It’s no secret that I love interior decor. Although being an interior decorator is not something I label myself of being, but I do offer suggestions and am always on the hunt. But one question I get asked is “why do I like antiques?” Even when my sons wanted my help, their only request was “no antiques”. Antiques are not something I set out to use, but it just happened that they are more appealing to me for my home furnishings. I believe the possibilities are endless and allows you to be a bit more creative. Having antiques restored gives me a sense of accomplishment, especially if they’ve been badly neglected.
Antiques can be as unique as you choose them to be and not to mention, you’re saving furniture from the landfills. A newly restored antique piece regains its value and will only increase in value as the years go by.
Also, the excitement of having a one of a kind piece is a rewarding experience.
It’s obvious I have a passion to keep the pieces beautiful and hope they last another 100 years. When Alex Farley contacted me about working with antique pieces, it was pleasure to have him as a guest writer to talk about caring for our delicate pieces. Alex is an owner of a small cleaning company based in London, UK and enjoys writing articles related to cleaning, maintaining, and the treatment of your delicate items. Here are the tips Alex shared and I hope you find them helpful.
How to easy clean vintage furniture
Cleaning and maintaining vintage furniture is a delicate task, and most definitely we should not underestimate or rush it. Your number one priority is to be careful not to damage the furniture during the process, and make sure that is properly and regularly maintained by dusting and polishing afterwards.
Cleaning antique furniture
The first step is to use light dish soap, since it is least harmful option, this is why we must not use strong detergents or chemicals. If the light dish soap does not wash the grime away, you should consider using slightly stronger dish soap. Use Murphy’s oil or something similar, oil-based products can be dangerous for old furniture, so use only a small amount of the dish soap. Some experts recommend furniture paste wax, but you can use whatever you have at store.
Next, apply small amount of your preferred cleaner, on a soft towel or rag, and gently start rubbing the stained area. Try not to scrub the stained area, because that might damage the polish of the vintage furniture. The direction of motion should be towards the grain of the wood.
Use a toothbrush for the hard to reach corners of the furniture, using the same dish soap, and again following the direction of the grain.
Wipe the furniture with a dry towel, until the furniture is relatively dry, and leave it to air dry before continuing with the deep cleaning process.
After the furniture is dry, it is ready to be polished. Simply spray a layer of polish, and try to spread it evenly with a dry towel. This way the furniture will have a nicer, finished look.
Maintaining Vintage Furniture
The antique furniture should be regularly dusted, to prevent the accumulation of grime and other debris.
Do not leave the furniture, exposed to direct sunlight, for example next to a window or even outside. The UV light is very dangerous to the antique furniture.
Depending on the humidity of the air, furniture can shrink and crack. For example, in order to prevent that from happening in a dry environment, put a humidifier in the room, to control the level of humidity, and decrease the chance of happening.
In case of a pest infestation, move the furniture somewhere else immediately. Bugs, mice, and rats can poke holes in the wood by chewing it off. Before moving the furniture, check for any damaged parts or loose doors, you do not want to accidentally worsen its condition.
Avoiding accidents when cleaning and maintaining
If you are in possession of an antique furniture, and have the intention to restore or modify it, contact an antique dealer, or hire a specialist before undertaking any actions.
Before you start cleaning, after choosing a cleaner, test it on a small area, which is difficult to spot. For example underneath the seat of a chair or the back of a wardrobe. Wait for a few hours, and if the wood is not damaged or discolored, you may continue to the cleaning process.
Do not use oil-based products, such as Murphy’s oil, in such case use wax paste, which not only is going to clean the surface, but also to protect it.
If you happen to notice a chipping of paint or discoloration on your vintage furniture. Please restrain yourself from this urge and temptation to remove it, this will only decrease the value of the furniture, for most collectors, since they want the item to be as close to its original condition as possible.
After all, cleaning and refurbishing vintage furniture may be a slow and delicate process, but in the end, if you manage to successfully restore to its former glory, it is surely a rewarding and entertaining task.
Hope you found his tips helpful, and next time you’re out there, keep an eye out for a diamond in the rough to make it your own. As always.. Happy hunting while you thrift your house into a home!