Furniture cleaning tips

Furniture cleaning tips varnished wood is one of the most common surfaces available in furniture. It looks attractive and it is durable and easy to maintain. The easy maintenance alone may be one of the biggest reasons for its popularity.

Like all furniture, it needs regular care to look good, and sometimes you may want to give it some special care too when it starts looking tired and dull. Here are some simple and easy ways to do it.

Regular Care and Cleaning of Varnished Wood

Everyday care for varnished wood is simple:

  • Protect from water and other liquids, such as alcohol, food, or cosmetics. Coasters work really well to protect table surfaces.
  • Some experts recommend vacuuming with a brush attachment, but regular cleaning with a dry, soft, lint-free cloth does the job better. Cleaning with a soft cloth removes dust and smudges, and it also gives a soft shine to the wood surface.
  • To remove stickiness or light soil wipe with a damp cloth. Follow up by rubbing with a dry cloth immediately. Test in an inconspicuous spot before you do this because you do not want to damage the furniture, and never leave a damp cloth sitting on the varnished surface.

Special Care

From time to time, you might have to clean your varnished wood furniture more thoroughly to restore its appearance and sheen. This also works well on used furniture purchases.

  • To protect varnished wood, apply a coat of paste wax. You don’t need to do this very often. While applying wax helps protect from moisture and dust, never do this more than once a year to prevent wax buildup.
  • If there is wax buildup, remove it with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits or synthetic turpentine. Do not use natural turpentine as it may leave a sticky residue. Make sure to follow all label directions when using solvents. Don’t use near any flame, spark, pilot light, and absolutely no smoking. Protect your skin by wearing rubber gloves and wash the gloves in hot sudsy water before storing. Air-dry rags to evaporate the solvent before disposal.
  • Some varnished finishes can be washed if they are badly soiled, but first, test in an inconspicuous area. If the surface streaks or turns white and hazy, do not wash.
  • If it is safe to proceed, use a solution of mild detergent and lukewarm water. With a clean sponge or soft cloth wash, rinse and dry only a small area at a time. You will have to work to avoid over-wetting the finish. Avoid excess water, especially around joints. When completely dry, polish or wax.
  • Polish can be used to give your furniture shine, but avoid using polish very often as overuse can cause buildup. When you do use it, use a silicon-free variety. Silicon can leave a dull film over time.
  • Oil soaps can also be used on some varnish finishes, but always test first in an inconspicuous spot.


Furniture cleaning tipsHave you ever made the shocking discovery of a stain on the back of a favourite chair or a watermark on the top of the desk in your guest room?

Here are some tips and tricks from RestoreNation furniture care section

RestoreNation will help you find how to clean any piece of furniture and keep it looking like new Furniture cleaning tips.

Painted Furniture

  • Everyday Care
    Painted furniture is almost the easiest to keep clean. Furniture cleaning should be done on a weekly basis to preserve the furniture long term, dust or wipe clean with a cloth dampened with water. Be sure not to leave water spots on the surface, as they’ll dry and could leave permanent marks.
  • Special Cleaning
    If your piece of painted furniture has stains on visible surfaces or nicks and scratches on it, you’ll want to make whatever repairs you can or give RestoreNation a call. Gently sand down any mars, taking care not to damage more painted finish than you have to. Carefully glue and clamp any loose joints.

Match the paint as best you can or select a new colour of paint and restore the piece to near-perfect condition. Add an oil finish for greatest protection, Osmo Oil is very good.

Wood Furniture cleaning tips

  • Everyday Care
    Before you decide how to clean your piece of furniture, you need to determine what type of finish it has on it. You can find information about cleaners and conditioners for wood furniture and information on getting built-up finishes off to expose the beautiful wood underneath.
  • You should use a lint-free cloth to polish your furniture on a regular basis. Use just a little silicone free furniture polish on the cloth and rub the surface to get a beautiful shine. When choosing a furniture polish, use the same type for each cleaning, either oil- or wax-based, to avoid polish smudges. Wipe in the direction of the grain of the wood whenever possible. If you love antiques, you’ll need to be aware of their special needs.
  • Special Cleaning
    When it comes time to remove built-up wax, use either mineral spirits or a synthetic turpentine with a soft, lint-free cloth. Clean the entire piece with the product, not just the area that’s soiled. Furniture cleaning tips

Antique Furniture Care

Furniture cleaning tipsThe methods of care for historical or valuable antique furniture can vary techniques have changed over the years. Antique furniture should not be cared for or repaired in the same manner as modern home furnishings as the finishes, wood is older and need more care than new wood. The use of polishes, adhesives, fasteners and finishes can dramatically affect the current and future value of such pieces.

Ultraviolet light is damaging to antique furniture and wood furniture. Sunlights UV rays can degrade early finishes, wood and fabrics. Antique furniture should be placed out of direct sunlight, and curtains or shades should be used to diffuse or block sunlight when possible.

Avoid placing your antique furniture in front of heating and air conditioning vents, radiators, fireplaces or stoves. The heat can cause shrinking that can loosen glue joints, veneers, inlays and marquetry.

Your antique furniture is also affected by the amount of moisture in the air. Changes in relative humidity can cause wood to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction can cause glue joints to loosen, drawers and doors to drag or become stuck in their opening. Extended periods of high humidity can lead to mould growth, rot and insect infestation.

The use of a humidifier or dehumidifier is recommended to help maintain the relative humidity and minimise the adverse effects that moisture can have on your valuable antique furniture.

Insects and Pests
Wood, leather, fabrics and upholstery materials such as horsehair can be inviting to insects and other small pests. Insects such as woodworm beetles eat their way along the grain of wood until they mature.

