Interior Decorating Information

7 Tips to Care for Your Antique Furniture

During your spring cleaning, don't forget to think about your antiques. In this month's column, we'll give you seven tips to help you care for your antique furniture.

1. Use paste wax

Every couple of months, wax with a good quality paste wax that can be found in any hardware store. If you wax too much, it can dull the finish and attract dust. To remove a waxy build up, apply varesol with a clean cotton cloth. Proper waxing will bring up the color and grain of the wood and protect it. Rub a small amount on a soft cloth and apply it in circular motions. Let it dry then buff with a clean cloth.

2. Don't use aerosol sprays

Avoid aerosol spray polishes because they can contain silicone oil and other agents that can be harmful to your furniture. For daily cleaning, use a clean cloth or a clean duster. For those who like to use something more, I recommend Orange Oil because it works well to clean and polish wood finishes. I like it because it doesn't leave a wax build up and doesn't contain linseed or silicone oil.

3. Use coasters

A great deal of surface damage can be prevented if you always remember to use coasters, mats and trivets and avoid placing hot and/or wet items directly on furniture.

4. Avoid scratching furniture

Never slide anything (vase, plate, serving dish etc) across a surface because it will scratch. A very light scratch can be treated with Restore-AFinish, a great multi-purpose product. Deep scratches require the skill of professional restorers.

5. Clean liquid spills

Spilled water should be thoroughly wiped up immediately. Alcohol and solvents (nail polish, nail polish remover, perfumes) should be dabbed, not wiped because they can act like a furniture stripper and damage the finish. White rings left from either a hot drink or a wet glass should be attended to right away. A little Brasso applied with a clean cloth may do the trick. Or, I have found that Restor-A-Finish works well to remove white rings. Always test on a small area first. Remove candle wax - Wait for the wax to cool then gently loosen using a fingernail to remove.

6. Draw the drapes

Just as sun damage to the skin is cumulative and permanent, its effects on wood are just as destructive. Diffused sunlight over a long period of time can be as detrimental as direct sunlight over a short period of time. Sunlight can turn a clear finish yellow.The only good news about sun damage is that it's easy to avoid. Draw the drapes, pull the blinds or have an UV-filtering film applied to your windows.

7. Don't ignore relative humidity

Central heating is the worst thing to happen to antiques. A warm inside and cold outside makes life comfortable while wreaking havoc on antiques. It's the fluctuations in relative humidity that central heating creates which cause the problem. Wood responds to relative humidity by expanding and contracting as it tries to maintain a balance with its environment. It's not the rapid changes during the course of a day that cause the most damage. It's the long-term seasonal fluctuations, which cause the serious damage.

During the dry winter months when it is cold outside and warm inside, wood tends to shrink. During hot damp summers when it is warm outside and cooler inside, wood tends to expand. Long-term exposure to these conditions leads to cracking, warping and splitting.

To guard against the fluctuations in relative humidity in your home, use a humidifier during the cold winter and a dehumidifier in the damp summer. Think twice before putting a good piece of furniture in a basement, attic, near heating vents or near fireplaces. Keep fresh air circulating. Maintain a constant room temperature and turn it low at night.

Martin Swinton owns Take-A-Boo Emporium located in Toronto, Canada. He does furniture restoration; caning and rushing repairs; appraisals and has teachescourses on antiques. Martin can be reached at

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at

International Falls Journal

Looking Back: Mrs. Lee Grim stages interior decorating clinic at library
International Falls Journal
Mrs. Lee Grim, home economist and interior designer, arranges reproduction of cloth from the Williamsburg, W. Va., collection sold by Schumacher Fabrics for a display in the Falls Public Library during the Interior Decorating Clinic. The public may ...

DVIDS (press release)

For the love of planes
DVIDS (press release)
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Her love for aircraft started at a young age, beginning with the love her father felt, and shared, toward the planes he saw in the military. From there her infatuation bloomed as she attended air shows she saw with her ...


Ten pictures that show off DJ Zinhle's interior decorating skills
It's been nearly four months since DJ Zinhle finished building her new home, and since it's been done, she's been giving us sneak peaks of how she's been decorating it herself. And by the looks of things, DJ Zinhle should consider venturing into ...


Can The Way You Decorate Your Room Improve Your Sleep?
Of course, if you live on a highly polluted main road in London, this might not apply to you. If you have a choice over your floor covering (sorry renters), then Christine recommends not going for full carpet. "I really emphasise being toxic- and fume ...

Youngstown Vindicator

Land of attractions, cities of design
Youngstown Vindicator
There are 80 museums here, enough to keep you busy for your entire stay. One appealing feature of Helsinki's location is that there are ferry connections to Estonia, Sweden, and St. Petersburg, Russia. Visitors often plan a one- or two-day excursion ...


WorkOne job fair concentrates on manufacturing sector
While her specialty is interior decorating, she was looking to find the right fit Thursday. "I have worked in manufacturing a lot," she said. "I would like to get into a job where I can use my skills." There were 350 manufacturing openings available ...


Home Improvement 3 Plus You Themed Week - ...
From home inspections to interior decorating tips, this week 3 Plus You will feature the advice and expertise of professionals in the area who can help you with many of your home improvement needs.

and more »

Well, Here's a Somewhat Baffling Apartment Therapy Piece About a Large Family That Lives in a Chic Little School Bus
Slate Magazine
Most interior-decorating coverage takes as its premise the notion that the reader would enjoy living in the featured home, or at least enjoy daydreaming about it. There's an altogether different kind of pleasure that comes from paging or clicking ...

The Oakland Press

There are far more major scandals brewing. So why is a $31000 dining set in the news?
The Oakland Press
In the past 24 hours, the public has learned a surprising amount about the interior decorating operations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, led by Secretary Ben Carson. One would think that with the breaking news about Jared Kushner's ...
Ben Carson of HUD on His Vexing Reign: Brain Surgery Was Easier Than ThisNew York Times
Ben Carson's HUD Spends $31000 on Dining Set for His OfficeNew York Times
Benjamin (Ben) Solomon Carson | TheHillThe Hill
The Guardian -CNN
all 104 news articles »

Pattie R. Hummel
She loved music, art, bookmaking, and interior decorating. Her talent amazed all who knew her. Pattie Hummel was a successful businesswoman. In addition to her successful photography business that spanned 30 years, Pattie also owned and managed a ...

Google News

home | site map | Nautical Decor
© 2006