How to Care for Your Antique Furniture - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 12-23-2010, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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How to Care for Your Antique Furniture

Central heating is the worst thing to happen to antiques. A warm inside and cold outside makes life comfortable while wreaking havoc on antiques. It's the fluctuations in relative humidity that central heating creates which cause the problem. Wood responds to relative humidity by expanding and contracting as it tries to maintain a balance with its environment. It's not the rapid changes during the course of a day that cause the most damage, it's the long-term seasonal fluctuations, which cause the serious damage. During the dry winter months when it is cold outside and warm inside, wood tends to shrink. During hot damp summers when it is warm outside and cooler inside, wood tends to expand. Long-term exposure to these conditions leads to cracking, warping and splitting.

How can you guard against the fluctuations in relative humidity in your home? Use a humidifier during the cold winter and a dehumidifier in the damp summer. Think twice before putting a good piece of furniture in a basement, attic, near heating vents or near fireplaces. Keep fresh air circulating. Maintain a constant room temperature and turn it low at night.

Finishes are affected by relative humidity. Just as the wood expands and contracts, so too does the finish, which becomes brittle and crack. This is called crazing.

What can you do about crazing? Restor-A-Finish is a great multi-purpose product that penetrates through the existing crazed finish and stain, bringing up the color and restoring the luster.

Sunlight

Just as sun damage to the skin is cumulative and permanent, its effects on wood are just as destructive. Diffused sunlight over a long period of time can be as detrimental as direct sunlight over a short period of time. Sunlight can turn a clear finish yellow.
How can you avoid sun damage? The only good news about sun damage is that it's easy to avoid. Draw the drapes, pull the blinds or have a UV-filtering film applied to your windows.

Insects

Termites are a menace to North American homes and are often found in older homes. Hopefully, you'll notice an infestation of termites in your home before they reach your furniture.

The termite solution? Professional fumigation is the best remedy.

The wood beetle is a nasty archenemy of European antiques. It's not as common in North America. Nevertheless, you want to be aware of the wood beetle in case you bring an antique from overseas into your home and infest the rest of your furniture.

The wood beetle lays its eggs in the crevices in wood; the larvae hatch and eat their way through the wood creating a series of tunnels. As the beetle ages, it digs its way out of the wood leaving a hole, flies off to lay its eggs and continues its life cycle.

A tell tale sign that you have wood beetle is the pile of frass (wood dust and insect excrement) on the floor. Another sign of a serious infestation is to pick up an item; if it is very light, likely a large portion of the inside has been eaten away.

How to rid your furniture of this pesky insect? Isolate the infested object. Ensure that the infestation has not spread. Hope that this infestation happened during the winter because the easiest way to get rid of this bothersome bug is to place the item outside on a dry sub-zero day.

Surface Damage

A great deal of surface damage can be prevented if you always remember to use coasters, mats and trivets and avoid placing hot and/or wet items directly on furniture.

Scratches Never slide anything (vase, plate, serving dish etc) across a surface because it will scratch. A very light scratch can be treated with Restor-A-Finish. Deep scratches require the skill of professional restorers.

Liquids Spilled water should be thoroughly wiped up immediately. Alcohol and solvents (nail polish, nail polish remover, perfumes) should be dabbed, not wiped because they can act like a furniture stripper and damage the finish. White rings left from either a hot drink or a wet glass should be attended to right away. A little Brasso applied with a clean cloth may do the trick. Or, I have found that Restor-A-Finish works well to remove white rings. Always test on a small area first.

Candle wax Wait for the wax to cool then gently loosen using a fingernail to remove.

Cleaning

For daily cleaning, use a clean cloth or a clean duster. For those who like to use something more, I recommend Orange Oil because it works well to clean and polish wood finishes. I like it because it doesn't leave a wax build up and doesn't contain linseed or silicone oil. Avoid aerosol spray polishes because they can contain silicone oil and other agents that can be harmful to your furniture.

Every couple of months, wax with a good quality paste wax that can be found in any hardware store. If you wax too much, it can dull the finish and attract dust. To remove a waxy build up, apply varasol with a clean cotton cloth. Proper waxing will bring up the color and grain of the wood and protect it. Rub a small amount on a soft cloth and apply it in circular motions. Let it dry, then buff with a clean cloth.

Moving/Handling

Remember to treat your antiques with care. They are old and should be given the respect that their age commands. Pick up chairs from underneath the seat; not by the arms. Lift a large piece of furniture; dragging it can put excessive pressure on the legs. Tables should be lifted by the apron; not by the top or the legs because they could be loosened. Open drawers using both draw pulls; not just one. Sit squarely on a chair; don't tilt back on it.

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post #2 of Old 12-29-2010, 10:05 AM
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The idea that antique furniture needed to be fed with oil to keep from drying out is a myth. Wood does not dry out from the lack of oil but rather from the lack of moisture. As such, storage in hot dry areas such as an attic should be kept to a minimum.

Furniture oils will temporarily enhance the finish and appearance, but can contribute to the degradation of the finish over time as oils leave a residue that can attract dust and dirt build up.

The preferred method of maintaining a varnished finish is a coat of high quality paste wax. Furniture paste wax is stable and long lasting. It will provide protection from moisture and dust and is not permanent.

A thin coat of wax applied following the manufacturers recommendation annually will help protect your antique furniture's 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.

Wax may not be appropriate for surfaces with a deteriorating finish; if in doubt, consult a furniture restoration specialist in your area 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.

With time brass and copper 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.

