How to Care for and Clean Your Solid Wood Furniture

With a special ability to add warmth, elegance and style to your living space, solid wood furniture makes a lasting impression. Let us help you keep it looking good.

Well-crafted wood furniture exudes durability, integrity and style. It leaves a lasting impression on everyone who sees it. And if it could talk, it would say you care enough to invest in your living space, prioritize your own unique style and personality, and are willing to maintain the things that matter most.

Caring for and cleaning solid wood furniture (or keeping your nice stuff looking nice!) takes surprisingly little time and effort. But it does require you to pay attention. You didn’t invest in something meant to last generations just to let it succumb to wear and tear that can shorten its lifespan.

Solid natural wood is just that - natural. It was once a living thing. Which means that elements such as light, water and even air can cause damage. But with some guidance on regular care and preventative maintenance, you can keep furniture looking beautiful year after year.

Here are five tips on how to keep your solid wood furniture looking its very best for as long as you plan to have it around.

1. Trust in the quality of your furniture

If you’ve invested in solid wood furniture, you know you’re getting something special - made by experienced craftspeople, durable, one of a kind with no pieces of wood looking exactly the same, sustainable and timeless.

If those aren’t enough reasons to trust in the quality, let us give you two more.

First, heirloom-quality furniture is constructed with time in mind. Skilled craftsmen create joints that allow for expansion and contraction and keep their fit and integrity. In addition, items purchased from stores like Modern Bungalow sell furniture that has been finished with a post-catalyzed lacquer guaranteed to protect the craftsmanship of every piece. The only thing you have to do is let it do its job. For the first 30 days after you bring it home, allow the finish enough time to cure by giving it extra care.

2. Clean with care

Most of the time, a simple dusting is all you need to keep your solid wood furniture looking its best. Use a soft cloth or feather duster. If you’re looking to do more than just move the dust around, try a lambs-wool duster with lanolin or a damp terry cloth to keep your pieces dust-free longer.

If you spill, wipe it immediately with a soft cloth. The finish will do its job protecting the surface. If the spill has been sitting and causes a white ring, try applying heat from a hair dryer. You can also use petroleum jelly and wipe away with a damp cloth. The sooner you treat the area the better so that the moisture doesn’t sink below the surface.

For ink stains, mix baking soda and water and pour over the stain. Wipe away with a damp cloth and dry immediately. If your wood surface is already treated, use water and dish washing liquid. Be sure to test a small spot before treating the whole stain so that you don’t ruin your finish.

And please, don’t pledge to clean your furniture (bad pun intended!) with harsh chemicals like ammonia and silicone. Products such as Pledge are silicone-based and can ruin solid wood as they are absorbed.

Unless you have a stubborn spill or stain that needs to be treated with special solid wood furniture cleaners, trust the finishes to do their job and stick to dry or damp cloths.

3. Protect the wood

Coasters, placemats, trivets, tablecloths and felt pads are items you can use to protect. If you’re concerned about heat from a dish or if using a pencil or pen could cause indentations, then cover the surface accordingly.

Don’t forget about sunlight when deciding where to place solid wood furniture. Woods like cherry tend to change color over time when exposed to sunlight. Consider rotating pieces if you can and try not to leave items sitting on a piece of furniture if it happens to be exposed to lots of sun. While there might be a nice geometric pattern left behind, trying to get it out will require stripping, sanding a refinishing - or an awful lot of work!

4. Control temperature and humidity

Because solid wood is always breathing, it reacts to humidity (or lack thereof). Great craftsmen build with this material with allowances in mind for natural ‘breathing’ and seasonal expansion and contraction. Lumber set for building is kiln-dried before building in order to stabilize and get it ready. But, if there’s an extreme amount of moisture in the air over a period of time, the wood can swell and warp. Likewise, in a very dry environment, it can shrink and crack.

We recommend keeping the relative humidity in your home around 35 percent and the temperature between 60 and 80 degrees.

Fireplaces, radiators and heaters can also take a toll on wood. Try not to have a heat source and solid wood furniture side by side.

If storing items such as table leaves, remember to put them in a temperature-controlled environment as well. A closet or under a bed may work better than the basement or attic. Better yet- choose an option with butterfly leaf or “self-storing” leaves that tuck under the tabletop for safekeeping.

5. Do yearly maintenance

While most of your wood furniture care can be done quickly and as part of your normal cleaning routine, it’s important to give a little extra pampering, like polishing, once or twice a year depending on the climate in which you live.

This is done to keep wood from drying out. You’ll want a high quality, no silicone polish like Aristo Shield which we provide free with every Simply Amish delivery. It can also be purchased from our site. This polish dusts, cleans and protects the surface from scratching and dust build-up. It’s also slightly tinted, which makes it a perfect cover for light surface scratches.

A little care goes a long way!

Now that you’ve seen what goes into caring for your solid wood furniture, we hope you walk away with confidence knowing how simple keeping your nice things looking nice can be. If you have questions about something we didn’t cover, just reach out to us directly!

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