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What is the best way to clean my wood furniture?

Wood furniture is a gorgeous addition to any room, but nothing mars the beauty of such pieces more than scratches, soil, water damage and other blemishes. Many are nervous to take on the task of cleaning and restoring wood furniture; improper care may be worse than no care at all. Fortunately, the proper techniques paired with a bit of caution can restore your wood pieces back to their original beauty and ensure they stay that way for years to come.

The following tips will help you determine the best way to clean your wood furniture.

1. Consider the finish – Before anything else, it’s essential to take into consideration the wood’s finish. Painted furniture may clean up best with a liquid soap, while a polished finish, such as wax, may respond well to a simple store-bought furniture polish. Use these polishes with care – most will specify the types of wood with which they are best paired. Determine the finish of your piece then seek out the best techniques for its care.

2. Start small – When cleaning a piece of wood furniture, it is best to first test the method on a small, discrete area of the wood. If possible, flip the chair or table on its side and try your cleanser or polish on an area that is not easily seen. Wait approximately 24 hours before continuing to test for any discoloration or warping.

3. Start simple – Often, the least complicated cleaning methods are the best. Rather than starting with a harsh cleanser or waxy polish, try a soft dust cloth. A surprising amount of soil may be removed with this method. Be gentle and dust with the wood grain.

4. Ask the manufacturer – If possible, check with the manufacturer or retailer of your piece to find out the best way to care for it. You may be able to find this information online, or it may involve a call to customer service. Antique furniture can be trickier. Professional furniture restoration services may be able to advise you on your specific piece.

5. Protect against the future – “An ounce of prevention…” You know the rest! It’s cliché, but especially true when it comes to wood furniture. Wooden pieces are often an investment and it makes sense to put extra thought toward keeping them protected against bumps, scratches and spills. Always use tablecloths, hot pads and coasters when applicable, and keep wood furniture away from humidity and extreme temperature variations. Additionally, dust and polish regularly to keep furniture always looking its best.

6. Go with a professional – Finally, don’t be afraid to hire a professional to clean or restore the furniture for you. This is especially true if it is an expensive or particularly cherished item. It is a sensible choice to entrust your family heirlooms to an expert.

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