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post #3 of Old 03-17-2012, 11:28 AM
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Here are some of the important tips:
- Furnishing exposed in sunlight
- Dusting regularly
- Keep it away from moisture
- Do not use furniture oil.
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post #4 of Old 03-23-2012, 12:48 AM
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The idea that antique furniture needed to be fed with oil to keep from drying out is a myth. Wood does not dry out from the lack of oil but rather from the lack of moisture. As such, storage in hot dry areas such as an attic should be kept to a minimum. Maintenance is a necessary thing for antique furniture as a small mistake or careless may be big loss for you. Apart from this you should keep safety 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.
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post #5 of Old 04-27-2012, 06:20 AM
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Termites and pests are attracted to wood and most outdoor furnishings are made of wood, like most trees and they can seriously damage movable wooden objects such as furniture. Hence, its important to use termite treated furniture for your outdoor area.
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post #6 of Old 04-30-2012, 02:05 AM
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Nice thread! I have found above all the information very helpful to care for antique furniture. It's an interesting thing guard against the fluctuations in relative humidity, which was really informative. However care for antique furniture is necessary to keep your home updated, where the lighting fixture also needed the care with good maintenance. For which you can take the expertise advice to help you. Though I have taken the advice of commercial chandelier cleaning ny to clean the chandelier in my home, which was very helpful in cleaning process.
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post #7 of Old 05-04-2012, 02:36 AM
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Getting your home inspected for pests can also be a preventive measure to know that whether your home is infected with pests or not. In that way you can easily take care of your antique furniture as well as other things in your home.
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post #8 of Old 05-08-2012, 09:12 AM
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Antique furnitures are more precious nowadays and you have to take extra care of it. Your home temperature may take part with that. So try to keep your house clean and dirt free. Do not place your furnitures with sun light directly. It may be the chance to loose joints and veneers and warp the shape of your furniture.
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post #9 of Old 05-10-2012, 07:06 AM
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Antique furniture can be delicate, so be gentle on it. Carefully dry vacuum the upholstery to remove much surface dirt as possible. Use no more pressure than absolutely necessary when applying or removing foam to avoid stretching or breaking your upholstery.
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post #10 of Old 05-15-2012, 06:53 AM
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Copper is a well-known element used for home charming ware and kitchenware. For your outside copperware: left untended it produces an attractive green aging, yet individual do usually gloss their copper kitchenware. An amazing home-made solution remains a well-known washing technic. Spread the products with rough sodium and use a half of an orange to search until clean.
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post #11 of Old 05-15-2012, 07:57 PM
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Really great stuff. Thank you. Wood is so important to take care of, and most people don't- including myself. Working on it though!
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post #12 of Old 05-21-2012, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinmcgrail View Post
Antique furnitures are more precious nowadays and you have to take extra care of it. Your home temperature may take part with that. So try to keep your house clean and dirt free. Do not place your furniture with sun light directly. It may be the chance to loose joints and veneers and warp the shape of your furniture.
Antique furniture really precious now a days. Usually, this furniture principles differ from one another and it is best that you try to be acquainted with what to look for. To save lots of your resources when you are involved on traditional hunting.
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post #13 of Old 05-23-2012, 01:52 PM
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Antique Furniture

Wonderful information regarding the tips for taking care of antique furniture, as I'm very passionate about the antique collections and always tried to keep it very carefully as the antique furnitures are precious comparing to the modern furnitures.

antique furniture

Inessa Stewart offers antiques interiors Antique Furniture, French Antiques, Italian antiques and other antique collections including antique clocks. Antique lighting has been out forte for two decades with hundreds of chandeliers, table lamps, floor.
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post #14 of Old 05-24-2012, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidvictor2k12 View Post
Wonderful information regarding the tips for taking care of antique furniture, as I'm very passionate about the antique collections and always tried to keep it very carefully as the antique furnitures are precious comparing to the modern furnitures.

antique furniture
Antique home furnishings are becoming a hot subject lately. Try to protect your furniture from the sunlight visibility. The antique furniture can be put in an area that gets little or no natural light immediately on it.
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post #15 of Old 05-24-2012, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidvictor2k12 View Post
Wonderful information regarding the tips for taking care of antique furniture, as I'm very passionate about the antique collections and always tried to keep it very carefully as the antique furnitures are precious comparing to the modern furnitures.

antique furniture
Yes, I am also agree that these are the wonderful tips regarding antique furniture. It is a excellent choice, however keep in mind that the product you buy should really go well with your purpose at your home also.
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post #16 of Old 06-20-2012, 06:46 AM
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In modern days, Antique furniture can be a very precious. So, it would be necessary things to protect from direct sunlight or heat, dust and many others. It can be also important to taking care of it.
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post #17 of Old 06-30-2012, 02:09 AM
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I think, never place antique furniture near air conditioning equipments. Protect them from direct sunlight. Do not use commercial dusting spray, you just use cotton cloth or green cleaning products.
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post #18 of Old 09-19-2012, 12:19 PM
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Getting your home inspected regularly can keep termite treatment cost down, especially when there are antiques these little buggers would just love to sink their teeth into.
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post #19 of Old 10-17-2012, 09:44 AM
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For taking care of antique furniture you have to daily dust it. So it look likes new one. You have to also use some pesticides which are available in market to protect it from bed bugs and others.
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post #20 of Old 10-19-2012, 02:16 PM
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Antique furniture needs more care. You should apply proper paste wax to maintain its finishing and stay away from the dust. Don't use aerosol spray polishes because they may harm your furniture.

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