Submitted by: Jesse Akre
In contrast to its dark wood cousins, light colored wood furniture can start to look dingy and dull much sooner. Unfortunately dirt, grease and grime will quickly turn your light colored furniture into a leopard print of dark and light splotches.
With dark wood furniture, these dirty spots and stains dont show up as quickly. But because nature didnt seem to be thoughtful enough to make light colored grit and grime, your light colored furniture will need to be cleaned more regularly and more thoroughly to keep it looking lovely.
Fortunately, the cleaning process for light colored furniture isnt mysterious. Its virtually identical to that of any wood furniture.
As always, youll want to shy away from commercial waxes and oils that say they will clean your furniture. They wont. Sure, they will make them shiny, but they will only add another layer to the finish, one that will trap oil and dirt and hold onto it for dear life.
To get the grain looking like new again, youll want to remove all the dirt and restore the original appearance. You can do this with a mixture that contains one part vinegar, one part turpentine and two parts linseed oil. After stirring it all together, you can apply this cocktail to your furniture. Be sure you do this in a well-ventilated space as the fumes can make you sick. If you can, go outside to do the cleaning.
Before you apply the mix to the entire piece, try it out on a hidden spot. You want to make sure you like the result. You probably will, mind you, but some people actually like the darker look and are shocked when they remove layers and layers of old waxy build up to expose the original color of the wood.
The cleaning process can substantially lighten the wood. This is a good thing, of course. If everything looks good, then apply the mixture to the entire surface, one section at a time. As you clean the area, wipe it with a clean rag. You wont believe the amount of dirt and grime that ends up on the rag.
The reason that you do a section of a time is that you dont want the mix to dry out on the woods surface. If you want a little extra cleaning power, use some really fine steel wool instead of a rag to do the cleaning. Dont scrub too hard. You dont want to remove the finish, only the dirt.
Once everything looks clean and uniform, you can get rid of the mixture and the rags. Remember that anything with turpentine in it can be highly flammable. So be sure that you dispose of the cleaning products carefully. Its best to put them in a steel container, not plastic.
Of course, the dirt will come back quickly if you dont take the time to maintain your furniture between cleanings. Dont go back to applying a commercial product, such as a furniture wax. Its just going to cause the problem to happen all over again. Instead, use furniture oil and rub it into the wood occasionally. If your wood dries out, it can crack or become brittle. The oil will re-moisturize it while bringing the grain out. If you spill something on the wood, wipe it up as quickly as possible. Water stains, you know those unsightly rings, can be removed with by rubbing lemon oil over it. If you dont want to cry over spilled milk, use some silver polish or ammonia to remove it. Once the stains are removed, you need to wipe the area clean again to make sure that all the cleaning agents have been removed from the surface of the wood.
Light wood furniture can be a very beautiful thing in your home, but only if you take good care of it, keep it spotless, dust it in between thorough cleanings and take loving care of it by not giving into commercial waxes.
About the Author: Jesse Akre owns Edenvale Shoppes and hosts numerous furniture and furnishings for any home whether it be
round kitchen tables
styles and designs.