Spring Time Furniture Care

Now that spring is here, it is a good time to take care of your furniture. A cleaning and waxing may be a good idea. Some people like to wax there furniture and some would like to lemon oil there furniture. Which one should you do? Well lets see what each product can do you. One this is you do one or the other, never mix them. If you want to use lemon oil, Old English is good oil to use. One myth about lemon oil is that it penetrate through the finish and feed the wood. That is not true, it does not penetrate through the finish, unless your finish is cracked or “alligatored” then it will seep into the wood through the finish and you do not want to do that. Oil that seeps into the wood through the finish will make the wood turn dark and later make make problems if your plan to have it refinished. Using lemon oil is like putting hand cream on your hands. It will just keep the finish from drying out. Most of the oil that you put on will dry off when you wipe it dry and give the finish a little life and sheen. you wont need to lemon oil more than once or twice a year. Waxing your furniture is another option. There are all kinds of wax on the market and some get expensive. I like to use a basic wax because it contains just wax. You don’t need a wax that has a cleaner mixed in with it or has a nice smell added. Johnson’s Paste wax is a good basic wax. It wipes on and buff’s off very easy and will give a nice glow and add’s a little moisture barrier. You can put wax on any kind of finish, even the finish that is old and cracked. The wax will settle on the top and wont penetrate into the wood like the oil would. You also would not need to wax more than once or twice a year or even longer. Use it when you when the finish looks like it needs it. Which ever product that you use, wax or lemon oil, the sheen or glow that you get on the finish will depend on the condition of the finish. A finish with a good body and not cracked will give you a better sheen than a finish with a lower luster, worn out or cracked. The other thing to keep in mind is the finish on your furniture should be cleaned and free of any dirt, silicons or wax before you add your new application of wax or oil. These build-up’s of dirt, wax or silicons (found in spray Pledge or similar products) will result in a patchy, un-even sheen. So you should clean the finish first. How do we clean the finish on your furniture? If you have a wax build-up, if your finish feels tacky, if you can take your finger, press it on the furniture and make a circular motion and you can see where you were rubbing your finger, you have a wax or silicon build-up. For a heavy wax build-up, you can use Naphtha, a mild solvent you can get in a paint or hardware store. Apply it to a cotton rag and wipe off the wax, turning the rag over and wiping until it is clean and you don’t see traces when you wipe your finger on it in a circular motion. If there is no build-up of wax and the finish is dirty, you can clean it with aerosol glass cleaner that comes in a can. Just spray it on and wipe it off with a cotton rag. This will remove dirt, dust, silicons and low volume of wax. Now you are ready to wax or lemon oil your furniture. Back in 1977 when I started to work with my Dad full time at Raphael’s Furniture, one of my jobs was to clean and prepare the furniture for our finisher. I had to use Benzine, Alcohol or Naphtha which I hated to do. I wanted to find a better and safer way so I would not have to handle these chemicals so much so I decided to try the aerosol glass cleaner and right away I found that it not only did a better job but dried quicker and did not harm the finish, even an old dried finish. When I started to work on The Flea Market Flip Show, Lara Spencer was asking me one day for a bunch of furniture tip’s I could give her that she could use in her book she was working on, “I Break For Yard Sales”. I told her about the glass cleaner and she thought it was a very good tip. When I went to the set of the Flea Market Flip Work Shop, I was happy to see glass cleaner included on the shelves. I hope that this tip was seen across the country and that people would choose that product before using other stronger chemicals.