Refinish Furniture

Cleaning Your Furniture

Furniture Cleaner Strong heavy duty Furniture Cleaner with a mineral spirits base is designed for serious cleaning applications

Cleaning Furniture and
Antique Restoration

Antique Furniture Restoration always starts with a good cleaning. In many cases a very grungy looking antique will come out looking like show room quality with just a good cleaning and buffing. Clean furniture always looks new.

Use great care with delicate moldings and decorative areas. Always remember, to restore an antique is just exactly that, restoring it to its original beauty, not changing it in any way.

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Also see Furniture Restoration Procedure and Furniture Cleaner

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Cleaning Furniture in General

A good cleaning can work wonders on a piece of old furniture that has been stored in an attic or shed for many, many years. Even many older pieces that are in use can look a lot better with a good cleaning.

When a piece of furniture is waxed or polished there is always a fine layer of dust that is mixed in with the wax or polish and over a period of years the layer will darken and obscure the grain pattern of the wood.

Handy Furniture Cleaning Tools

Some handy tools for cleaning furniture are lots of soft clothes, a toothbrush, toothpicks, a dowel the size of a pencil, sharpened in a pencil sharpener, 0000 steel wool, and a lot of patience.

Murphy's Oil Soap, or other vegetable oil soap are good cleaning products. Go sparingly with water on a furniture finish and never use water on a shellac finish. TSP is a good cleaner too, but you have to be careful not to mix the solution too strong or it can damage the finish.

My choice is a strong heavy duty Furniture Cleaner designed for the job. After you've tested in an out of the way place for compatibility with the finish you don't have to be concerned about too much water or mixing too strong.

Clean With Care

If you use the 0000 steel wool, use it very gently, with just enough pressure to remove stubborn areas of wax and polish. It's better to dissolve the wax and polish and wipe it away, than to try to scrub it. The steel wool can dull the finish, when you get to it, if too much pressure is used. If the finish isn't a high shine the 0000 steel wool may enhance the appearance, but it will be necessary to use it equally over the whole surface. Use the toothbrush, toothpicks and sharpened dowel to get in the nooks and crannies.
Always clean older furniture pieces before you refinish, because lots of times it won't be necessary to refinish at all and with antiques the least done is the best. Many times, when the wax and grime is removed the old finish is still in good shape, or is good enough that it will just need a new application of finish over the old. Remember though, furniture finish, not polyurethane, especially with antiques.

Antique Restoration, Addendum

To restore an antique is to get it back as close to original as possible. Way back when, there was no such thing as polyurethane, so antique restoration can't include coating an antique with plastic and have it be the same as original. - Online Art Supplies
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