How to Clean and Polish Antique Woodwork

Polishing your antiques is important even if your antique furniture is not in pristine condition. It can help preserve the character of your furniture as well as help maintain its value. Although if your furniture is severely damaged and needs to be restored, you may want to contact a professional.

However, waxing with a good quality polish that is made with beeswax rather than a spray polish can do a lot to help bring out the look of your wood furniture as well as protect it.

Steps for Polishing Your Antique Furniture

The first thing to do when you’re polishing your furniture is to put a little bit of polish on a nice soft cloth and then carefully rub the cloth over your furniture until the wax looks shiny. This should help clean the surface and evaporate any leftover solvent.

Next, Polish your furniture with a clean duster. It is best if you can apply the wax the night before you intend to use it so as to let the wax soak into the wood overnight and then polish the wood the next day.

If you find that the wood is quite dry and the wax soaks in quickly, you may need to apply the wax more often until a patina has built up. Although normally you should only need to wax the furniture every few months. Otherwise, your furniture could look dull and be more likely to collect dust. Although in any case, you will want to dust regularly using a clean, dry duster. This can actually help a skin to develop on the furniture, which could improve the patina.

Cleaning Your Antique Furniture

In order to protect your antique furniture, you will want to keep it clean. However, you’ll need to be careful. When you need to clean your antique furniture, you should use a soft, damp cloth that has been thoroughly wrung out. Although, you could also use chamois leather, if you prefer. If, for some reason, you need to thoroughly clean the furniture, you could use diluted vinegar. However, this should only be used on polished furniture with undamaged wood. If you use vinegar to clean, you should wipe off the furniture again with a clean cloth using only water. After cleaning your furniture, make sure to dry it immediately using a soft cloth.

Always make sure that if your furniture gets wet, whether from cleaning or from something being spilled on it, you dry it promptly. Then, make sure it is completely dry before waxing the furniture. This could take up to a week. If you apply wax while the wood is still damp, the damp area will absorb more wax and look darker than the surrounding area.

Final Thoughts

Now that your antique furniture is cleaned, polished, and waxed, it is important to store it carefully. Make sure that your furniture is kept in a room with a constant temperature and the appropriate level of humidity. The humidity should be at 50 to 55%. Also, you should keep the furniture out of direct sunlight as this could fade the color of the wood. With proper care, your antique furniture can last for many years to come.

Contact Us

For cleaning, restoration, and appraisal of furnishings, art, and decorative objects, contact Manzi Appraisers & Restorers. Our team has over 20 years of experience providing individuals and businesses with restorations and accurate valuations of their art, furnishings, and decorative objects. Call us at 617-948-2577 and connect with us on Facebook.