Wooden antique furniture consists of intricately designed items with moldings, carvings, railings and decorative patterns that become medium for dirt and grime build-up. Cleaning takes some time using both corrosive and non-corrosive agents which in the process, the overall condition of the antique is affected. Thus, the authenticity of the merchandise may be questioned and so is the monetary value. How does one go about cleaning such precious items?
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A god cleaning technique along with patience and hardwork can work wonders to furniture that has been stored for a long time. Antiques that are restored back as close to its original appearance however is more difficult to maintain. Because of it, observing the right technique in cleaning is essential.
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The safest way to clean wooden furniture is by using the least harmful methods and that is achieved by employing the minimalists’ methods – doing less but achieving more. A vacuum cleaner is definitely one of the minimalists’ tools. Using it, nothing is being done to furniture except by applying a gentle suctioning pressure that removes dirt and grimes without using harmful agents.
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A dust cloth that provides for a light dusting motion is another example that removes dust without creating rough surfaces, unwanted marks and scratches on the surface of the finish. A dampened cloth wiped over the surface picks-up more dirt and immediately following it up with a dry cloth prevents exposure of the furniture to water that may ruin its finish.
Extremes in temperature and humidity will result to an accelerated damage to the finish and eventually to the wood itself. Water softens the finish and the wood while heat cracks it thus a constant softening alternated with exposure to heat is a good medium for the merchandise to decay. The use of mats and glass coasters serve as protection from getting water directly into the surface of tables and other furniture.
Commercial cleaning agents such as soap, oil, cleaners, cleaning materials such as wool are available in the market but should be used with great caution as such agents can do more harm than good. Be sure to read labels and manuals with regards to cleaning instructions as inappropriately applying them with equally inappropriate amount or ratio will defeat their purpose.
The aim of cleaning and restoration process is to bring furniture back to its almost original condition and not in any way changing it. By doing so, an antique does not retain its originality but rather an entirely new piece of furniture is brought out of antique parts and that definitely destroys the idea why antiques are being collected, restored and displayed.