caring for your furniture

Caring for your Hardwood Furniture

When hardwood furniture is well cared for, it can be enjoyed by your family and future generations for many years to come. Whether you purchased your hardwood furniture new or inherited a cherished family heirloom, properly caring for it will keep it looking its best. Here are some recommendations:

Clean dining furniture with hot water and a soft cloth. 

Hardwood dining tables should be wiped promptly after each meal with hot water and a soft cloth. For a streak-free look, follow immediately with a dry, soft cloth. Kitchen island tops with a hardwood food prep surface can be cleaned similarly each time they are used for food prep or serving. Always use cutting boards during food preparation to protect the island top’s surface from damage. The base of the island, along with dining chairs and stools, will need cleaned less often. To remove greasy or sticky residue or stubborn stuck-on food from your hardwood dining or kitchen furniture, we recommend Guardsman® Deep Clean Purifying Wood Cleaner.

Clean other furniture with a lint-free or microfiber cloth in the direction of the wood grain.

Bedroom sets, office furniture, TV and media stands, or occasional tables do not need to be cleaned as often as a dining room table, but a weekly dusting with a lint-free or microfiber cloth will keep them looking their best. Accumulated dust can create small surface scratches on the wood’s finish and can attract moisture. When you dust, make sure to gently dust in the direction of the wood’s grain changing to a clean cloth if you notice significant dust buildup on the cloth. For those times when a deeper clean is desired to remove heavy dust, fingerprints, smudges, or streaks, Guardsman Clean & Polish or Guardsman Deep Clean Purifying Wood Cleaner are great products to use.  

Polish only occasionally.

Hardwood furniture only needs to be polished occasionally to help enhance its natural sheen and to highlight the beautiful grain of the wood. At Miller’s Furniture, we recommend Guardsman Clean & Polish, which is silicone-free and offers the added benefit of providing UV sunblock to help protect wood from discoloration.

Tend to spills promptly.

The hardwood furniture sold at Miller’s includes a durable finish that will help provide protection from everyday use, but it’s still important to immediately wipe up spills, water rings, food debris. It’s especially important to wipe up anything greasy or that tends to stain. Letting grease or staining materials sit could potentially cause them to penetrate through the finish and damage the wood. Consider using coasters or cloth placemats beneath drinks to avoid leaving water rings directly on the furniture.

Avoid harsh cleaners.

Polishes or cleaners that contain abrasives, silicone, wax, or ammonia should not be used on hardwood furniture. Natural homemade cleaners containing lemon juice or vinegar should also be avoided since the acid in those solutions can eventually harm or dull the furniture’s finish. All-purpose cleaners or cleaners containing bleach should also be avoided since harsh chemicals can cause cumulative damage to the finish. 

Keep out of heat and direct sunlight.

Cookware, dishes, or kitchen appliances that are extremely hot should not be placed directly on hardwood furniture as the heat can damage the furniture’s finish. As a precaution, use hot pads to properly protect your furniture from these items. Hardwood furniture should be positioned away from registers, baseboards, fireplaces, wood stoves, or space heaters. Areas in your home that are exposed to prolonged direct sunlight are not an ideal setting for hardwood furniture unless window treatments can be installed to help block or filter direct sunlight.

Avoid vinyl or plastic placemats and tablecloths.

The chemicals used to keep vinyl and plastic tablecloths and placemats supple can react with the finishes on hardwood furniture. Moisture can also become trapped between your furniture and placemats or tablecloths causing cumulative damage to the finish. If you do use placemats or tablecloths, it’s best to use natural fabrics such as cotton or linen avoiding any that is backed with vinyl or plastic. 

Maintain humidity between 35% and 45%.

To minimize the potential for swelling, cracking, or warping in hardwood furniture, it’s important to keep your home’s humidity between 35% and 45%. If you don’t have a way to monitor your home’s humidity, consider purchasing a portable hygrometer. Because humidity levels can vary in different rooms or on different floors, it’s ideal to keep a hygrometer on each floor. Maintaining recommended humidity levels in your home will not only extend the life of your hardwood furniture, doing so may also reduce heating and cooling costs and protect your family's health as well.

Protect from scratches and scrapes.

Hardwood is one of the most durable materials available for furniture, and when properly finished, it can withstand everyday wear and tear for years before it shows signs of aging. However, there are some precautions to take to help avoid accidental scratches and scrapes.

Don’t allow pets to climb or put their paws or claws on hardwood furniture. Be careful not to slide objects such as glass, ceramic, pottery, metal, wood, or sharp objects across the furniture’s surface. Many furniture scratches occur while dusting as people move objects to dust beneath them. Use small felt pads on the bottoms of objects you know you will frequently need to move or reposition. If you allow kids to play with toys or games on hardwood furniture, it’s a good idea to provide placemats or similar coverings to help protect the wood from potential damage. When using writing utensils on hardwood furniture, it’s best to place a desk pad or notepad beneath in order to avoid indentations or bleeds into the furniture. A magazine, catalog, or book will also do the trick.

When you purchase hardwood furniture at Miller’s Furniture, we will gladly answer any questions you have about how to properly care for it, and we can also direct you to the best Guardsman furniture care products for your needs. Guardsman products can be purchased at all our locations. We want you and your family to enjoy the natural beauty of your heirloom-quality furniture for many years to come!