Top ten tips to clean and maintain your woodwork

Wood is eternally beautiful and comforting, bringing a sense of connection with nature, a plethora of health benefits and a subtle elegance and charm to ones’ decor.

Although wood is generally a durable material, like all other things it can lose its sheen and splendour if not cared for. Regular cleaning and routine maintenance can really go a long way in keeping your woodwork looking fresh and new and will also prevent problems from occurring for a long time to come.

So here are some easy, handy tips that can help you clean and maintain your woodwork:

1. Cleaning your woodwork is important. Usually people avoid using water to clean wooden surfaces, but using a combination of warm water and mild soap can be really helpful. Just ensure that you use it sparingly and don’t soak the wood in it. Also, dry the surface afterwards with a soft, dry cloth.

2. While cleaning tricky corners or other hard to get areas, use a soft toothbrush to scrape off the dirt and then wipe with a soft cloth. The cloth should come off looking clean and dry.

3. Every four to six months, polish your wood using a soft wax paste. Apply the wax on the wood evenly as directed and let it stand for 30 minutes. Then buff it with a soft shoe polish brush or a soft cloth. Let it stand for 60-90 minutes and again buff it rigorously. The wood will achieve a new shine that will last for months.

4. Tropical hot sun can seriously damage and fade your wood, leading to loss of finish and even cracking in some cases. Sun depletes the moisture content in wood, which can lead it to crack. Always keep your indoor furniture out of direct sunlight. Where this is unavoidable it is wise to ensure the correct product is used to coat the wood at the outset – that is, a penetrating UV resistant oil or water based coating, followed by a non-brittle sealer coat.

5. In colder regions dry heat emanating from room heaters can also create a loss of moisture for your wood and cause it to crack. It is important that you keep wooden furniture away from direct vent of the heater. Install a humidifier if possible.

6. Polishing metal hardware on wood directly is not a good idea as it can damage the look of the wood. Ideally take it off the furniture, ensuring you remember which piece goes back where and polish it separately. After polish you can put it back on the wood.

7. With several products promising to ‘nourish’ your wood, flooding the market, you may be tempted to use some on your wood. Sadly, these products add little or no value to your furniture. Once your wood is polished, it develops a protective layer that cannot be penetrated by other polish or oil based products, therefore, after a light sanding try and recoat with the same product used initially.

8. If your coffee table has developed a white hazy ring due to a hot coffee mug or pizza box, there’s an easy solution to set it right. Take a non-gel toothpaste mixed with baking soda or cooking oil mixed with non-grainy ashes and gently rub it on the stain. You can rub it in a small spot with your finger or use a soft cloth on larger areas.

Another excellent alternative is to place a soft cloth or towel over the spot and iron it carefully for 10 -20 seconds at a time with the iron at a medium setting. You can turn the iron up a bit if needed. But remember – always keep the iron moving and check your progress frequently. We suggest you to try this on a non-visible area first.

9. Your wooden doors and windows need to be cleaned regularly to wipe out dust collected in them. Use a damp cloth and give them a thorough wipe, ensuring you don’t miss the corners and hinges. Follow it up with a soft dry cloth.

10. In the unlikely event that you notice an infestation or similar serious problem, reach out to an expert immediately.

With regular maintenance and care, your woodwork will not only last for decades but also look beautiful and lustrous.

FII India, funded by the government of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada represents Canadian wood in India for all its five species viz. Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Yellow Cedar, Western Red Cedar and Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF). FII works closely with architects, manufacturers, importers and real estate developers to provide technical and procurement assistance for their requirements free of any cost

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