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How to Clean and Care for Wooden Vintage Furniture

How to Clean and Care for Wooden Vintage Furniture

Dec 6th 2021

Placing a unique and precious vintage piece of furniture in your home provides you with a style that is simply unparalleled. It can perfectly create a welcoming, warm, and comfortable ambiance for both you and your guests. Vintage furniture is an investment that you will undoubtedly find worthwhile from the moment you place it in your home.

However, it’s no secret that purchasing such furniture pieces can provide specific maintenance requirements that, say, more modern and recently created pieces may not have. One such issue with vintage furniture is proper cleaning and care.

Vintage furniture ranges in age from about 20 to 100 years old, which implies that each piece is precious and delicate-- and this is undeniably true. In order to keep your vintage furniture looking its best and to ensure that it lasts for years to come, you need proper cleaning and care. This is especially true for those wooden pieces, like vintage console tables and coffee tables.

Let’s look at how to clean and care for your wooden vintage furniture so you can enjoy its stunning and calming presence for a significantly longer period of time.

Treat Them Like Antiques
Before we get into the big tips and must-dos for cleaning and caring for vintage wooden furniture, you should be aware that you should treat these pieces of furniture like you would antiques. While antiques are 100 years or older, vintage wooden pieces should still follow similar cleaning protocols to ensure their “good looks” last a long time.

Cleaning Your Vintage Wooden Furniture
How do you clean vintage wooden furniture? The process might be easier than you’re imagining. You must first determine the type of finish your furniture has (if it has one). You can do this yourself with the assistance of a cotton ball and denatured alcohol. This will help clarify the cleaning needs of your particular piece and even if you want to add more finish to it.

Regularly Dust with a Clean, Dry Cloth
One of the best things you can do for your vintage wooden furniture is to keep it free of dust. This is because not only does dust inhibit the natural beauty of the wood, but it also keeps the wood from discoloration. This is because dust and other particles, when left untouched, can gradually wiggle their way into cracks and the wood’s grain, leading to undesired color changes.

This is precisely why you need to regularly dust your vintage wooden pieces of furniture and with a dry, clean cloth. Avoid moisture at all costs, as this can cause the wood to swell and ruin it; this is especially true for those pieces of furniture that aren’t finished.

Use a Mild Cleaner to Clean Grime
Grime will inevitably end up on your beautiful vintage piece. When you are looking to properly clean your vintage wooden furniture, such as a vintage console table, then you should only use mild cleaners.

Harsh chemicals can wear away at the finish of your beautiful furniture. You should also steer clear of spray cleaners, like Pledge, as this can leave an oily residue that will not provide the wood with proper protection.

Never use any cleaners with a gritty material because they can scratch your wood. Surprisingly, this includes feather dusters. That’s because their shafts and other sharper parts can scratch the wood, ultimately marring its surface.

As for approved cleaners, you could even use something as simple as dish soap that has been diluted in water. If that doesn’t seem to be doing the job well enough, you could opt for something like Murphy’s Oil (but use carefully, as too much oil can prove to be an issue for most wood furniture).

Steps to Successfully Cleaning Vintage Wooden Furniture
Use a damp cloth that has just some of your chosen cleaner on it to wipe down your furniture. Be sure to rub gently and not scrub. Use a toothbrush that has the same cleaner on its bristles for those hard-to-reach areas and, for any stubborn stains, delicately use some steel wool.

Now you should take a clean and dry cloth to sop up any leftover moisture (since we now know moisture is not wood’s friend).

Wax Polish the Wood
One of the key steps to cleaning your wood furniture is to polish it after cleaning. This will make your stunning piece really shine. However, you should opt for a paste wax polish over others, as this will properly clean the wood and nurture the furniture’s patina. Minwax or high-quality beeswax are the best options for getting the job done correctly.

It’s necessary to properly clean and care for wooden vintage furniture like vintage console tables, side tables, and armoires, among many others. When looking for the most enamoring pieces, consider ours here at Eloquence. We take all of our antique and vintage furniture seriously and only provide you with the highest quality pieces to bring out the best in your home.