Having a house full of beautiful wooden furniture is a joy. Having your maid in Dubai clean it properly is a tricky task.
Upkeep of wooden furniture is very different from all other type of furniture (you can read about keeping your upholstered furniture clean on our blog, just follow the link), mainly because of the veneer or polish that makes it highly priced and coveted. Almost all homes have one signature piece of wooden furniture that needs to be carefully cleaned and maintained. Cleaning services and maids in Dubai often do not have a clue about the expensive French polish or veneer you may have on your furniture and can use improper ways of cleaning it, thus damaging your prized possession and costing you a lot of money is repair and polishing.
Types of Finishes
Before we talk about cleaning and caring for the wood, we need to know the kinds of finishes that are commonly used on wood furniture and how to care for each.
The most common finish these days is the polyurethane varnish. It is a synthetic polish that is liquid plastic in essence. It gives a variety of finishes including, glossy, sating or matte. This is a tough polish and doesn’t get damaged very easily.
Shellac is a natural varnish it is also called lacquer polish. This is made with lac granules dissolved in spirit or alcohol. This is a delicate finish that gives a beautiful satiny finish to the wood. This is easily damaged with heat and liquid. This polish is used on fine furniture and period pieces. The trend these days is to use a Pu coating over the shellac to preserve and protect it from damage, but then the beautiful satiny glow is lost.
Traditionally, oils were used to finish and protect wood. The most commonly used oils were linseed oil, Danish oil and tung oil. These oils harden on contact with air and leave a protective coating on the surface of the wood protecting the wood. These oils give a beautiful wet look to the wood and are easy to maintain. Now there are other oils also available that are said to provide protection. These are called Hard Wax Oil. They can be used on all surfaces including hard use surfaces such as floors.
Painted wood is the easiest when it comes to upkeep. If you wish to give an old wooden piece a new look and life, then you can paint it. There are different types of paints in thousands of colours available. Pick the ones that you fancy and apply it. The paint helps to protect the wood and is difficult to beat for durability and ease of maintenance.
Another finish that is found on most highly priced pieces and antiques is the French Polish. It is a highly professional version of the shellac polish where extremely thin layers of polish are applied one on top of the other to give a very beautiful finish. This too is prone to damage by heat and water and needs great care. French polish is probably the most expensive polish you can find on wooden furniture and you do not want it to be damaged by an ignorant maid or cleaning service.
Waxing is yet another way to protect your furniture. Wax polish is used to protect the surface and then it is buffed to a soft gloss. This is a labour intensive polish and can be easily damaged by moisture and heat.
Daily Care of Wooden Furniture
Just a little bit of care can keep your wooden furniture looking great for a long time. Though not much is required where the PU polish is concerned, for all other polish, it is essential that the wood should be protected from water, damp and hot objects. Also, it is imperative that wooden furniture, even than which is meant for outdoors, should be protected from the elements. Wood is an organic item and prone to rot when left out in the rain and sunshine. This daily care routine should be explained to your maid in Dubai or the cleaning service you hire. This routine is good for all wooden finishes, but especially so for the varnished or shellac coated items. 1. Use coasters on tables to prevent heat and moisture damage and also cup and glass rings. 2. Protect from moisture or other such liquids. In case of a spill, soak it up as soon as possible, do not wipe as it will spread the liquid around and cause damage to a greater area. 3. Dust using a soft cloth or a microfiber duster. Make sure the cloth is lint free. Wiping the furniture with dry cloth removes the dust, gets rid of smudges and maintains a soft shine of the finish. 4. If there are spots or marks that are encrusted or sticky, wipe it off with a damp cloth. Do not use a wet cloth but a damp one. Once the spot has been removed, use a dry cloth to clean the spot. If the spot is stubborn, use a little bit of linseed or soya oil to gently rub the spot and get it out. 5. Never let a wet of damp cloth sit on a polished surface. The wood absorbs the moisture and the polish develops ugly cloudy spots.
Besides daily dusting and maintenance, the wooden furniture requires regular care to maintain the polish and also to keep the wood in good shape. Once every few years you may want to refresh your furniture by getting it varnished again. This is an expensive process and best done before a big event such as a wedding or a special anniversary. If you are renovating your house, this is a good time to give your wooden furniture a once over. While polishing, the furniture should be stripped down to the base and then redone so that the wood grains are visible, and the surface is smooth and blemish less. At least once a year you should inspect your furniture for damage, repairs and refreshing of the surface.
- Use paste wax to protect the varnished wood. It forms a protective coating over the polish and protects it from damp and dust. But this should not be done more than once a year at the most. If you do it too often, the surface may start looking dull and pasty due to buildup of the wax.
- If the surface is scratched, you can use paste wax to mask the scratches. For deeper scratches, you may need a filler and then a polish touch up pen to match the shade of the existing polish.
- After a few years you may need to remove the wax buildup to reveal the polish again. Of if you have read this article too late, you may already have wax buildup and may need to remove it. This can be done using spirit or synthetic turpentine oil. Soak a rag with the solvent and then rub it gently over the surface to dissolve and remove the wax. Discard the rags once they become too dirty
- If the polish on the furniture is covered with PU layer, then it is safe to wash it with water. But still use a wet or damp cloth as much as possible. Do run a test in an inconspicuous spot before going ahead with it. If the varnish turns cloudy, do not use water. If it doesn’t then you can use warm water and soap to clean it. Make sure you dry it thoroughly and there is no water left on the surface anywhere.
- You can use an olive oil soaked cloth to rub over the polished surface to give it sheen and also to refresh it. But do not do it more than once a year otherwise it may cause a buildup and mask the polish.
- In case there is mildew or fungus on your furniture or it smells odd, then take it out and leave it in a shady area away from direct sun. Place some silica gel or activated carbon briquettes inside the furniture if it has drawers or shelves. Let it dry out well. You may want to sprinkle baking soda over it to remove the smell.
- For sticky drawers use some
If you take good and regular care of your wooden furniture it should last you a life time and may even become a family heirloom that can be passed down to the future generations.
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