Tips The Key to Keeping Antiques Looking Good by Dennis Schrand Jul 1, 2016 Cleaning & maintenance advice from us. You can clean wood with water, just don’t drench it! Use water and a mild soap or even Murphy’s oil soap that is formulated to clean wood and leave behind a protectant. Keep old toothbrushes around for hard to reach areas and small crevices. Once finished wipe dry and let the wood air dry on its own. After your piece is clean depending on what you like some places use waxes, we prefer to use old English. In our family it has been tried and true for many, many years. Old English comes in three different color levels for light woods, medium woods and dark woods. Shake well onto a soft cloth and rub gently but firm and generous onto the wood, then dry with a soft cloth. Sun exposure can damage wood finishes, remember than if sun will bleach or fade fabrics and cars it can also damage our treasured wood pieces. So keep your timeless wood pieces out of the way of windows, yes even tinted windows. Heat from the sun coming in the windows can still get extremely hot causing stress to your wood piece(s), which will cause over drying, shrinkage and possibly cracks to form in your wood piece(s). Heat can have the same effect! So if you use heaters such as kerosene or even a fireplace to warm your homes, be sure that your wood pieces are not too close to these heat sources. In the event that your house may be just to warm natured, you may want to periodically test the humidity in your home. Keeping it around 40-45 percent is optimal. If it needs to be raised use a humidifier. So you found a new scratch on your wood piece, oh no what to do? Did you know that you have a few options? Such as finding a color shoe polish similar to your wood piece, or a felt tip permanent marker. Simply touch up the scratch or nick and your good to go. Don’t buy into those products in stores that claim to “nourish” or “feed” you’re wood furniture. Wood pieces do not need to be fed or nourished. Once they have been finished with the original finishing and staining process and once the wood piece has been sealed with a protectant like polyurethane, no polishes or oils will penetrate the final seal. Removing those water rings or hot spots left on wood tables. There are a few ways to accomplish this: A mixture of non-gel toothpaste with baking soda or cooking oil mixed with ashes. Rub onto the area, using your fingers for smaller areas and a soft cloth for the larger areas. Wipe away any residue when done, do not let the mixture dry on. The old ironing method is sometimes effective as well. Placing a soft cloth or towel over the area and iron for 10-20 seconds at a time on a medium setting. Keep the iron moving over the area and check on the progress often. Mixing equal parts of vinegar and olive oil, apply it with a soft cloth, be sure to rub it in moving with the wood grain. Use another clean, soft cloth to remove the residue and add a final shine. Remember to keep those old single socks around that no longer have a mate from the “dryer eating it”, as these work very nice for applying some of these oils and polishes after cleaning, and then you won’t ruin your good towels!