How To Clean Wood Furniture
We all know that a good finish helps protect and seal fine wood furniture from damage, but the finish also needs to be protected. Damage is caused by a build up of dust, dirt and oil. Besides making the finish appear dull and dark, dirt and grime on furniture can actually damage the finish over time. Fingerprints are one of the major culprits in creating dirt build-up. Fingerprints contain salt, oil, hand cream and dirt. Over time the fingerprints build up and attract dirt and dust, which eats away at the finish. One of the simpest and most important things you can do to prevent damage to the finish is to clean it properly. Clean regularly with a cleaning wax, Murphy's Oil soap or other specially formulated wood cleaner. Use a clean, dry cloth saturated with the cleaning solution or cleaning wax, and wet the surface, working on small areas at a time. Wipe dry and continue until the entire surface is clean. Use cotton swabs or a soft bristle brush to clean carved areas and other parts that are difficult to reach with a cloth.
Another way to clean wood furniture is by using a hand cleaner with a mineral spirit base. Just be sure it isn't a hand cleaner that contains pumice. Rub on with fine steel wool size 0000. Wipe dry with a clean, dry cloth. Use a soft bristle brush to clean carved areas. Repeat this several times until all the nooks and crannies are clean. Let the area dry, and apply wax. Hardware can also be cleaned using this method. Avoid sticky, oily sparay polishes, since they build up just like fingerprints, and attract dirt and dust.
To clean areas that have become foggy due to a build up of polish, mix a solution of vinegar and water. Generally, one tablespoon of vinegar to a quart of water is sufficient. Dip a cloth in the solution, and rub a small area at a time until the surface is dry. Always rub with the grain. Regular cleaning will help preserve the beauty and finish of fine wood furniture and eliminate the need for costly and time consuming refinishing.
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