How to Care for Handmade Furniture

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A high-quality piece of custom, handmade furniture is a lovely investment for your home. You can even pass the pieces down as heirlooms through your family, and you may have inherited a piece or two of your own. Much of the value of handmade furniture is found in its quality and longevity. To ensure the pieces you've invested in live on for years, you need to take proper care of them. These helpful tips will teach you about both short-term and long-term care for your handcrafted furniture.

Handmade Furniture Care:

  1. Clean it up: For most high-quality furniture, less is more. The majority of the time, dusting is all the cleaning your furniture will need. For surfaces with tile work, mosaics, or engraving, a damp cloth will remove dust and debris from detail work. Every few months, use a gentle dish soap and warm water to clean the surface. Whether dusting or washing, make sure you use a soft cloth that won't scratch the finish.

  2. Keep it protected: The best way to prolong the life of your handmade furniture is to properly protect it. Do not place it in an area where it receives direct sunlight anytime during the day. Sunlight can fade and crack wood and many other materials. Similarly, do not place it too near a heat register; in dry climates, dry air can similarly crack the wood. During dry months, use a humidifier in the room to prevent your furniture from becoming too dried out. Polish wood furniture once a year with a beeswax-based wood polish to protect the finish.

  3. Do occasional maintenance: Even the most carefully protected furniture is subject to wear and tear, and your pieces likely need a little maintenance from time to time. Remove light spots that appear in the finish of wood furniture by gently rubbing them with a light abrasive, such as non-gel toothpaste mixed with baking soda, or vegetable oil and ashes. This will lift the spot out. Buff and polish over any scratches that appear to prevent them from deepening and cracking the underlying material.

  4. Don't forget about the hardware: If any hardware needs to be polished, remove it from the furniture to do so, and then carefully replace it. It's a good idea to not remove all the hardware at once, but rather remove and replace each piece as you work; pieces that appear identical may not be the exactly the same, and it's best not to find that out when you've already replaced several of them.

  5. Move it carefully: When you need to move your handmade furniture, whether it's across the room or to a new home, make sure to be gentle with it. If you feel any resistance when you try to move it by yourself, stop and get a helper or two; the resistance might be coming from a spot where you're putting pressure on the furniture in a way that could damage it. Wrap the furniture in moving blankets if you need to take it any farther than from one side of a room to another, and remove any protruding parts that can be taken off.

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