Mahogany is a hardwood, and therefore it is naturally resistant to damage. Even so, the dark wood needs regular maintenance to continue to look nice, and that includes regular polishing with oil or wax. Caring for mahogany furniture will make a beautiful piece of furniture remain beautiful for years to come.
What About Using Wax and Oil?
It's better to pick one or the other. Oil can prevent the wax from adhering properly, and they can react to each other in unexpected ways. Using both products can cause the surface of the wood to become cloudy or streaky. Avoid products that contain silicone in them. They look nice, but they cause problems with refinishing the furniture later on. It's better to stick with a high quality furniture wax or a pure oil polish, and consistently use the same product.
More About Oil
Oil helps replace some of the natural moisture that wood loses over time, and can keep furniture from warping and cracking. It also brings out the mahogany's rich sheen. Lemon oil is the most common oil polish, but you have to be sure that what you pick up is pure lemon oil. Most lemon oil produced for furniture use is filled with chemicals that can harm the finish of the furniture. Pure lemon oil can be found in health food stores as well as online.
More About Wax
Waxing your mahogany furniture creates a small build-up of wax on the surface of the wood. This is a clear, protective coat that will absorb small scratches and dings, preserving your wood. It is, again, important to pick a high quality product -- cabinet maker's wax is a good choice for furniture. Floor wax won't work well on furniture, and furniture wax is a bad choice for floors, so always keep usage in mind.
It's important to clean the furniture thoroughly before treating it with oil or wax. Use a mild soap (like dish soap) with water and a soft sponge to clean it. If you are oiling, you should use it about once a month. If you are waxing, you should wax periodically, depending on how much wear and tear it receives. Be careful to keep mahogany out of direct sunlight, as it can damage the finish. Heat can also damage the finish, so don't set a hot pot or casserole dish directly on mahogany. Use a trivet or hot pad.