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Watch out for your Wood

After that last long list of tips and tricks for cleaning your wood like an expert, we're now prepared to let you know how this gorgeous wood furniture is best kept. Some of us are lucky, and live in the perfect environment for wood furniture, but a lot of us have to be careful about how to deal with the weather/wood combination. Lucky for you, we've stashed the best tips around to help you all out when you want to preserve that gorgeous wood furniture for generations.

The first thing to watch out for is humidity, and although a lot of people do already know the damage this can cause, the majority of furniture owners will ignore this fact and let the furniture dull and damage in whatever condition it may be in. Wood is extremely sensitive to changes in relative humidity, so keep this in mind. As the weather changes, so does the relative humidity in your home, and along with that, the moisture content of the wood. This means your furniture is doing a ton of extra work by constantly expanding, and contracting, causing accelerated aging and damage.

Here's a quick list of tips to keep in mind when placing your furniture:

  • Your wood will be happiest in moderate conditions like 70°F-72°F and a relative humidity of about 50-55%
  • Frequent and sudden changes in relative humidity are the worst for wood furniture, so this is something to consider if you live in an environment with immediate and drastic weather changes.
  • Wood is most likely to crack when the climate changes from hot and humid to cold and dry.
  • Excess heat and dryness from an appliance may also create cracks in the wood (so if at all possible, avoid placing wood furniture near all heat sources)
  • If furniture must be near an air duct, use a shield or guard plate to direct heat away from the wood surface.
  • In the winter we recommend a humidifier to make up for the dry weather missing from the summer.
  • Vice-versa, in the summer we recommend using an air conditioner if possible to keep the wood furniture at a moderate temperature and humidity level.
  • If furniture is in storage, an unheated environment will likely have a more consistent humidity level and serve the wood better.
  • While using air conditioning in your home, it's best to keep the intake of outside humid air to a minimum.
Another obvious tip that will help out in the long run, is consciously avoid heat, chemical exposure, and sharp objects when dealing with your wood furniture. As obvious as this seems, solvents such as nail polish remover, alcohol, and paint thinner are frequently the culprit to wood damage. Remember that alcohol is also contained in colognes, perfumes, and medication in addition to beverages. Fingerprints, perspiration and body oils can also harm a finish over time. Hot items on wood furniture can cause chemical changes that result in white rings or spotty texture. If you're using a laptop computer on your desk, be sure it does not overheat and damage the computer as well as the finish on the desk. Prolonged exposure could eventually cause splits or crack in the wood. 

Avoiding sunlight as much as possible is also going to keep your furniture in better condition. Consider your wood dresser a vampire, ultraviolet sun rays will damage the finish and bleach the raw wood eventually. Prolonged exposure will especially cause the finish to crack (sometimes this shows as a pattern resembling reptile skin). Tablecloths and doilies are sometimes used to slow down the process, but they won't completely protect your furniture from the sun. Reduce the amount of direct sunlight as much as possible by using window shades, wraps, or blinds to block the sun during the day and add a great accent to your room. Partial sunlight is also something to avoid with your furniture, because it will cause a noticeable distinction between the parts of the furniture shaded, and the parts faded from sunlight. Every once in a while move around any decorations on the wood such as lamps, doilies, or vases so the wood ripens as uniformly as possible.

Last but not least, be careful with your furniture when shifting it around! Wood furniture is sturdy and built to last for generations, but still delicate. Lift the heavy furniture with help of two or more people, and make sure to lift them from a bottom (never only the top). Sliding pieces could harm your wood floor and damage the legs by using too much sliding pressure, so avoid this as much as possible when at risk. If you like to move your furniture around frequently, place sliders under furniture to make things easier and safer. With dresser drawers that have two handles, such as the Brighton 5-Drawer dresser, use both to open it and avoid overstuffing. Hopefully a few of these tips help you out in the long run, and enjoy your wood furniture!

Posted by Kalei Munsell

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