How to Provide the Best Care for Antique Furniture

Cleaning antique furniture

Antique furniture should be treasured. These pieces are unique, charming and built to last. Many antique items of furniture are hundreds of years old and have improved with age. When maintained correctly, these pieces will last for many years to come. So, how do you ensure you are providing the very best care for your antique furniture?

Adjust your setting

Direct sunlight, dryness and heat can all take a toll on antique wooden furniture. You should never place a piece near a radiator as heat can crack the wood. If the furniture is by a window, be sure to close the curtains on particularly sunny days to prevent fading. Antiques will experience unavoidable discolouration over time, but direct sunlight can be damaging.

A relatively dry setting could dry out wooden furniture and cause cracks and deterioration. You should also avoid smoking around antique furniture.

Cleaning Antique Furniture

Antique wood – Frequent dusting is a must with antique wooden furniture. Use a dry, soft cloth to dust the surface gently. Do not use water on the wood as this can cause rotting and discolouration. Vinegar and acidic cleaning products are not recommended, as they can damage the surface. You should aim to polish the wood every six to twelve months with beeswax rather than regular polish.

Antique bronze and ormolu mounts – As with wooden antiques, bronze and ormolu mounts should be dusted frequently and with care. You may wish to use a soft toothbrush for awkward nooks. Polish should never be used on ormolu, as it is a metal.

Antique upholstery – You can gently vacuum antique upholstery, but keep an eye out for loose fabric or threads. Sticky tape may remove hairs and dust. You can polish antique leather surfaces using wax, but it is best to contact an antique restoration professional, such as Abbey Antiques, if the item is damaged or delicate.

Antique marble – Marble tops are common for many antique pieces. These have a protective seal, making them easy to clean. You can clean antique marble surfaces using a soft, dry cloth. If the protective seal has let dirt in, contact an antique restorer.

Glass fittings – Glass shelves, doors and features on antique furniture can be easily cleaned with warm water and soap. Be sure not to get any surrounding metal and wood wet.

For more information on antique furniture restoration and maintenance, contact Abbey Antiques on 01708 741135.