and attention will yield the best results.
Softwood Never use silicone, sprays or detergents, simply wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Pine is a softwood that continues to breathe and is therefore susceptible to changes in temperature.
Place away from radiators and out of direct sunlight. Aim for a constant room temperature whenever possible.
Pine has a natural stain and finish and will react to any manmade substances.
Never place hot or chilled items directly onto the surface area.
Hardwood Avoid using wet cloths as may stain or damage the wood. Feep dirt and grime to aminimum with regular dusting with a dry soft cloth or a soft vacuum cleaner dust brush attachment.
Oak is a live wood and can therefore survive the odd spillage, providing it is wiped up immediately.
Never use water on oak, istead dampen your cloth with reak oil.
Oak furniture will benefit from waxing every couple of months or so. Waxing will help the wood resist cracks.
Apply the wax using a circular motion in the same direction as the grain.
Applying too much wax or waxing too frequently may result in the oak taking on a dull appearance.
Do's and Donts of Cleaning Wooden Furniture
Do check the finish on your wooden furniture as by and large it is the finish that determines how best to clean it.
Don't mix oil and wax as it will become gummy
Don't put wax or furniture polish on an oil finish.
Do treat your oil finish wooden furniture to an annual polishing with linseed oil.
Do dust lacquered finished wooden furniture with a soft brush.
Don't use oiled or treated cloths on lacquer finished furniture.
Do clean your painted wooden furniture with a damp cloth. A mild detergent may be used for heavy soiling.