The Golden Rules of Timber Care
- Create the Right Environment: the wood used in furniture is no longer living or growing, so you can not nourish or moisturise it. The best way to stop wood from drying and cracking is to make sure that you create the right environment for it. Wood does not respond well to radical variations in temperature and humidity. Such variations can cause the wood the warp or crack. Keep this in mind, particularly when storing furniture. Ideally, wood furniture should be kept in a cool, dry room. Avoid heat: place furniture as far away from heat sources as possible and take care when positioning furniture against external walls that may heat up during the day.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: UV radiation will bleach wood and can damage some finishes. Fading doesn’t cause serious structural damage to wood – in fact, sometimes the effect it creates is desirable – but if you want your furniture to retain its original look, keep it out of the sun. If exposure is unavoidable, make sure it is uniform so the wood fades evenly. It is also a good idea to occasionally move any objects on the furniture (such as lamps or place mats).
- Keep Wood Dry: wood is sensitive to moisture, it should be kept dry. If it water penetrates the grain of the wood, it can cause swelling, warping and stains. Use coasters, placemats, table cloths etc to protect wood from water and other liquids. If your furniture gets wet, dry it as quickly as possible.
- Protect from Scratches & Other Damage: protect the wood surface using coasters, place mats, and by putting felt bottoms on ornaments and lamps. Try not to slide objects across the surface of the wood. Polishes can help minimise minor scratches and wear to the finish by creating a smooth surface over which objects slide more easily. Keep plastic off wood. Colour can transfer from plastic to wood, particularly from printed plastic bags and wrappers. Plastic can also stick to finishes and cause damage when it is lifted. Particular care needs to be taken when using plastic place mats.
- Dust Regularly: you should dust wood furniture at least once a week. Dust is abrasive. If allowed to build up, dust will scratch the furniture’s finish, leaving your furniture look dull and warn.
- Clean Regularly: how often you need to clean your wood furniture will depend on how it is used. Wood that is regularly exposed to food and beverages, or that has contact with the human body (for example, dining tables and chairs) will need to be cleaned more frequently. Items not regularly exposed to soiling, such as side tables and bed room furniture, will only require cleaning every 6-18 months. For more information see Cleaning Tips
- Select Care Products Carefully: identify the finish and only use products suitable for that finish. Choose a cleaner that will not damage the wood or finish, or leave a residue. Always follow any instructions that you are given by the furniture manufacturer or retailer. Avoid silicone-based polishes: they attract dust (that is why silicone is used on high-tech dusting cloths). Silicone can also seep through the finish into the wood and interfere with future refinishing.
You should dust wood furniture at least once a week. Why? Dust is abrasive: dust will scratch the furniture’s finish, leaving your furniture look dull and warn. Dust is cumulative: over time, dust builds up to form a film that is difficult to remove.
Dusting Timber Furniture
Dry Cloth Method Using a soft, lint free cloth. Dust using small circular motions, following the grain of the wood. As soon as you notice visible dust on the cloth, fold your cloth to a clean section. Don’t let dust build up on the cloth as it can scratch the finish. You can use a paint brush to remove dust from crevices, corners or decorative features.
Damp Cloth Method If you choose to use a damp cloth, spray a small amount of water onto the cloth, just enough to make the dust. DO NOT saturate the cloth. Dust using small circular motions, following the grain of the wood. As soon as you notice visible dust on the cloth, fold your cloth to a clean section and add a little more water. Work on one section at a time, using a clean dry cloth to remove all traces of water from the wood before you move onto the next section.
Dust & Polish Method Alternatively, you can use a good quality, oil-based furniture polish in place of water. This allows you to dust efficiently without scratching the finish or exposing the wood to water. This also adds a layer of polish. Don’t use this method on wood that has previously had a wax polish applied: the oil and wax will interact making the finish tacky.
How often you need to clean your wood furniture will depend on how it is used. Wood that is regularly exposed to food and beverages or that has contact with the human body (for example, dining table and chairs) will need to be cleaned more frequently. Items not regularly exposed to soiling, such as side tables and bed room furniture, will only need to be cleaned every 6-18 months to remove accumulated soiling, polish and dust. To clean minor spills, you can use cloth dampened with a SMALL amount of water. Work on a small area at a time and dry the wood as you go. Spills and heavy soiling will require a cleaner. To preserve the wood and its finish you should avoid using any cleaning products not specifically recommended for wood. We recommend Wood Cleaner.
Thoroughly Cleaning Timber Furniture
STEP 1 Before you start, test Wood Cleaner on a hidden area of your furniture to check for colour fastness.
STEP 2 Spray a little Wood Cleaner on a clean, lint-free cloth.
STEP 3 Clean using small circular motions, following the grain of the wood. When soiling begins to build up on the cloth, fold the cloth to a clean section and add a little more Wood Cleaner. Work on a small area at a time and wipe off any excess cleaner as you go.
- Polishing improves the furniture’s appearance and adds shine.
- Polishing adds an additional layer of protection.
- Polishing reduces scratches. Polish lubricates the surface, reducing the abrasive effect of dust, and helping objects to slide more easily across the surface.
Please note: applying any additional finish or polish to unfinished wood will change its look and feel. This change may not be easily reversible.
- Give wood a nice shine.
- Lubricate the surface and help prevent scratching.
- Can be used as a dusting aid.
- Don’t build up in the same way that some wax polishes do.
- Should be reapplied every two months.- Suitable for unfinished wood, penetrating oil and protective film finishes.
- Not suitable for painted wood furniture as the oil may damage the paint.
Please note: if you have previously polished your furniture with a wax-based polish and want to switch to oil-based polish, you will need to clean the furniture with mineral spirits or a solvent based wax-remover before polishing. You must remove all traces of wax before you apply the oil. Applying an oil polish directly over a waxed polish will give the finish a tacky feel.
- Give furniture a soft sheen.
- Can be polished to increase the shine.
- Available as a paste or liquid (these are similar, but liquid provides a thinner coating).
- Form a thick lasting coat that gives improved scratch and water resistance.
- Dry hard, doesn’t smear or attract dust.
- Fill minor scratches giving an even appearance to the finish.
- Will need to be reapplied every 6-24 months depending on the number of coats originally applied and how the furniture is used.
- Before applying a new coat of wax polish you will need to thoroughly clean the surface to remove the previous application of polish.
- Suitable for unfinished wood, painted, penetrating oil and protective film finishes.