So, you’ve come into possession of some antique furniture and have no idea what to do with this, right? The first thing on your agenda should be learning what constitutes as antique furniture, a definition on Wikipedia will help. The next thing is learning how to care for the piece so you don’t damage it. Antiques require a gentle hand and very basic cleaning as they didn’t have harsh detergents when those pieces were made. The important thing is to care for your new assets the right way to prevent them from losing value.
5 Basic Tips on How to Care for Antique Furniture
1. Dust with a soft brush
The best thing about caring for antique furniture is that the less you do the better. Unless your piece specifically requires otherwise, you should only dust it regularly. As this kind of furniture usually has an elaborate design with a million of tiny creases, you need to be very thorough in your dusting.
Do this at least once every week to prevent accumulation of dust and dirt, which might damage the varnish. For the same reason, you should only use a very soft brush or a piece of microfiber cloth for dusting. This way, you’ll be able to avoid even the tiniest of scratches. Remember that once the integrity of the piece’s coating is breached, the overall deterioration will be very difficult to stop.
2. Store the pieces if not using them
If you aren’t prepared to extend the extra care that antique furniture needs and don’t want to sell it, storage will be your best option. In this case, you should find a reliable moving service provider. These companies offer storage services and have experience in both packing and storing precious antique pieces. The movers will be able to ensure that the items are secure and protected from rot or any other issues that might reduce their value.
In case you want to pack the pieces for storage yourself. Clean them carefully with lukewarm water and a soft detergent. Then make sure they are 100% dry and cover each piece with soft cloth. Place them in storage with a company that can provide environment suitable for antique pieces. Note that not every warehouse will do for that.
3. Wax the pieces that need it
If your antique wooden furniture has some kind of finish, you’ll need to give it some extra protection with wax. Use the most natural furniture wax you can afford to avoid any possible chemical damage.
Waxing will give your furniture some extra shine as well as protection from UV radiation and even scratches. However, you shouldn’t use it if the natural coat of the piece is intact and can be brushed to shine.
Avoid any oils and other solutions that ‘feed’ the wood. Ads might claim that they are able to bring antique pieces to their original glory, but the truth is that these solutions are more likely to do long-term damage. When they seep into cracks in the finish, they might cause oxidation, which will ruin the item from within.
4. If you wet clean, use the mildest soap you have
If the piece you have is in a dire need of a clean more thorough than a dusting brush can offer, use a bucket of warm water with a dollop of your hand soap. You should choose the mildest soap you have and dry the piece immediately after washing to reduce damage from water.
5. Insure the pieces
Research antique furniture insurance and make sure all your valuable items are protected by it. You should also talk to the insurance agent of what exactly constitutes as ‘proper care’ under your policy so you don’t invalidate it by accident.