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How do you take care of your wood furniture?

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
Now that we are moved into a real house with real furniture, I'm realizing a few things - there is a LOT of dust! So I'm always polishing our wood furniture (dining table, cabinet, side tables which are all rich mahogonhy). However I'm always noticing streaks after it's dried! What am I doing wrong? I use a furniture polish for wood (pledge,etc) and a soft cloth.
 

Hudson_Hawk

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
10,541
I usually just dust with a microfiber cloth and pledge (I really like the pledge multi-surface) and then spot clean where/when needed. I don't have a ton of really nice furniture though. I'm sure someone will chime in and say pledge isn't good on good wood furniture...
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
All you need to clean dust off your wood furniture is a damp cloth. Using all these polishes (Pledge etc) only attracts the dust more.

Also, my dad would have a heart attack if you told him you use these spray cleaners on your furniture (he was a furniture maker) and he says oils and waxes are for wood floors. For bare wood - linseed oil and if you have antique furniture get it shellaced again if the finish is wearing off. Most modern day furniture is polyurethaned and you are just cleaning the finish not the wood.

Oh and don't use a dry cloth or swiffer cloth because dry dusting can scratch furniture.
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
Hudson_Hawk|1292854420|2801656 said:
I usually just dust with a microfiber cloth and pledge (I really like the pledge multi-surface) and then spot clean where/when needed. I don't have a ton of really nice furniture though. I'm sure someone will chime in and say pledge isn't good on good wood furniture...
Ok I am chiming in Pledge is not good for wood furniture. DAMP CLOTH ONLY!!!
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
6,298
Soocool, so linseed oil is only good for untreated/stained wood? Is a damp cloth the only thing you should use on stained wood? I only ask because I like for my furniture to have a bit of shine. Granted, in never lasts because we use all the furniture in our house, bu I still like it...
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
thanks so cool. A damp cloth is ok for wood? The water won't damage it?

And any tips on how to even out the streaks? I had no idea Pledge/furniture polish was not a good move. EEk.
 

elrohwen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
5,392
Usually if you buff with a soft cloth it will get out the Pledge streaks - you just need to smooth it out. At least this works for me. However, after I've used the furniture for a few days the Pledge starts to wear off and leaves bare areas next to the shiny areas. This is my main beef with Pledge and why I don't use it on most surfaces - I don't like that spotty look.

I do Pledge my coffee table and dining room table (they're not nice or expensive though), but just use a damp cloth for everything else. A little dampness will dry in seconds and won't hurt the wood - you don't want it so wet that you're leaving drops of water or anything.
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
1,958
soocool|1292854994|2801661 said:
Hudson_Hawk|1292854420|2801656 said:
I usually just dust with a microfiber cloth and pledge (I really like the pledge multi-surface) and then spot clean where/when needed. I don't have a ton of really nice furniture though. I'm sure someone will chime in and say pledge isn't good on good wood furniture...
Ok I am chiming in Pledge is not good for wood furniture. DAMP CLOTH ONLY!!!
She's right, you know! Pledge is the work of the devil and will ruin furniture eventually. It contains silicone, which builds up and gives a dull haze over time. I wish I'd known that years ago. ;(
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
17,193
Jennifer W|1292872565|2801911 said:
soocool|1292854994|2801661 said:
Hudson_Hawk|1292854420|2801656 said:
I usually just dust with a microfiber cloth and pledge (I really like the pledge multi-surface) and then spot clean where/when needed. I don't have a ton of really nice furniture though. I'm sure someone will chime in and say pledge isn't good on good wood furniture...
Ok I am chiming in Pledge is not good for wood furniture. DAMP CLOTH ONLY!!!
She's right, you know! Pledge is the work of the devil and will ruin furniture eventually. It contains silicone, which builds up and gives a dull haze over time. I wish I'd known that years ago. ;(
And here I was thinking I'm cheap for not buying it and only using a damp cloth!!!
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
1,958
Not as cheap as I am. I think I've had the same dusting rag since I left home at 16. I've moved house with it more times than I can count. I've rescued it from the trash more than once when DH has tried to be reckless and introduce a new cloth. It's really just a collection of small holes held together with threads now. In my defence, it's beautifully soft. :bigsmile:
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
janinegirly|1292860653|2801747 said:
thanks so cool. A damp cloth is ok for wood? The water won't damage it?

