- Whether for the home or the workplace, solid American hardwood products add a level of beauty, value, and durability second to none. Additionally, solid hardwood products, such as solid wood furniture, flooring, cabinetry, molding or furniture, can last a lifetime if one follows the guidelines listed below:
First and foremost, always remember that the three seemingly harmless occurrences below are hardwood’s worst enemies:
• Water left to puddle or stand can dull or mark the finish and, if the exposure is extreme, even warp hardwood.
• Dirt, dust and grit can dull and scratch.
• Sunlight’s ultraviolet rays, over time, can cause discoloration.
By making the following hardwood Do’s part of your routine you will find that hardwood care need not be difficult or time consuming.
Wipe up any spills immediately, using a soft, dry cloth starting at the edges of the spill and working toward the center. For hardwood furniture, use coasters, pads, cloths or runners to protect against spills and water rings.
Dust frequently, using a soft, lint-free cloth. For hardwood floors, regularly sweep with either a dust mop or broom that features exploded tips. Placing protective mats or rugs in entrances is also a helpful preventative measure to trap dirt.
Limit sunlight exposure with sheer drapes, curtains or blinds. And occasionally move area carpets to maintain a uniform appearance in a hardwood floor’s finish.
Avoid radical swings in temperature and humidity. Use a humidifier in winter and an air conditioner in summer to maintain room temperatures near 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity at 50 to 55 percent. Keep hardwood furniture away from heat sources if possible. If you must put furniture near an air duct, use a shield or guard plate to direct heat away.
Read and save the manufacturer’s care and maintenance instructions. And be sure to keep the company’s contact information for future reference.
Use cloths or mops dripping with water. Wood should not get wet or soaked. If it does, dry immediately.
Use a feather duster that could scratch the hardwood surface, or an upright vacuum with beater bars that can dent a hardwood floor’s finish. Instead vacuum frequently using a vacuum with special hardwood floor attachments.
Mop sealed-and-waxed hardwood floors, not even with a slightly damp mop, and never apply wax to a floor with a urethane finish.
Use area rugs with rubber or vinyl backing. Some materials in the backing can react with certain floor finishes, discoloring or causing the finish to become dull.
Expose hardwood to plastics, oils or solvents. Over time, plastic can stick to the finish and its colors can leach into the wood. Oils and alcohols, in things like nail polish remover, perfume and liquor, can dull and stain.
- And the most important Don’t of all
Don’t hesitate to incorporate hardwood into most every room. Today’s finishes make hardwood products an attractive choice that’s easy to maintain and extraordinarily beautiful.
Sections of the above tips are adapted from information on hardwoodinfo.com.
For more information on hardwood care, read Charles Sutton’s book, “How to Care for Your Old and New Wood Furniture,” sold by The Furniture Library, a research center in High Point, N.C.