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If you’ve just invested in a solid wooden table, inherited a storied family dining set, or found an absolute treasure at a nearby vintage store, you’re sure to want to keep these pieces safe and sound. In other words, you’ll want them to stay as close to like-new condition for as long as possible.
Keeping furniture in great shape can be a challenge. Activities of everyday life can certainly throw some hurdles your way. Spilled morning coffee, an aggressive bump to a table leg with a vacuum cleaner, or children colouring where they shouldn’t, can make a quick mess of a treasured piece.
Fortunately, with some pre-emptive measures and some gentle maintenance along the way, there are a few ways to protect your furniture so that it retains its showroom allure. Here’s how.
Dust Your Wooden Table Regularly
Most places to buy wooden tables will tell you to gently dust your furniture regularly using a soft cloth. While dust appears inconsequential and harmless, over time, it can build up and damage the surface of the wood.
To dust your furniture, use a microfibre cloth — the dust will be drawn to this fabric — or a slightly damp, lint-free cloth. Avoid using commercial furniture polish. It often contains a high silicone content which may, over time, add a sticky layer to the top of your furniture or slowly soak into the surface, causing discolouration and damage.
Protect Your Tabletop
Coasters and placemats are a must-have in your mission to protect your wooden table from scratches and dreaded watermarks. If you like decorating your table with flowers or a potted plant, put a mat beneath them to prevent scuff marks or pooling condensation from overwatering.
And if your kids are into arts and crafts, protect your table using a tablecloth from drips of paint and glue. Better still, arrange craft activities on a picnic blanket in the middle of the room — well away from prized pieces of furniture.
Tighten Screws and Hardware
If your furniture has easy-to-access screws and hardware, take a few moments every year to gently tighten them.
Consider the Climate and Humidity
Quality wood furniture will be affected by excess heat and humidity. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing a location for your wooden table.
Try to place your table where it won’t be sitting in direct sunlight for multiple hours during the day and in a spot away from a direct heat source, like a fireplace, radiator, or heat vent.
Ongoing and persistent changes in humidity and heat can cause wood to warp, split and even mold.
Take Care of Repairs in Good Time
Damage happens. For example, someone leaves a hot or damp mug on your wooden table sans coaster, resulting in an unsightly water ring. Fortunately, damage like water rings can be removed if you act in good time. Here are a few tips for removing this specific enemy of wooden furniture:
- Using a mix of three tablespoons of olive oil and three tablespoons of vinegar, gently buff the stain toward the grain until the ring disappears.
- Apply a dab of white toothpaste (a paste that’s not a gel or whitening), and rub the mark until it’s gone.
- If you catch the mark immediately, set your hairdryer on medium and wave it slowly over the water ring until the excess moisture evaporates.
These are just a few tried and true methods for managing the dreaded water ring.
By taking some protective steps, making time for general cleaning and upkeep, and tackling damage in quick time, you’re sure to keep your wooden table in tip-top condition for many years to come.