And any tips on how to even out the streaks? I had no idea Pledge/furniture polish was not a good move. EEk.
As long as the cloth is damp and not sopping wet it is fine. You can then wipe with a clean dry cloth immediately aftewards. If you have streaks it is probably because there is too much polish on the surface. What is the finish on your furniture? If it is an oil finish it needs to be oiled. The oil seals the wood. If lacquered then a good waxing (quality furniture wax) once a year should do it, but if you have been using the wrong products then you need to clean the furniture before you use the wax.

Shellac finishes: you can use furniture polish or wax to protect the finish and give you the level of gloss you want. You also want to keep water away from the surfaces and away from high humidity as it makes the finish sticky.

Lacquer finishes: hard and glossy finish. If you want to clean smudges from these surfaces you need to find a cleaner specifically for these surfaces. I would still use a damp cloth to dust but would follow afterwards with a clean dry cloth to remove any moisture leftover.Also, you need to use a liquid wax to maintain the gloss.

Polyurethane ( a type of synthetic varnish): this type of finish is most resistant to water spills, etc. I wouldn't use polish or wax on these surfaces because they will just build up. If you need to remove the buildup or the smudges you can use mineral spirits.

Painted finishes (thought I'd just toss this in)- only need to wipe down with a damp cloth. Don't use any oild on this and if you want to use a furniture cream make sure it is a white cream so as not to discolor the surfaces (be careful with hand rubbing because you can discolor the furniture).

There are other finishes too, inclusing water based varnishes

A trick to know what kind of finish your furniture has:

Test for oil finish: rub a few drops of boiled lindseed oil. If the wood absorbs it, it has an oil finish. If it beads the furniture has a hard finish.

Lacquer finishes : rubbing acetone for a less than a minute will dissolve the lacquer. rub longer and it will become sticky
Polyurethane finishes sheds the acetone if you rub for less than a minute. Rub longer and it will begin to make the polyurethane sticky like the lacquered surface.
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
NewEnglandLady|1292859238|2801721 said:
Soocool, so linseed oil is only good for untreated/stained wood? Is a damp cloth the only thing you should use on stained wood? I only ask because I like for my furniture to have a bit of shine. Granted, in never lasts because we use all the furniture in our house, bu I still like it...
Oil stain wood I assume? And it is not sealed? Not even a clear coat of shellac or varnish or oil? Clean it and seal it with oil (my dad is of the old school of boiled linseed oil - I like Tung oil or the Danish oils). If you don't seal the wood after you stain it, the wood is not protected from the environment, like heat and humidity.
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
Jennifer W|1292874834|2801947 said:
Not as cheap as I am. I think I've had the same dusting rag since I left home at 16. I've moved house with it more times than I can count. I've rescued it from the trash more than once when DH has tried to be reckless and introduce a new cloth. It's really just a collection of small holes held together with threads now. In my defence, it's beautifully soft. :bigsmile:
I also don't use fabric softener when I wash my cleaning rags and I too have had them for ages. My rags are DD's old receiving blankets.
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
thanks so much so cool, I am clueeeee-less on this stuff. I can't believe Pledge is so awful!

I'm sorry if this is repetitive, but now I'm nervous about these streaks....should I just rub with a cloth--how do I even it out or repair what I've done. I see the streaks when there is alot of sunlight - almost like I missed some spots.

The furniture I've been polishing are the dining room table (shiny mahogony, but not high shine). The cabinet matches, but haven't noticed streaks here-probably because it does not have a large smooth surface like the table. I also polished the kitche island cabinets (cherry) which has no sheen. Lastly I used the Pledge on a small coffee table which is cheap - this has shown the most streaks of all. I guess I'll have to try your tests or ask DH what the finishes might be.

I wish I'd asked this a long time ago! :)
 

elrohwen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
5,392
janinegirly|1292878833|2802004 said:
thanks so much so cool, I am clueeeee-less on this stuff. I can't believe Pledge is so awful!

I'm sorry if this is repetitive, but now I'm nervous about these streaks....should I just rub with a cloth--how do I even it out or repair what I've done. I see the streaks when there is alot of sunlight - almost like I missed some spots.

The furniture I've been polishing are the dining room table (shiny mahogony, but not high shine). The cabinet matches, but haven't noticed streaks here-probably because it does not have a large smooth surface like the table. I also polished the kitche island cabinets (cherry) which has no sheen. Lastly I used the Pledge on a small coffee table which is cheap - this has shown the most streaks of all. I guess I'll have to try your tests or ask DH what the finishes might be.

