The right care will extend the life of wooden furniture, whether it's an heirloom or a Billy bookcase.
Every week: A wipe over with a soft (preferably microfibre) cloth will remove dust. Use a small paintbrush or vacuum cleaner attachment to winkle dust out of carvings and mouldings.
Wax polish isn't absolutely essential, but if you're not too heavy handed it will protect the wood to some extent and buffs up nicely. Clean down the piece with a just-damp cloth before you apply polish, or you'll trap dirt in the wax. You only need to apply polish once or twice a year and always use the same product or you're just asking for trouble.
Oiled timbers are usually tropical hardwoods, such as teak, or beech. Oil, such as linseed, teak oil or Danish oil should be applied with a fluff-free cloth, left to soak in then wiped clean. Follow manufacturer's instructions for the appropriate oil and frequency of oiling.
Stains and marks on wooden furniture: alcohol spots and watermarks can be removed with a cream metal polish (test on an inconspicuous area first), then faded areas can be disguised with ash or shoe polish; grease marks on unsealed wood can be sprinkled with good old talc, which you then cover with kitchen paper and press with a warm iron to absorb the grease; fill in small scratches with matching coloured wax crayon or shoe polish.
Always check manufacturer's instructions first. Always try a test patch first. If you are unsure as to whether the item you are cleaning is suitable for our instructions, take professional cleaning advice first.
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