- Be proactive: Dust frequently with a clean, dry cloth.
- Be speedy: Clean up spills immediately using a blotting action, not a wiping action.
- Be sensitive to silicone: Avoid using polishes containing a large amount of silicone. Silicone-based polishes can seep through the finish into the wood, which may cause permanent damage over time.
- Avoid placing furniture in direct sunlight. It may cause the finish to fade and crack.
- Arrange furniture away from radiators and heating and cooling vents.
- Avoid extreme changes in humidity. This can cause warping.
- Do not place plastic or rubber objects on the wood. They can soften the finish.
- Protect the surface using trivets or table pads, particularly when placing heated surfaces on the wood.
- Prevent water rings by always making coasters easily accessible.
- Once or twice a year, have your furniture deluxed (buffed and polished) by a professional.
- Polish your furniture once a week with a quality polish.
- Rejuvenate the finish by cleaning with a mild soap – like one that you would use to wash your hands – that has been diluted. Do not use any household cleaner containing ammonia on your wood furniture.
It's inevitable that an accident of some kind will occur, with a visible effect on your wood furniture. Here are some quick fixes to help undo the damage; or if that's not possible, to help disguise it, at least.
Let water spots dry out completely. Then, put a dab of mayonnaise (not sandwich spread) on a soft cloth and rub it on the water mark. In most cases, the spot will disappear. If cups or glasses leave a colored ring on the table, rough the area slightly with an abrasive pad or paper, and rub with cigarette ashes mixed with cooking oil.
There are specific scratch cover products that are effective in disguising minor scratches. Just apply the product to a clean cloth and rub lightly over the scratch. Shoe polish and felt tip pens also work wonders in hiding small scratches on furniture. And, you can fill empty shoe polish applicator bottles with stain and use them for touching up your furniture.
If wax does drip onto a table, here's what you can do:
- Wait until the wax cools and hardens before trying to remove it.
- Apply an ice cube directly to the wax and give it time to make the wax hard and brittle. Take a plastic spatula and gently scrape off the cold wax.
- Polish the table with a clean cloth and a good cream furniture polish.
- Buff away any remaining residue.