Black lacquer furniture originated in Asia. The base of the furniture was often made with wood, bamboo or even paper. Liquid lacquer was applied in layers. Each layer was allowed to dry and then was polished. Although durable, black lacquer furniture can be easily scratched. Antiques of this style often have very fragile surfaces and require gentle care. Modern black lacquer furniture has a hard, shiny finish and is sturdier. Even the sturdier, newer pieces streak and scratch easily, so care must be used with modern pieces as well.
Dust, using a slightly damp, soft cloth. Using straight strokes and very little pressure go over a section around eight to 10 inches in size.
Quickly blot with a dry, soft cloth, thoroughly drying the area. Continue dusting and drying until the entire piece of furniture is clean.
Polish a small area gently with a dry, clean, soft cloth, using straight strokes back and forth. Step back and look at the finish. If it is shiny and there are no scratches, continue until the entire piece of furniture has been polished.
If you have any concerns about the fragility of the surface, start the polishing process in a hidden area. Lacquer polish is for musical instruments, not Asian furniture.
Regular furniture polishes and cleaners may weaken the finish of black lacquer. Paper towels can scratch lacquer surfaces.