Be Good to Your Wood

Purchasing heirloom furniture means investing in wood that will take care of your family for generations. However, your wood needs some tender loving care as well. Here are the dos and don’ts of furniture care that will ensure graduations, birthdays, holidays, and the everyday are just as beautiful today as three generations later.



  • Adjust furniture so that it is out of direct heat from a vent or radiator. Wood can split if it becomes too dry.
  • Clean wood with a damp cloth to keep crumbs, grease and sticky substances off the surface. You can also use a polish like Guardsman Furniture Polish.
  • Use hot pads when placing warm items on wood. Use a trivet for very hot pans and dishes so the extreme heat isn’t in direct contact with the wood.
  • Use placemats to protect the finish from the scratches of forks, knives, or dishes.
  • Place coverings like table runners or tablecloths on furniture near windows to keep the wood out of ultraviolet rays.
  • Keep humidity between 35 and 45 percent to prevent shrinking of the wood.



  • Keep wood away from windows. The goal is to keep the wood out of direct sunlight, which can cause splitting from heat or fading from light.
  • Never use a silicone-based furniture polish on wood as it leaves a spotted finish and makes restoring the wood difficult.
  • Never burn a candle directly on a wooden surface. The heat from the flame at the top of the candle will be felt at the bottom. Instead, put burning candles on a dish or tray.
  • Don’t write with an inky or ballpoint pen without an additional layer between your writing and the wood. Pens can scratch and ink can bleed through paper onto the finish.
  • Don’t slide books or dishes across a furniture’s surface. Instead lift them to prevent scratches and wear.


Sources: Furniture Care Tips and Canal Dover

by Teresa Gish

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