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How To Care For Antique Furniture

Posted under Antique Furniture

Antique furniture is much more than just an old piece of furniture. It often has a major historic, artistic and monetary value which, however, can be affected by improper care. Antique furniture can be used just like any other piece of furniture and is not only appreciated for its historic and artistic value but its functionality too. But since practical use poses a high risk of damage, antique furniture requires special care and additional protection.

The number one rule in antique furniture care is strict avoidance of conventional furniture polishers, cleaners and abrasive agents. They can either accelerate degradation of wood or/and damage its finish which is the very worst thing that can happen to you because when the finish is lost, it cannot be restored. You are also highly recommended to stay away from oils to “feed“ the wood and beautify the finish. It is not loss of oil that can affect durability of your antique furniture but loss of moisture. Furthermore, the use of oil promotes dust build up which in turn can accelerate the loss of the finish. To keep your antique furniture good looking and avoid causing damage to it, use a quality wax paste to seal in moisture and dust it on a regular basis with a soft, damp cloth. And whenever you have any doubts, do not hesitate to consult with an expert.

The second most important thing in antique furniture care is to keep it away from factors that can cause a substantial damage to it such as exposure to direct sunlight, excessively dry air, humidity, heat and insects. An antique furniture should never be placed directly in front of the window or any other area that receives direct sunlight because the UV light can cause fading. Keeping it on a safe distance from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat is just as important because the heat triggers shrinking of the wood which in turn can loosen the joints and affect stability and functionality of your furniture.

Too dry air has similar effect as heat, while excessive humidity can result in development of mould and mildew. Keep track of relative humidity in the room you keep antique furniture and consult with an expert if having problems with either too dry air or humidity. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers can help you control relative humidity but they work only of you need slight improvements. Signs of mould in the corners of the room for example often signal a serious problem which needs a professional advice and help. You are also highly recommended to call an expert immediately if you think that your furniture could be infested by insects (if you notice small holes in your furniture, fine sawdust under the furniture or/and strange noises appearing to come from furniture).

Antique furniture should be frequently inspected for signs of damage, loose joints and insect infestation to both reduce the cost of repair works as well as extend its durability. In the end, it is important to handle your antique furniture gently. It may be true that it can be used just like any other furniture but it is a good idea to avoid heavy use and protect it against potential damage such as placing a tablecloth on the table when eating a dinner for example.

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