What you need to know:
Gentle handling is one of the best ways to care for and maintain wooden furniture. Set strict house rules such as no eating on the couch jumping on furniture.
Solid wood is the most popular wood type for furniture because it adds warmth to a space, is considered luxurious and is very durable.
However, with all its benefits, wood is a delicate material that gets easily damaged, but, if well taken care of, wooden furniture can reward you with a timelessness that is hard to achieve with other materials.
Justine Mutaawe, an interior decorator, notes that because of its hardy appearance, wooden furniture tends to get poorly handled, which drastically affects its condition and durability.
Gentle handling is one of the best ways to care for and maintain wooden furniture. For instance to avoid minor defects that make wooden furniture look unsightly, start using coasters and placemats.
“Cold drinks can create permanent rings on wood while hot ones can cause it to swell. So choose coasters and placemats that effectively absorb water and block heat,” Mutaawe advises.
If you have children at home, set strict house rules such as not eating on the couch or no using permanent markers at the dining table. Also make sure children do not jump on furniture or throw cushions as it can cause the furniture to break down or collapse.
“No matter how good the quality of wood is, if it is subjected to abuse and rough handling it will give in to wear and tear long before it should have,” notes Mutaawe.
Avoid contact to sunlight
Wooden furniture should be protected from sunlight because constant exposure and heat can take a toll on its condition. Ultra violet rays can cause bright and dark spots to form on the surfaces of wood.
“Some wooden furniture normally changes its appearance because light is a source of energy that interacts with every surface it comes in contact with, this leads to damage and change in colour ,” Mutaawe says.
She adds that although sunlight may be the most powerful energy to cause harm, one should also be aware that any kind of bright light with great intensity can equally cause damage.
To prevent such damage, Mutaawe recommends shielding furniture from direct sunlight by for instance placing it away from any uncovered windows or using curtains to minimise the light. In case your furniture is still in good shape but has been damaged by sunlight, try painting or refinishing. A little paint, varnish or stain can give old furniture a whole new look.
Thorough and regular cleaning is essential for keeping wooden furniture in perfect condition because airborne particles, dust and dirt can result in damages and destruction of the wood’s natural shine. While cleaning is recommended, doing it right is crucial because for instance any excess use of water leaves long-lasting stains on wooden furniture.
“The best way to clean wooden furniture is to simply wipe it with a damp microfibre cloth together with some gentle dishwashing liquid to remove any grime, dust and spots,” Mutaawe says. Also polish your furniture regularly to create a slipperiness that reduces surface scratches, repels dust and keeps even small liquid spills from seeping into the pores of the wood. How often one should polish depends on how frequently the furniture is used.
“Every time you clean, wipe or scrub a wood surface, some of the polish will come off. So the more you clean the furniture, the more often you will need to polish,” Mutaawe advises.
Also damage might be caused by insect infestations since wood is a natural material. So make sure to regularly disinfect them.
To protect your furniture from getting stained beyond repair Mutaawe suggests dealing with every stain the moment you spot it.
“Your furniture from getting stained may be inevitable, however, dealing with it immediately will save the situation,” the décor expert says.
Mutaawe recommends using a cloth soaked in vinegar to remove dark spots and water damage.
To deal with tough stains such as white rings, use white toothpaste and baking soda. Take equal parts of toothpaste and baking soda to form a paste. Rub it on the stain until it disappears. To remove crayon marks, apply some mayonnaise on the affected area, leave it for a few minutes before wiping it off .