How To Care For Oak Furniture


Caring for oak furniture can seem like a daunting task without proper guidance. However, if you follow the tips in this article, you should have the confidence to clean and maintain your prized oak with no problems. We will cover the frequency, tools and different finishes you may encounter along the way.

How Often Do I Need To Clean My Oak Furniture?

If you are buying the piece, it would be beneficial to give it a thorough cleaning and oiling. Odds are good that it has been sitting in storage or in transport for some time and could use a bit of TLC. This initial attention will more than likely provide an immediate improvement to the appearance of your furniture.

Follow up treatments should be carried out approximately every six months to maintain the beauty of your piece. Certain instances may require the need for more frequent care. High use areas or furnishings like tables or dressers could be treated more often as you feel the need.

Tools You Might Need

Cleaning and oiling your new found treasure is easier than you might think. A few tools of the trade, so to speak, will help make this task easy and satisfying. First, you will need a good supply of clean, soft lint-free rags or fabric. This will make applying the oils or waxes go faster without leaving lint and fibres all over your furniture.

Secondly, you will want to get the highest quality oil or wax that you can afford. Not all products are the same when it comes to quality and longevity. Spending a little more in this area will help ensure that you keep your oak furnishings in the best condition possible.

Tung oil is one of the best oils available for this task. It has long been used to waterproof boats and treats the finest furnishings over 2 millennia. It also has the benefit of conditioning or improving the appearance and texture of the natural wood’s beauty. A few other oils that are similar in qualities are; Teak oil, Danish oil and linseed oil.

Different Finishes

Lacquer finished wood will be more resistant to liquids and heat, however, it is still advised to use mats and clean liquid spills as soon as possible to avoid compromising the finish. This type of finish can be very easy to care for; if particularly dirty simply wipe down with a damp cloth, otherwise dust with a clean dry cloth. If you use a wet cloth, be sure to dry the surfaces completely after cleaning.

If you use spray polish or wax, be sure to check the product directions before applying to your oak wood. Waxed finishes on wood do not offer the same protections as lacquer finishes. Contrary to what you might think, a wax finish doesn’t seal the wood from environmental elements. Smoke or dust can absorb into the wood and eventually become part of the ‘patina’.

Waxed wood will need regular waxing from time to time depending on the piece and its purpose. A frequently used table, for example, will need to be waxed more often than a set of drawers in a guest room.

You need only wax the tops with a good quality clear wax being sure to follow the directions on the specific product. When choosing your wax, be sure to note whether you are getting a coloured wax or clear wax. Coloured waxes will subtly change the colour of your piece over the course of time.

Caring for your oak furnishings can be easier than you imagined with a little guidance. You should have a good idea at this point of what you will need to do. Follow the tips above and you will be well on your way to keeping your family heirloom furniture in great condition for years to come.


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