I wish I'd asked this a long time ago! :)
If it looks like you've missed some spots, it sounds like the pledge is just wearing off with use. This happens all the time and is the reason I don't like Pledge. All you need to do is clean the surface the way Socool suggested and you won't have streaks anymore. Don't worry - they're not permanent!
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
Elrohwen|1292879424|2802012 said:
janinegirly|1292878833|2802004 said:
thanks so much so cool, I am clueeeee-less on this stuff. I can't believe Pledge is so awful!

I'm sorry if this is repetitive, but now I'm nervous about these streaks....should I just rub with a cloth--how do I even it out or repair what I've done. I see the streaks when there is alot of sunlight - almost like I missed some spots.

The furniture I've been polishing are the dining room table (shiny mahogony, but not high shine). The cabinet matches, but haven't noticed streaks here-probably because it does not have a large smooth surface like the table. I also polished the kitche island cabinets (cherry) which has no sheen. Lastly I used the Pledge on a small coffee table which is cheap - this has shown the most streaks of all. I guess I'll have to try your tests or ask DH what the finishes might be.

I wish I'd asked this a long time ago! :)
If it looks like you've missed some spots, it sounds like the pledge is just wearing off with use. This happens all the time and is the reason I don't like Pledge. All you need to do is clean the surface the way Socool suggested and you won't have streaks anymore. Don't worry - they're not permanent!
Usually these spots are in the finish and not in the wood. A neighbor once asked my dad what she could do about her dining room table that had white (water spots) all over it, plus some scorches. He told her that the table needed to be stripped and refinished and then told her to invest in a good table pad ans some coasters. She neglected to deal with the water spots when they first happned so they eventaully ate through the finish and attacked the wood. She got rid of the table and bought a new one and she still hasn't purchsed a table pad.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
NO PLEDGE!!!

I use either just a damp cloth or every now and then the National Trust's furniture polish and a lot of elbow grease. I love the smell of the stuff.

My mother has a lot of antique wooden furniture including some pieces from the 17th Century and she uses the same as me.
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
packrat|1292883833|2802093 said:
What about Murphy's Oil Soap?
I have never used Murphy's Oil Soap. Your are only cleaning the finish on the wood (BTW if you do use Murphy's don't use it on unfinished wood) and a damp cloth will clean it quite nicely.
 

packrat

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
10,615
Thanks Soocool! Hmm..be kinda nice to have a little extra room under the sink w/no dusting stuff there! K, now help me get rid of some more cleaners so I don't have so much crap under there. haha
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
packrat|1292891539|2802228 said:
Thanks Soocool! Hmm..be kinda nice to have a little extra room under the sink w/no dusting stuff there! K, now help me get rid of some more cleaners so I don't have so much crap under there. haha
My dad is big on vinegar (mixed with water) and has used that to clean spots on furniture/wood (oil, crayon marks, shoe scuffs). It has gotten so that I use a lot of vinegar to clean around the house and don't really use any other cleaners.
 

josephrohdes221

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
5
Another Guardsman user here. We use that on modern (as in newer) wooden furniture that have the protective finishes. On our antique furniture, we use an orange oil-paste wax type cleaner (don't recall the name, and Bed Bath and Beyond stopped carrying it). We often see it at antique stores and will have to pick some up the next time we see it.
One thing is that it is important not mix the different types of cleaners because there can be some type of reaction that is a booger to get up. People on the furniture forum or the woodworking forum have more detailed info on that.
Joseph Rohdes
 

lambskin

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
2,196
Anti spray furniture polisher here. It promotes waxy silicone build up. For decades my family would polish twice a year with Weimann Furniture Cream. It had no wax but conditioned the wood. It required application with a wet rag dipped in the cream and then buffed with a clean dry rag. Otherwise the wood was just dusted with a soft barley damp rag. Tried to find Weimanns for the last 6 months at various stores and to no avail. It was smaller and pricier than the other spray polishes so it might have been discontinued. (I have not checked the internet.) Plus, I think that good quality real wood furniture is getting harder to find and the poyurethane coats make a penetrating wood cream ineffective. I also tried a pure wax product but I did not like the result. I had to deeply clean a tobacco stained piece of furniture and Kleen was recommended. It seemed to get some gunk off but application was a pain. I don't really know if Murphy's Oil Soap would have been better.
 

in-the-air

Rough_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 12, 2015
Messages
53
Yes for wood furniture definitely stay away from using furniture polish, use a damp cloth not a dry one.
 
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