The Do's and Don'ts of Taking Care of Wood Furniture

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One of the many questions that we get asked is "Now that I've bought this furniture, how do I take care of it?" especially when it comes to wood furniture. Pieces from manufacturers like Maitland-Smith are high-end quality, so it's understandable that people want to avoid accidentally ruining the finish of their table or unknowingly damaging it. We've got our best tips and advice for you listed below.


- DON'T keep your furniture in direct sunlight.

One of the biggest culprits of damage to furniture is something that most people don't even realize can affect wood - sunlight. Sunlight is the top cause of wood furniture fading or degrading. Some simple solutions are keeping your furniture away from any windows or out of direct sunlight, but if that's not possible, be sure to install window shades or a special UV-protecting window film that can be applied on top of windows.

- DON'T let furniture be exposed to excessive moisture or extreme temperatures.

Wood is extremely sensitive to moisture and temperature changes, be it hot or cold. Excessive heat or humidity can cause wood to expand and contract, which can lead to the wood splitting, warping, or cracking. It can also cause wood joints or glue to dry up, which will impact the quality of the furniture and may deform it.

- DON'T put hot objects or cold drinks directly on top of your furniture.

Be cautious when placing food or drink on top of wood furniture - excessive heat from pots, pans, or dishes without a buffer or a pot holder can melt or damage the finish of a wood furniture. Condensation from cold drinks or items can cause "blooming," where a transparent coating or finish will become milky or cloudy. If you catch this happening soon enough, you can rub out the cloudiness with a dry, soft cloth, but otherwise may damage your furniture.

- DON'T use Pledge on wood furniture.

One last tip that we cannot stress enough is to never ever use Pledge on wood furniture. Any furniture repair technician will tell you the same thing - Pledge builds up silicone on top of the wood, "hiding" imperfections but doing nothing for the wood itself.


- DO clean dust and debris from your wood furniture regularly.

Use a soft, damp cloth to clean off dust from your wood furniture. Most wood furniture abides by this rule. Special finishes like lacquered wood do not need to be wiped dry afterwards, but hand-carved or wood furniture should be wiped down with a dry, soft cloth after exposure to any moisture.

- DO have scratches looked at by a professional.

Scratches need to be filled and refinished in order to be hidden, but small dings or light scratches can be taken care of at home if you have a furniture touch-up pen. 

- DO treat your wood furniture with a recommended cleaner or polish.

Your wood furniture should be preserved with wax or polish to provide an additional layer of protection. Two products that come highly recommended from our furniture techs are Guardsman Wood Cleaner and Wood Polish - use the cleaner to get rid of any dust or old polish, then re-polish the table. A quick tip when polishing or cleaning the table is to put the leaves in to ensure that the leaves match the rest of the table when you bring them out at the next family event or function. Your wood furniture should be cleaned and polished a few times a year at least. You can find care information about specific types of wood below.

Specific Wood Types


If your driftwood item is unpolished, do NOT use a polish or cleaner as you will lose the natural coloration. Simply clean with a dry cloth or damp cloth. 

Polished driftwood should be polished with a good beeswax-based polish regularly. Driftwood will dry out if it is not polished regularly, so invest in a good, silicone-free, natural product. Silicons can harm the finish and appearance of driftwood.


Furniture polish is essential for mahogany furniture. Murphy's Oil Soap can do, but be sure to use a non-silicone furniture polish.

Painted Wood

If the item is completely painted, do not use any cleaners as you may damage the paint or finish of the item. If only part of a wooden item is painted on, use a non-silicone cleaner carefully over the area.


Teak only requires occasional cleaning and dusting - it is very low-maintenance compared to other woods. If your teak has developed its notable silvery patina, you can clean it gently with soap and water with a soft sponge or brush. Oil is not recommended for Teak.

Most of all, when investing in wood furniture, you want to ensure that you've bought a quality product with high-quality wood or veneers. Our recommended brands for wood furniture that stand the test of time are Maitland-Smith, Jonathan Charles, and AICO.

It only takes a small amount of time to clean and treat your wood furniture, but can add many extra years onto your furniture's life.

1 comment:

  1. I love the reminder of not putting hot or cold objects on your wood table. When I was a kid, my dad re-finished our wooden dining room table. We had a big pot of hot soup right on the surface of the table. When we went to clean up the table, we picked up the pot and a nice big ring of finish on the table. Needless to say, my dad had to re-do the table the next week.