It’s not enough just to clean antique furniture to breathe new life into it; in principle, you should follow several steps to successfully give it a new lease on life. Whether you want to restore it or you’re wondering how to go about cleaning antique furniture, here are the most important steps to achieve satisfying results.
1 – Remove the wax from the furniture
Is your antique furniture waxed and damaged? In this case, you’ll need to remove the wax so that you can then reapply a layer of clean and healthy wax.
For this first step, begin by washing the surface with warm water and a little cleaning product, then rinse. If your furniture tends to darken in contact with water, use turpentine instead.
2 – Wash the antique furniture with water
Was your furniture stored in a garage, an attic, or any other dusty room? To clean your antique furniture effectively, place it outside or in a room where you can get the floor wet, then prepare a strong wash with hot water. With a wet sponge, clean it with plenty of water (caution: it must be water-resistant). Scrub the surface with a houndstooth brush, then rinse fully with clear water. Let your furniture dry, then continue the restoration (with a stripping and waxing, for example).
3 – Strip the antique furniture
To effectively strip a piece of furniture using a less aggressive product than the ones that can be found in stores, you can make your own stripping paste:
– Pour 200 grams of flour into 1 litre of water and cook while stirring. As soon as you feel the paste thickening, turn off the heat and let cool;
– In another container, pour 200 grams of detergent into a litre of warm water, then mix everything with the paste made from the flour; you’ll get a gel. Apply this gel to your furniture and let act for a few hours: the paint will be thoroughly stripped.
4 – Stain the wood
There are different stains for wood:
– Alcohol-based stains;
– Water-based stains;
– Waxing stains;
– Staining varnishes, also known as varnished stains;
– Staining waxes (which wax more than waxing stains).
Thanks to these products, you’ll be able to give a beautiful colour back to your wood, but before that, you’ll need to dust, clean, and strip the furniture.
Once you’ve chosen your stain, test it on a hidden part of the furniture; that way, you’ll control the result after drying. If the stain is suitable, apply the stain using a flat brush in the direction of the wood fibres with an even thickness. Let dry, then sand with fine-grained sandpaper. If it seems necessary, you can apply a second and then a third coat of stain.
If you don’t choose a waxing stain, then you’ll have to apply a coat of wax to protect your antique furniture. After that, you’ll just need to clean it from time to time with a microfibre cloth to remove the dust. Try not to put glasses on the wood and protect it from moisture; without these precautions, your furniture risks getting stained despite the protective layer of wax.
Is your antique furniture valuable, and do you want to clean it while making sure not to damage it? You should maybe rely on a specialized cleaning company; the results will be guaranteed, and you’ll be sure not to damage a nice piece of furniture.