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Caring for Your Furniture

What You Should Know:
Wood Furniture and Cabinets

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Caring for Your Furniture and Cabinets

Wood is an organic substance and each species has its own characteristic color, grain, texture and smell.

The first step in the care of your furniture is to understand the conditions that can cause damage.

The second step is to follow some basic guidelines for care, handling and cleaning.


The primary cause of damage to furniture is careless handling.

Furniture, no matter what size, should always be moved by grasping the sturdiest part and lifting. Do not drag furniture, as this will place stress o the legs, feet or arms.

Furniture surfaces must always be protected from alcohol and water (drink coasters, for instance).

If water or alcohol does come in contact with the finish, it should be removed immediately. Our topcoat is water-resistant and will withstand more than many lesser expensive, lower quality finishes. However, long exposure of water and extreme heat can cause damage.


All wood finishes are subject to change when exposed to light.

Depending on the type of finish and wood, this can range from darkening to fading. If objects are left in the same position on a piece of furniture for a long period of time, uneven fading will occur. Where possible, direct sunlight should be avoided as the heat generated may cause damage by softening or cracking the finish.

Temperature and Humidity

The wood in your furniture and cabinets continues to exchange moisture with the air, shrinking and expanding in response to changes in relative humidity.

Like your own skin, solid hardwood furniture's natural response to extremely dry air is to lose moisture and shrink a bit. The halves of an extension table may part slightly or a few tiny openings may appear on a solid wood surface.

This will correct itself as the relative humidity rises, and the wood absorbs enough moisture to expand slightly.

On the other hand, if you don't have an air conditioner or dehumidifier, your home's relative humidity may get too high. Parts of your wood furniture may absorb excess moisture from the air and expand.

Once again, this will correct itself as your home's relative humidity decreases. The furniture's quality and sturdiness are not affected by these natural changes.

Wood is a porous environment. This causes movement within the structure of the wood and can produce cracks, veneer lifting and gaps in joints.

Rapid fluctuations in humidity and temperature cause the greatest amount of damage. Furniture can withstand considerable variation in temperature and humidity provided the change occurs at a slow rate.

In an ideal environment, the recommended temperature and humidity levels should be

  Temperature Relative
Winter70-75 degrees35-45 percent
Summer70-75 degrees55-65 percent

Basic Guidelines for Care, Handling and Cleaning

Contrary to common belief, you do not have to "feed" the wood. The following information will assist you to keep your furniture in prime condition.

  1. Do not use chemical, commercial cleaners or kitchen cleaners.

  2. To clean dining tables, cabinets or other wood surface requiring more than "dusting," use a soft cloth and mild non-alkaline soap and water. Dry immediately.

  3. To dust furniture and cabinets, use a soft cloth that has a small amount of furniture oil applied to it. Dusting restores natural luster and removes everyday abrasive particles, which may cause surface scratching. Do not use silicone-based polishes as continued use over a long period of time may remove the finish.

  4. When dusting, always lift lamps and other objects — don't slide them across the furniture's surface.

  5. If you wish, once or twice a year you may apply a good wood furniture wax containing beeswax and carnauba wax. Apply sparingly and buff with a soft cloth.

  6. Use hot pads under extremely hot dishes when placing them on a table.

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