Natural wood is an organic substance affected by its environment and how we treat it. We prepared a short guide to give you the basics on how to properly care for your new piece of solid exotic wood furniture.
Preserving and caring for natural wood
Wood is subject to damage if exposed to moisture and humidity as well as extreme hot or cold temperatures. In addition, many woods such as pine are softer than plastic, ceramic, metal and other woods. This means they are very prone to nicks and scratches.
To make sure you prolong the life of your solid wood piece of furniture, here are some simple do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Do maintain the humidity level in your home at an average of 45%-55%
- The wood in furniture continues to exchange moisture with the air, expanding and shrinking in response to changes in relative humidity. Solid hardwood furniture’s natural response to extremely dry air is to lose moisture and shrink or crack.
- Do regularly dust surfaces with a dry microfiber cloth
- Do protect from occasional spills with placemats, tablecloths and coasters
- Do protect from hot pots and plates with trivets and placemats
Cleaning natural wood the right way
For a regular maintenance:
- Dust natural wood surfaces with a dry microfiber cloth to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating and settling.
For a deeper maintenance:
- Do not use household cleansers.
- Fill an empty spray bottle with one-part vinegar to 10-parts water.
- Spray the solution on a clean cloth and gently wipe down the surface
- Prevent excess moisture absorption by drying the surface with a clean dry cloth
For a more detailed guide on cleaning wood, consult the following article.
How to repair minor damages
Disclaimer: Fixing the following minor blemishes could actually worsen the condition of the wood. These are suggestions we’ve been given from professionals around us, but that we haven’t tested. When in doubt or if the following tricks didn’t work, please contact us and we can put you in contact with a professional.
White rings and watermarks
Wait a day or two to see if the mark could evaporate on its own. If it persists, set a hairdryer on its lowest setting (it should be tolerable on your own skin), and lightly blow the hot air on the mark. You could also use furniture polish to gently rub it out. If that hasn’t worked, here are some experimental fixes you can try using regular household items:
- Baking soda: make a past by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 teaspoon of water and gently rub the affected area in a circular motion. Wipe of the excess with a damp cloth.
- Petroleum jelly: let the jelly sit on the water mark for a few hours or overnight before wiping off.
- Salt: similar to the baking soda trick, mix 1 teaspoon (fine table) salt with a few drops of water to form a paste, then gently rub the spot. You might need to polish the wood afterwards.
- Toothpaste: rub some non-gel toothpaste on the stain with a cloth, then wipe off with a damp cloth. Let it dry, then apply some furniture polish. You could also mix the toothpaste with baking soda if you need a slightly stronger concoction.
- Vinegar: mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil, then gently rub on the stain in the direction of the grain with a soft cloth. Once the stain disappears, use another clean cloth to buff and shine the wood. Bonus tip: straight vinegar will remove white water marks on leather, too.
- Car wax: if you’ve run out of furniture polish or tried it and it failed, try car wax instead. Apply a small amount ot the stain with your finger, let it dry and then buff with a soft cloth.
The trick to removing heat marks is steam: place a damp cotton tea towel over the stain. Set an iron on medium heat (with steam), and, keeping the iron in motion continuously, gently go over the damp tea towel for a few seconds.
Nicks and scratches
- Rub a small amount of furniture oil or wax along the scratch or nick.
- Let it sit a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with a clean, dry cloth.
It is impossible to prevent wood from cracking, especially as it ages. If you notice a significant crack has formed and is splitting the wood, contact us for advice and we’ll direct you to a qualified professional.