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Caring for Your Wood Furniture

With just a little care, genuine hardwood furniture will last a lifetime—several lifetimes, in fact. Taking good care of your solid wood furniture ensures that it will beautiful and useful for years to come.
 
Heat, Humidity and Hardwoods
 
Half the weight of freshly sawn wood is water. Furniture is crafted from wood that is carefully dried, retaining just enough moisture for the furniture to properly acclimate to the relative humidity in your home. The wood in furniture continues to exchange moisture with the air, shrinking and expanding in response to changes in heat and humidity. Here are some ways to ensure your solid hardwood furniture's longevity:
 
--Avoid drastic humidity changes. Use a humidifier in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer to keep the relative humidity at 25 to 35 percent.
--Avoid placing furniture directly in front of radiators, heat runs or fireplaces.
--Don't expose hardwood furniture to continuous direct sunlight.
--Store table leaves as close as possible to the table, so that the table leaves are adjusting to the same relative humidity as the table. Be sure to not store them in a damp basement or garage.
 
Keep Your Furniture Clean
 
It's surprisingly simple to protect and enhance hardwood's natural beauty. All that's needed is some tender loving care. Here are a few tips from the experts:
 
--Dust often to remove everyday abrasive particles from wood surfaces. Before dusting, lightly moisten a soft cloth (old T-shirt, baby diaper or cheesecloth that's been laundered) with a few drops of water or a dusting aid or polish. A dry cloth can leave hairline scratches on the finish. The trick is to moisten the cloth just enough to make dust adhere to it. The cloth should not be so damp that it wets the wood. Dust by following the grain pattern of the wood. When dusting, always lift lamps and other objects; don't slide them across the furniture's surface.
--Wood finishes benefit from an occasional waxing or polishing. Polish approximately once a month.  A paste wax can be applied every six to twelve months. Remove old wax first with a mild non-alkaline soap and water solution.
 
Everyday Use
 
Furniture is made to be used and enjoyed and accidents happen, especially when there are small children at home. Take these steps to keep damage from everyday life to a minimum:
 
--Use pads, cloth or coasters to prevent spills, stains and damage.
--Protect your finish by using felt under all accessories.
--Blot all spills immediately.
--Keep solvents, alcohol, nail polish and polish removers away from your furniture surfaces.
--Always lift furniture to move it; don't drag it.
--Open and close doors, drawers and lids gently.
--Avoid placing plastic or rubber objects on the wood finish, as their ingredients react with those of the finish.
--Use a protective pad when writing with a ballpoint pen.
--Lift and place objects, do not drag them across the furniture surface.

Source: http://www.dutchcrafters.com/CaringWoodFurniture.aspx
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Topics: Furniture