Caring For Fine Furniture

Furniture is a treasured investment, one which you should be proud to own in years to come. The following are guidelines for caring for your fine furniture.

Common Sense:

The first category, common sense, is just what the name implies: don’t do anything that will cause the furniture to be damaged. For example, be very careful when vacuuming the carpets not to hit the furniture bases or table legs. Don’t set abrasive items such as cardboard boxes, grocery bags, ceramic lamps, ashtrays, etc. on a finished surface. Be careful when an item such as a plate is lifted from the table. A fork falling from a plate can seriously dent the table top. Hot items, such as a dish just removed from the oven, can blister or darken the finish. Use a hotpad or a table pad under the tablecloth to prevent this. Don’t wait to wipe up spills or to clean up after a party.

Correct Environmental Conditions:

Second, correct environmental conditions will add longevity to the life of fine furniture. When wood furniture is placed in a damp environment, the various parts will swell slightly; conversely, when placed in a dry environment, the parts will shrink. Obviously then, very damp or very dry environments should be avoided. Cyclic changes in temperature, such as those found in an unheated warehouse (cool at night, warmer during the day) can cause small cracks to occur in the finish. Hot blasts of air, such as those from a central heating, should be avoided, because they cause extreme localized drying of the wood.

Direct sunlight has a bleaching effect on wood and finishes, so it should be avoided either by placement of the furniture, or by the use of sunscreens, drapes, or blinds.

Keeping it Clean with the Proper Techniques:

If nothing is done to it (except dusting) the finish will, over a period of time, become dull looking. This is caused by minute scratches made by dirt particles and deposits which result from cooking fumes, fingerprints, etc. A solution of mild soap or oil soaps for wood and water may be used to wash your furniture. However, don’t allow the solution to “puddle” on the surfaces. An easier method to clean and maintain furniture is to use furniture care products (polish) available from Calvins. These products contain cleaners to remove most household soils, plus they deposit a wax finish on the surface which produces a pleasing shine. The best cloth to use to clean and polish furniture is soft cotton (or cotton blend) that has been washed several times to remove the lint.