Gransnet forums

House and home

Tips for cleaning antique furniture

(8 Posts)
KirstyMerrill Tue 27-Oct-20 11:29:28

My folks, 68 and 72, are left on their own in our country home with lots of antique furniture handed down from our grandparents’ families. Seeing how they are quite in need of assistance in doing the smallest chores at home, are there any simple tips you can share in cleaning antique furniture? I know that it’s quite important to keep the family’s heirloom in good condition; we even use antique furniture repair services just so that the furniture can stay with us for a couple more years. So we try to do what we can to keep them in the best condition as possible. Any tips or suggestions would be highly appreciated! Thanks!

J52 Tue 27-Oct-20 12:24:44

Keep them out of direct sunlight, it fades the wood and away from radiators. Don’t put vases of flowers, or plants on wooden surfaces water stains are difficult to remove.
Don’t over polish or remove the patina that has built up over the years. A good quality beeswax polish is best, speak polishes have silicon which puts a film on the wood.
The best thing to do frequently is Just dust and keep an eye open for woodworm.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 27-Oct-20 13:23:41

Dust with a very soft duster.

If years of dust and furniture polish have worked into corners, ornamental trim etc. wash with a wash-leather and lukewarm water with a tablespoon of vinegar added. Use as little water as possible and dry of the excess with an old, soft teatowel.

Upholstered chairs should ideally be cleaned by professionals. If you do it yourself, use a good upholstry cleaner and try it out on a ver y small portion of the cloth, preferally on the underside of the seat, where it is stitched before using it on the entire chair.

Silk cushion covers should be washed by hand in lukewarm water and hung to dry, Silk or cotton lampshades should be brushed lightly - use a soft toothbrush, that you keep for this purpose or a soft nailbrush.

Parchment lampshades should be dusted with a soft cloth.

J52 Tue 27-Oct-20 13:50:09

*spray polish

Sparkling Fri 30-Oct-20 07:05:33

Kirsty, with due respect, I would not worry too much about your price less antiques in your country house, pretty sure it's been through more than two years without attention in its time. Very surprised than your loyal antique refurbishers cannot at Ieast advise, sorry at your obvious distress at this trying time.

Missfoodlove Fri 30-Oct-20 07:20:01

Kirsty, I am assuming you have had to furlough the butler and housekeeper.
This Covid really is a blasted nuisance.
I suggest sending a copy of Mrs Beeton forthwith.
For one without staff this guide will be invaluable.
If they’re really stuck perhaps cook will know a young girl from the village who could come in.
It’s dreadful the things we have had to resort to during this pandemic.
My husband had to shoot without a loader last weekend and Fortnums refused to deliver my order into the scullery it was left on the doorstep.
I hope things improve for you.

M0nica Fri 30-Oct-20 08:48:17

Kirsty If you think the furniture is your fortune, you are in for a disappointment. The market for 'brown furniture', as this type of furniture is generically called has tanked in the last 15 years. With luck you might get £500 for the lot. Why not use it to fuel the great fire in the hall or the wood chip boiler out the back. You could save £1,000s on you heating bills.

Kseniya Fri 30-Oct-20 09:26:15

If you have antique furniture and want to keep it in good condition, here are the instructions from a furniture company.
1. remove the old wax from the antique furniture first, as no cleaning agent can penetrate the old waxed surface. There are many types of brand name cleaners and solvents available and you can purchase them from your hardware store.
2. Pour some paint thinner into a glass bowl, then rub the surface of the antique furniture with a very thin metal washcloth in light circular motions. Be careful not to rub hard to avoid scratching the wood. Eventually, the old wax will liquefy and you can gently wipe it off with a soft cloth. Continue this step until you are sure there is no more old wax on the surface.
3. Mix some mild washing up liquid with warm water. Next, gently wipe off the remnants of the old wax with a soft cloth, gradually cleaning small areas of the surface at a time. Do not wet the wood too much, no water basins should be on the surface. Continue wiping down the surface until you are sure that any remaining wax has been removed.
*Wait until the surface is completely dry before repairing scratches, cracks, chips and discoloration. There are many different tools available at the hardware store that you can use to touch up the surface of furniture, such as a furniture repair pencil.
4 .Reapply the wax to the newly cleaned furniture surface after finishing touching the furniture surface. A new layer of wax will protect the renewed surface, unlike polishes, which make the surface shiny and shiny, but do not protect the furniture.
however, there are many silicone based products, regular wax paste better protects antique furniture surfaces.

good luck!)