Maintaining vintage wooden furniture is no easy task, especially during the monsoon and winter season when the chances of mould appearing over your favourite wooden pieces are high! What’s more, the damage isn’t quite noticeable unless it has taken over a large surface area on the piece.
Most people believe that simple dusting or wipe downs are enough to maintain wooden decor at home. However, that is not the case. Wood is an organic material that demands constant care. That does not mean that one must aggressively saturate it with waxes and chemicals. Instead, it means that one should pay attention to how it changes over time and what kind of care it requires based on those changes.
How Wooden Furniture Is Generally Protected
Wooden furniture can be protected in numerous ways depending on the type of wood, era of craftsmanship, function, and availability. Most artisans save antique or vintage pieces of the woodwork with waxy substances or organic oil finishes that we see practised to this day. Some examples of wooden furniture are covered with layers of paint to provide a completely waterproof finish. For instance, outdoor furniture, doors and frames, window sills, tables, beams, vintage fittings are painted over to protect the wood from absorbing moisture.
More recent pieces of woodwork bear glossy polished finishes that are based on resin or polyurethane. These protect the wood for longer but are not feasible for wooden furniture with extensive carvings or wooden decor pieces.
How To Protect Vintage Wooden Furniture from Damage?
Wooden furniture requires extra care when classified as vintage. Furniture that has seen decades of use will undoubtedly show several signs of wear and tear; however, the degree of damage depends on how well it was taken care of since being crafted. Minor issues include chipping, worn off or run down surfaces, faint UV light damage and dents/ breaks and can be taken care of with the help of wood fillers, waxes, stains and polish.
However, moisture-related softening, pest issues, rot, and extensive chipping and breakage will require professional help. Here are a few ways you can protect your wooden furniture from further damage:
- For minor dents, opt for store-bought wood fillers and sealants to fill in the gap. Then, sand it over and apply a stain akin to the original colour followed up by polish.
- If your furniture is in great shape, consider gently sanding the surfaces down and applying a new coat of wood wax or polish coat.
- Check for any parts of the furniture that require new fittings or need to be replaced to avoid further damage to the rest of the piece. Consult a professional if the task requires added expertise.
Monsoon and Winter Care Tips
Mould often takes over wooden furniture when there is a high moisture level in the air, and the wooden surface absorbs it. Without being aired out, especially in drawers, inner corners, and carvings, mould actively grows and spreads with the warmth that cocoons it.
Here’s how you can avoid mould growth in your wooden furniture:
- Always check the crevices, inner corners of your drawers during your regular cleaning sessions to ensure that they are dry and without dust.
- If you are using a damp cloth to catch dust in these areas, pull the drawers out and allow them to dry completely before sliding them back in.
- Whenever possible, take your furniture outdoors and leave it under indirect sunlight to thoroughly dry out the wood.
- Use a simple and non-toxic wax or oil-based finish to protect the wood and help keep the moisture from the air from being absorbed.
- Place packets of non-toxic silica gel or anti-mould stickers in closed areas and deep corners of your wooden furniture. You can also use camphor bags or charcoal trays to control the moisture. Make it a point to check and swap out these packets regularly to ensure they still work well.
- Invest in metal/stone coasters with felt bases/felt dots to protect the surface from moisture and scratches.
- Avoid spraying alcohol-based cleansers, makeup products, or greasy onto the surface as they effectively remove the protectants.
How To Protect Vintage/ Antique Wooden Decor Pieces?
Vintage and Antique pieces are slightly more challenging to take care of owing to their age and decades of use. Oftentimes, these pieces are found to show proof of their use in terms of frayed edges, layers that their previous owners have sanded down and faded areas from constant exposure to sunlight.
Suppose your vintage/antique wooden piece does not look well taken care of and shows extensive damage in terms of cracked panels, holes, pest issues or soft, and crumbly wood. In that case, we highly recommend approaching a professional to restore the piece in the best way possible.
If your wooden decor piece is in good shape, you can continue to follow these simple tips to set up a regular maintenance routine to ensure it stays the same way.
- Frequent dusting of the piece is imperative to keep pests away and the wood dry. If you are using a damp cloth to remove dust, ensure that the piece is completely dry before placing it back in corners or amidst decor arrangements around your home. Also, consider investing in a small, medium-firm fluffy brush to remove dust from carvings and crevices.
- To clean stains from pieces that already have a protective layer, add a teaspoon of oil, a few drops of skin-safe detergent and gently wipe the area in circular motions. Follow it up with another dry wipe down.
- When adding a protective layer such as wood wax or stain, pay attention to the crevices to ensure they are not left bare. Also, remove any excess product that has settled into the small carvings and crevices.
We hope these tips have been of help! Do you have any favourite tips you have been practising for wood care? Let us know in the comments section below!
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