Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Taking care of wood furniture... while searching...

Huh?  Well, it started out as a question from a blog reader asking about my post on taking care of wood furniture.  My inability to find my own post (there are over 2,000 of them) helped my decision to add a Search Blog function to the side bar... just above Archives Subscribe To.

After adding it, I found what I was looking for within seconds... literally.

Soooo... since I had it up already, I thought I'd share the info again with you today.

Taking care of wood furniture

Since you asked...  :)

Here are the products I have used for years and years.  Especially on my inherited antiques and vintage pieces (those less than one hundred years old but still real wood). 

Murphy's Original Formula oil soap to clean wood (use according to directions)
The best stuff for cleaning any kind of wood.  I think they make a special formula for wood floors, too, so make certain you get the original formula for furniture, kitchen cabinets, etc.

Only wood which is really grungy gets an annual Murphy's treatment (like the dining table surface, wood kitchen cabinets, coffee table, etc.).

Lemon oil... any good brand... for regular twice yearly rubs.
I use it when not using a scratch cover.

Old English Scratch Cover - both the dark wood formula and the light wood formula.
If you can only afford one formula, I've found the light wood formula works on dark wood, too, but I prefer using the dark wood formula on... dark wood.

This stuff is amazing.  I've used it on furniture I thought would need to be refinished and it transforms the wood into a thing of beauty.  It's available at most hardware stores (even the local Wal Mart carries it).

If you use the scratch cover, you don't need to use lemon oil, too. It is an oil.

Wood Paste
If your wood furniture is very dry, you may need a good wood paste to rub into the wood.  Since my wood furniture is in good shape, I really only use it on the dining table so it will not be a priority to replace when I run out of my current brand.  I'll use the lemon oil or light wood scratch cover and give it more time to dry.

If you refinish furniture, you will probably need it.  To find a good brand, ask the people who own an antique store!  That's how I found the one I have used a few years.  They are also the most knowledgeable people to lead you to expert furniture refinishers, should you need one.

Extra Virgin olive oil
Yes... the kind you cook with!

I've had the same cutting board for about thirty years.  When it is looking rather anemic, I rub the olive oil into the wood before I go to bed at night... giving it at least good eight hours to absorb before I use the board again.

Soft sturdy paper towels (cannot be cheap paper towels!), old t-shirts, and Zip-Lock bags
These are what I use when I'm oiling furniture.  Cheap paper towels leave bits and pieces on the furniture... yuk... buy the good stuff since it's usually just a little more in cost.  I use old t-shirts, old (clean, of course) diapers, etc. when I have them.

Why Zip-Lock bags?  Quite often the paper toweling or cotton cloth I'm using becomes saturated with lemon oil and can be used later.  I toss it in the Zip-Lock bag... seal... and use it the next time I dust the antiques.

I never, ever, ever use a product like Pledge on my furniture.  In my family, that would qualify as heresy.  The Wood Police would know it.  I don't know anyone in the wood profession who would use it.  I have used Endust and similar dusting products... never sprayed directly on wood.

I usually "lemon oil" furniture in early spring after it has been in the dry air all winter... then again in autumn before the furnace is lit for the season.  If you are constantly washing a real wood dining table... you may want to wash it with Murphy's Oil Soap instead of just soap & water once in awhile.

I have a couple pieces of furniture that came to me already dried out (like the buffet cabinet my husband brought home from his sister's place a couple years ago).  These pieces of furniture need one or two extra massages with lemon oil each year as they're very dry.  Plan on letting the furniture completely dry from the oil before placing items on top of it again.


Vee said...

Excellent tips! I use all of these products except the lemon oil, which I shall remedy today. I like painted furniture, but I also enjoy wood. Oh, I have never tried olive oil on cutting boards, I use an edible mineral oil instead. (I have similar issues, minus 500, with finding posts. The search feature does work well if one doesn't decide to mess with whatever formatting you find when find that old post. I recently lost three posts entirely trying to "fix" things.)

becka said...

Thank you for posting this. I was actually thinking of writing you to ask what you would recommend as I have a couple of pieces which need a little help!

Anonymous said...

Thank you soooo much for adding the search to your blog. I have really used it on other blogs like Down to Earth that has it. You have gathered so much information on your blog and I refer back to it often! Sarah

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I added a search engine this year too. I got tired of not finding what I was looking for on my own blog! lol

Great tips on caring for wood. I use lemon oil too, and Murphy's. I am going to try to get my wood pieces cleaned and oiled this week.


Kimberly said...

mineral oil works well-i mix it with beeswax and rub it all into my cutting boards and wooden spoons
i think i use the search feature in my blog more than anyone else

Heather L. said...

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for us this week!!! Off to get the flowers now......I'm enjoying the fun of this and grateful that we are not more stressed.

Unknown said...

Wooden furniture is especially vulnerable to water damage to the finish and to the wood itself. Wooden furniture needed extra care in seasonal. Thanks.

wood care