Genuine wood furniture is built to last a lifetime or several lifetimes.

Differences in color and grain are natural characteristics produced by nature in all wood, as identical trees do not grow. Only the artificial will be perfectly uniform in color and grain.

You could maintain your fine furniture with loving care for a few simple steps

Hints to Help Preserve Your Solid Wood Furniture

Keep relative humidity in your home at 25 to 35 percent.

Not to place directly in front of radiators, fireplaces, or direct sunlight.

Dust with a soft cloth by following the grain pattern of the wood.
Use an old t-shirt, baby diaper, or cheesecloth. The cloth should have no snaps, buttons, zippers or thick seams that could scratch furniture surfaces. Do not use a cloth that has hanging threads or unraveling edges.

Dust often to remove everyday abrasive particles from wood surfaces.
Before dusting, place a few drops of orange oil on a cloth. A dry cloth can leave hairline scratches on the finish. The trick is to moisten the cloth just enough to make dust adhere to it. The cloth should not be so damp that it wets the wood. If you can see any trace of water on the wood after you wipe, your cloth is too damp. Some conservators recommend using distilled water for heirlooms or antiques.

Do not use a feather duster.
Feather duster will simply move dust around, flinging it into the air. Feather dusters can't be washed, and a quill could scratch the wood surface if a feather breaks off. Dust is abrasive so infrequent or improper dusting can create a worn, dull surface over the years. Dust can accumulate in carvings, cracks and grooves and make wood look dark and unattractive. This dusty buildup eventually becomes hard to remove.

Wood finishes benefit from an occasional polishing or oiling.
During very dry weather, it is good to feed your wood furniture with an oil, which contains no distillants. On a varnish or urethane finish, a very small quantity of oil should be used.

Avoid waxing urethane-finished furniture.
Waxing can cause dust and dirt to gather rather than repel it.

Carefully moving furniture.
Lift heavy furniture with the help of at least two people. Sliding pieces could hurt the wood floor and damage furniture legs by applying too much sideways pressure. If a drawer has two handles, use both to open it. Don't stuff drawers with too many items.

Stains and Troubleshooting

Water marks & rings
Sometimes, water rings are in the wax, not the finish. Cover the stain with a clean, thick blotter, press down with a warm iron, and repeat. Or rub with mineral oil or white toothpaste. Wipe dry and polish. Wood should never get wet or soaked.

Milk or alcohol
Use your fingers to rub liquid or paste wax into the stain. Or rub in paste of boiled linseed oil and rottenstone with grain, substituting pumice for dull finishes. Or rub with ammonia on a dampened cloth. Wipe dry and polish.

Cigarette burns (light)
Rub with a paste of linseed oil and rottenstone and work with the grain until the burn mark disappears.

Heat Marks
Rub gently along the grain, using a dry steel wool soap pad or a cloth dampened with camphorated oil or mineral spirits, or rub gently along the grain with extra-fine (0000) steel wool. Wipe clean and polish.

Nail Polish
Blot the spill immediately, then rub with fine still wool (0000) dipped in wax. Wipe dry and polish.

Sticker paper
Dampen the paper thoroughly with mineral oil, wait five minutes and rub along the grain with (0000) steel wool. Wipe dry and polish.

Wax and gum
Harden the substance by holding an ice cube wrapped in cloth against it, then use your fingernail or plastic credit card to remove it. Rub the area with (0000) steel wool dipped in mineral spirits. Wipe dry and polish.

Sticking drawers
Rub a candle or wax along the drawer runners or guides.

Carefully Choose Wood Care Products

It's no wonder there's a lot of confusion about what wood-care products to use. Store shelves are stacked with countless brands of wax, polish, spray and oil. When you clean your furniture you're actually cleaning the finish, not the wood. Proper care can prolong the life of a finish, making the surface of furniture slippery so that objects slide along it without scratching. For new furniture, read manufacturers' tags and literature. Consider consulting a conservator for tips on caring for especially valuable antiques and heirlooms.