How to Care for Your Antique Furniture
While antique furniture is an excellent way to add elegance and style to your home, the proper precautions must be taken to protect these vintage dining sets, armchairs, cabinets and curios.
Since these pieces can be fragile, it’s important to maintain the proper climate conditions. Keep antiques away from direct sunlight as this can crack varnish and fade fabric. Install curtains to diffuse the light and protect your furniture.
Temperature and humidity should also be controlled to preserve your antique furniture. In general, interior temperatures of 20 to 24°C are recommended as are humidity levels of 35 to 65%.
Always be vigilant for any creatures which may want to eat away at your precious antiques. Borer beetles, powder post beetles and termites can burrow into the wood while rats and cockroaches can feed on dirt and stain the material with their excrement. If you discover an infestation, always hire a pest control specialist with experience in antiques.
It’s also important to clean your vintage items in the proper manner. When dusting, use a soft, dry cloth to get rid of any surface dirt. If your antiques are especially fragile, go over them with a feather duster instead. Never use a wet cloth as this can remove varnish, loosen joints and damage fabric.
To maintain the varnish on wooden antiques, a coat of quality paste wax is advised to protect from both moisture and dust. Rub gently into the wood, going with the grain, and then buff immediately. You can also use beeswax if you prefer. For polishing, avoid modern silicone-based furniture polishes as this can leave a residue and degrade the surface of your furniture.
It is recommended to leave cleaning of fabrics and leather to professionals who can decide on the right specialist technique to remove dirt or stains without damaging the integrity of the material.
Lastly, care must be taken when moving antiques from one place to another. Always carry heavy items from the base, for example holding tables by the legs instead of the top, to stop the lower section falling away from the upper one. Never drag vintage furniture across the ground either as this can damage the legs and joints!