Proper Care for Fine Wood Furniture

Good furniture care is mostly common sense. If you treat your fine wood furniture well, it will last for many generations without having to repair or refinish. Let’s start with the basics of good care:

  • Keep furniture out of direct sunlight and strong light. Light, especially sunlight, will deteriorate the finish and bleach darker woods. Place furniture away from windows and limit light exposure with curtains or shades.
  • Place furniture away from heating and air conditioning vents. Heat or cold blowing on furniture will deteriorate the finish and could cause cracks in the wood surface.
  • Blot up spills immediately. Water or other liquids will ruin fine finishes if allowed to sit on the surface. Use coasters, placemats and tablecloths to protect furniture during use.
  • Rotate accessories on your furniture periodically. Ambient light and oxygen exposure will darken finishes over time and direct sunlight will bleach darker woods. If an object remains in one place for a prolonged time, the wood underneath will be a different color than the exposed surfaces.
  • Avoid prolonged use of plastic and rubber pads on your furniture. Plastic or rubber pads left on furniture surfaces for a prolonged period of time can chemically react with the finish. When this happens, the plastic or rubber bonds to the finish and will ruin the shiny surface.
  • Dust your furniture regularly. I recommend using a dry soft cotton cloth, such as an old t-shirt. A Swiffer Duster works great as well. I do not recommend using commercial furniture care products on fine furniture. Most popular products contain silicone which will tend to make the finish look oily and slick. If there is residue from a spill or finger prints, moisten a soft cotton cloth with water and wipe the residue off.

For more advanced care and reviving a dull finish, I recommend applying a coat of wax polish. All of the furniture that I make has three to four coats of hand-rubbed polyurethane and a coat of micro-crystalline wax polish. A wax polish is a permanent treatment unless removed with a solvent or harsh cleaner. The wax creates a permanent shine and scratch resistant surface. I use a product called Renaissance Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish, you can purchase it at


  1. Jim Nordstrom

    January 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Great and easy to follow advice Tom, thx so much!

    • Tom Nordstrom

      January 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you Jim, I appreciate your input!


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