Silicone based polishes must not be used in cleaning wooden furniture because it can seep through the finish and dry out the wood, making the finish cloudy and difficult to repair or refinish. Alcohol can damage the wood permanently, thus it must be avoided as well. For finished wood, furniture polish made from beeswax is highly recommended as it can create a gorgeous shine and can be applied with a cotton cloth, like an old bed sheet. In using household cleaners, a homeowner must check for ammonia content because it can also destroy the finishing of the furniture. Three cups of olive oil mixed with one cup of vinegar can be used to clean and polish wood furniture. One will just have to make sure to wipe it dry after using.
Spills can be cleaned by blotting instead of wiping. For small scratches, furniture scratch filler, which is available in most hardware stores, can be used. For bigger scratches, like one might find on office furniture for the home, felt tip pens or shoe polish that matches the wood finish can be used. A small amount of mayonnaise in a soft cloth can be rubbed on the wood furniture to remove stubborn water marks from items such as small tables. Direct exposure to sunlight can also lighten the finish of any wood furniture, thus it must be kept out of the sun.
The ink of a newspaper or magazine can bleed on wood, so it is best not to leave them on top of any wood furniture. Avoid spilling nail polish on any wood furniture because it will require refinishing the entire piece of furniture. Polishing of the wood furniture must be limited to four or five times a year because it can cause surface buildup. Bathroom or kitchen cleaners must never be used on wood furniture.
Birch, mahogany, maple, oak and cherry are the types of wood used that can be long lasting and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. These types of wood are hard and durable. Softer wood varieties like redwood, fir and cedar are also used, but they can be more easily dented and scratched. Sanded, sealed and stained are signs of well-made wood furniture. Well-sanded furniture has smooth edges and takes stain well. Well-stained furniture has an even look and all the sides are of the same color. Well-sealed furniture usually has sealant on all sides as this can prevent the wood from swelling.
In deciding a budget for purchasing new wood furniture, one must consider all factors. Affordable furniture has the best value, but this must be balanced with getting the most service out of the piece. Decide which pieces will suit the function desired best, as well as which will last the longest and have the lowest costs to maintain.