With antique furniture making a comeback, we look at the best ways to take care of those older
pieces so they continue to look their best for years to come. Whether you’re bringing a 100 year old
table back to life after it’s been stored in the attic for the past few decades, or you’ve chosen to
invest in some antique furniture for your home, staying beautiful requires a little more work when
you’re more than 100 years old! But that doesn’t mean it’s as complicated as you may think!
Below we offer some advice and top tips to keep your antique furniture in great shape so you can
pass it on to future generations.
1. Protect from sunlight
Antiques don’t fare well in direct light which can cause damage by degrading the finish that was
applied to the surface of the furniture. This will ultimately yellow the surface of the wood if it’s been
coated in any form of resin-based varnish. Inlays, veneers or marquetry will also be affected, and
often become loose or peel off as sunlight can affect the adhesive which is meant to keep things in
place. To help avoid sunlight damage, use table cloths and linen covers. Or if you have a functional
piece that’s in regular use make sure you protect it from any spills or hot mugs with coasters and
2. Avoid damp spaces
While heat can result in extreme dryness of wood furniture, an environment with excess moisture is
just as bad. Avoid ruining your antiques through mould or rot and keep precious pieces away from
damp areas, such as cellars. And importantly, always see to any spillages right away to stop liquids
seeping into the wood.
3. Use a paste wax, avoid oils
It’s essential to keep your furniture well moisturised, but it’s also worth staying clear of oil-based
products. While it may be tempting to use them, they coat the wood and will just attract more dirt
and grime. Popular dusting polishes, such as Pledge, contains silicone and leave a hard-to-remove
film. If you ever have to get a refinisher to work on your furniture this can cause problems for them!
Alternatively, we recommend applying a paste wax about once a year which will add a lovely sheen
finish whilst protecting the wood against pollutants and any moisture.
4. Dust regularly
While cleaning is no one’s favourite chore, it’s surprising how quickly dust can accumulate, and you
may be completely unaware of the damage it can cause to an antique piece of furniture! If left
untouched, a build-up of dust collects in the grain of the wood which creates an abrasive surface,
sometimes scratching the finish. Once scratches appear, it will mean more work and restoration to
get it back to its original state, so remember to flick a duster around every so often!
5. Check for pests
Wooden furniture can often end up the victim of a pest infestation, where termites and powderdust
beetles eat away at the wood which causes irreparable damage. But not only that, they can make
your beautiful antiques very unsightly in a short space of time, so make sure to check regularly for
any sawdust which is the most common sign of a pest problem! If you do happen to notice
something, contact a professional exterminator and then enlist the services of an antique restorer to try and put right any damage.