How To Clean Wood On Antique Furniture Without Damaging Patina

Written by cat mccabe
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How To Clean Wood On Antique Furniture Without Damaging Patina
Harsh cleaners reduce an antique's value. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Patina is a unique surface quality that grows on an antique over time. Scratches, dents, spots where finish is rubbed away, a groove made in a rocker's arm from years of tapping from a knitting needle -- these things all combine to create patina, and cleaning and polishing it away will reduce the antique object's value. There's a difference between patina and dirt, however, and limited, gentle cleaning will protect patina and not destroy it.

Skill level:
Easy

Other People Are Reading

Things you need

  • Soft, lint-free cloths
  • Lemon oil (optional)
  • Carnuba wax (optional)

Show MoreHide

Instructions

  1. 1

    Dust antique wood once a week, lightly, with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove surface dirt.

  2. 2

    Barely dampen another lint-free cloth with water. Wipe a small section of the wood surface gently to dislodge stubborn dirt. Follow immediately with a dry cloth, buffing it until it is fully dry before moving on to another section. Repeat until the entire surface is clean and dry.

  3. 3

    Use a light coating of lemon oil to moisturise and protect antique wood without destroying patina. Wipe it on one small area at a time and follow with another cloth, buffing until the wood glows. Do this once each winter, when humidity is the lowest and wood becomes dry.

Tips and warnings

  • For shellacked, varnished or polyurethaned antiques, patina is not an issue. A light, annual polish of carnuba wax, buffed to a shine will keep the surface protected.
  • Do not use spray furniture polishes on antiques. They contain silicone which builds up and has an oily texture that never quite soaks into the wood.

Don't Miss

Filter:
  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
Sort:
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the eHow.co.uk site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.