Mature insects bore their way out of the wood leaving exit holes and leave a dust trail or mound. Active infestations can be identified by exit holes and a fine sawdust called frass appearing under the piece of furniture. Active infestations should be isolated as soon as possible and an exterminator and/or conservator should be consulted.

Cleaning and Polishing
A thin coat of wax applied annually will help protect your antique pieces of furniture finish. In between waxing, dusting with a soft, lint-free cloth on a regular basis. Dampen the cloth slightly and turn frequently. A dry rag can cause scratches when dusting, make sure there is no abrasive dust on the surface.

Wax may not be appropriate for surfaces with a deteriorating finish; if in doubt, consult one of the Antique furniture restoration specialist’s for advice on how to best care for your antique furniture. Silicone-based polishes should be avoided as silicone can penetrate the finish and will cause problems with future restoration or repairs. Silicone oil leaves a difficult to remove film behind that affects the adhesion of spot repairs or restoration of the existing finish. Spray furniture polish is usually silicon-based.

Brass and Copper
Furniture cleaning tips Hardware will acquire a soft patina that may appear to some as unattractive. Brass and copper hardware on historical and other valuable antiques should not be polished to remove the tarnished appearance. The original finish and patina should be retained on the hardware including handles, knobs, hinges, pulls and escutcheons.

Handling and Moving
When moving your antique furniture you should check for loose or damaged joinery. Chairs should always be carried by the seat rails as opposed to the back splat, top rail or arms. Tables should be carried by the apron or legs instead of the top which could pull loose from the base. Large pieces should always be lifted and never dragged across the floor.

When transporting your antique furniture it’s best to first remove shelves, doors and drawers. Protect glass doors with moving blankets or another adequate padding. Tall items should be transported on their back or top, preferably their back.

General Antique Furniture Care

Furniture cleaning tipsFurniture cleaning tips Please try to void placing antique furniture in front of a window or direct sunlight.
Avoid placing antiques near air conditioning and heating vents.
Don’t place your antique furniture near fireplaces and stoves.
Blot up spills on the furniture immediately. Furniture cleaning tips
Dust regularly using a lint-free cloth, do not use pledge or similar polishes as they contain silicone and that deteriorates the finish.

As always, it’s best to be cautious when considering a course of treatment or repairs to your antique furniture. If you believe you might possess a piece with significant historical value or provenance, it’s best to consult RestoreNation for values and any repairs or restoration. Furniture cleaning tips

Leather Furniture

  • Everyday CareBecause leather can dry out and crack, it is recommended that you keep your valuable leather furniture at least 2 feet from heat sources and out of direct sunlight. Clean the piece with a damp sponge or soft cloth and dust it regularly.
  • Special Cleaning
    For excessive soil, use a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1/2 cup water to clean with a soft cloth. Follow this with a washing of leather saddle soap. Rub the furniture with a dry soft cloth.

Upholstered Furniture Cleaning tips

  • Everyday Care
    Keep upholstered furniture out of direct sunlight as most fabrics will fade. Vacuum surfaces weekly. Flip cushions and pillows regularly so both sides wear evenly. For added safety, carefully apply Scotchguard to help repel spots and stains.
  • Special Treatments
    When it comes to cleaning, start out by wiping up any spills and spots as soon as you see them.

Wicker and Cane Furniture Furniture cleaning tips

  • Everyday Care
    The natural fibres of wicker, cane, and rush furniture tend to dry out, so it’s important to keep these pieces out of the sun and away from heat sources. Dust regularly and vacuum often to get the dust out of the cracks in the finishes.
  • Special Treatments
    To restore the pliable nature and moisture to natural fibre seating, place the piece in a bathtub full of warm water or spray with a hose outside. This will help to retard splitting of fibres and lengthen the life of your pieces.

If you take good care of your furniture, it will last for years and look great. Don’t labour over it, but be consistent and careful when treating each type of furniture. You’ll save lots of money and enjoy the furniture all through its life.

Caring for Wicker Furniture

  • Wicker patio furniture is generally easy to care for, but you might have to brush it every now and then to keep it dust-free. Keeping it clean extends its life because dust or other organic material can easily collect in the crevices of the weave and cause mildew, which leads to a breakdown of fibre and eventual decay.
  • Although wicker that is made for outdoor use can stay outdoors pretty much year-round, you should be aware that when the weather is too cold, it can become stiff or a bit more elastic when it is very hot. Also, too much moisture can make it sag and cause mildew.
  • A simple solution for extending wicker furniture’s lifespan could be to cover it up or move it to a more protected spot when the temperature is too hot, cold, or raining. It may not be getting much use under those conditions anyway.
  • It is a good idea to inspect the weave from time to time, and if there has been any shifting, simply move the weave back into place with your fingers.
  • Wicker furniture is often painted, and the finish can become damaged over time. Touch-up spray paint can be used to fix it. Check your manufacturer’s recommendation. If the frame has a painted finish, it can also benefit from fixing the paint every now and then.

Cleaning Wicker Furniture Furniture cleaning tips

  • Vacuum your wicker furniture from time to time to reach the dust in the crevices.
  • If it is heavily soiled and vacuuming is not enough, use a sponge with mild detergent and warm water to remove soil. Rinse and allow to dry completely before you use the wicker furniture again.
  • Hosing off the furniture can work too, but don’t use very high pressure. After hosing off, make sure to inspect the weave to see that the pressure from water has not moved it from its place. If needed use your fingers to set it right again.
  • Never use a foam cleaner because the foam could lodge into the areas between the woven strands and collect there, ultimately causing damage.
  • Never sit on damp wicker furniture because putting any weight on it could cause it to sag.

Furniture cleaning tips