Taking proper care of vintage furniture can help to preserve its value and overall look for future generations. The key to maintaining historical or antique furniture is that it should not be cared for or repaired in the same way as modern furniture such as with harsh polishes and cleaning agents as these can ruin antique pieces. Vintage furniture can be affected in three different ways, through environmental changes such as humidity, through biological changes such as insects and through human intervention such as polishing or handling the furniture. If you want to keep your vintage furniture in pristine condition then see the tops tips below...
Protect furniture from the sun
Avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight as UV light is damaging and can degrade wood and fabrics. Ideally vintage furniture should be placed out of the sun and blinds or curtains should be used to block direct sunlight where possible.
Invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier
Placing your furniture near radiators, fireplaces or air conditioning vents can mean that the difference in temperature shrinks the furniture which can loosen glue joints and veneers. Your furniture is affected by the amount of moisture in the air so any change to this can cause expansion and contraction which can loosen or stick drawers. Investing in a humidifier or dehumidifier can create a constant temperature in a room.
Isolate and eradicate any pest infestations
Insects can find a comfortable home in leather, wood and fabrics. Termites and beetles can eat their way along the grain inside wood for example until they bore their way out and cockroaches can feed on the buildup of grease and dirt on surfaces of wood. You can quite easily identify pest infestations as the insects tend to leave a trail of exit holes behind them on the surface of the furniture. It's vital to take action straight away if you have a pest infestation as the damage can be irreparable if left untreated. You should call an exterminator or conservator to inspect your furniture as soon as you notice any holes.
Use the appropriate polishes for the surface
It used to be the case that furniture oils and silicone polishes were used to clean antique furniture, although this enhanced the look of the furniture, it can actually contribute to the deterioration of the finish over time. The best way to maintain varnished furniture is to apply a thin coat of high quality paste wax every year. Furniture paste wax is long lasting and it helps to protect the surface from moisture and dust. To keep it dust free the rest of the year, use a slightly dampened, soft and lint free cloth.
Move your furniture with care
Chairs should always be carried by the seat as opposed to the back or arms and tables should be moved using their legs and not the top as this could pull it loose from the base. It's always wise to remove drawers or shelves from furniture before carrying it as these can become loose and get damaged during moving.
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