The noble shine of highly polished surfaces
Wood is a material that changes continuously, expands when it is warm and especially when it is damp, and contracts when it is cold and dry. It is said that wood “breathes” because wood is a living material. Beautiful things that surround you in the house or apartment should keep their appearance. With more or less noticeable signs of wear, lightening, discoloration or tension cracks, however, wood is to be expected. How is furniture properly polished so that it keeps its beautiful, cozy and warm appearance?
What is the right care?
Furniture made of wood is particularly exposed to wear and tear because you live in and with it. Be it beds or storage furniture such as cupboards, shelves, chests, chests of drawers or seating such as chairs, sofas and tables – wooden furniture is stable and durable and can be used for decades.
However, the higher-ranking and more valuable the furniture, the more it needs to be properly cared for. Simple furniture, provided it is made of wood, is usually solid and has a rather restrained decor. The grain is mostly visible and the construction wood is usually of similar quality.
A veneer furniture, lacquered or even with a shellac polish, as with antique furniture, on the other hand, has a thin layer of a more noble and more expensive wood: the veneer: the lacquer is applied to it. Noble woods often have a nicer grain than simple construction wood, which can be of a simpler quality even with nobler furniture. Both the polished, veneered and the wood-clear furniture have smooth surfaces that are sensitive to scratches.
Cleaning – Use for soft dust cloths
Wood is cleaned with a dry, soft duster or – in places that have ornaments and decors – with a brush. Never use a damp cloth or sponge! Water should not get on the surface of wooden furniture. Because moisture causes the wood to swell and crack. It is important that the dust is completely removed from the surface of the wooden furniture. Dust inside cupboards and drawers can be vacuumed out with the furniture brush.
Determine: Which type of wood was used?
The determination of the wood, but also the construction method, is at the beginning of the cleaning process. For veneered wood made of cherry, walnut, beech, mahogany, plum or fir, a standard furniture polish is suitable, which is available especially for veneered furniture. The polish seals the surface against the ingress of moisture and dirt and promotes the gloss of the lacquer and the veneer. Even simpler solid wood furniture made of oak, larch, beech or pine, which above all has a more robust and natural appearance, can be treated with your own self-made care products.
How do you mix your own furniture polish?
To produce a beautiful and environmentally friendly polish yourself, a mixture of:
- Beeswax (50 grams) and turpentine (150 milliliters)
Put both in a bowl, warm up in a water bath, mix well and let cool down. Apply a thin layer to the furniture, let it dry and polish with a soft cloth. An extremely caring and protective cover has already been created.
Natural oils such as olive oil or linseed oil are well suited for furniture polishing in the following mixtures:
- Olive oil and vinegar in a ratio of 2: 1
- Linseed oil varnish with turpentine and vinegar (one cup each)
The closure of the wood against the external effects of moisture and dust works just as well as with professional or commercially available furniture polish, usually even better, because you actually know what the ingredients are. Even pure linseed oil is suitable. Like beeswax, linseed oil is a purely natural product that dries when exposed to oxygen, but with pure linseed oil it takes longer before the furniture can be polished. It is important not to work with different polishes on a piece of furniture: oil or wax, but do not mix the two possibilities.
How do you get stains out of the wood?
The penetration of moisture is usually the cause of unsightly stains. Red wine stains or the black discolouration resulting from the mixture of moisture and iron are particularly bad on non-veneered wooden furniture. The latter can basically only be avoided by wiping up immediately before this stain has penetrated inside.
Another way to avoid stains, such as water stains that appear on open-pored wood, is to sand it off. However, this only works as long as the water has not penetrated the wood too deeply. After sanding with fine-grain sandpaper, apply the polish, oil or wax to the sanded surface and polish it again. If necessary, allow to dry thoroughly and rework in several layers.
If the water stain has only just formed and has not yet dried, the damage can be limited with your own spit: Spread this especially on the edges of the water stain and beyond so that there are no visible borders, and let it dry.