Designers, turn green! In this writer’s opinion, few things are as sensual as the organic curves seen in natural woodgrain, and when I build my dream home, it’s going to be filled with lots and lots of natural wood furniture. I’m starting my collection now.
And before that dream home arrives, I’m going to have to house cleaning toronto. So how can I do this so when that dream comes true, the furniture will be in good condition?
First of all, the daily care of the wood. Basically, this involves being very careful as to what gets put down on the tops of things like dressers and chests of drawers. Hot cups (and saucepans, etc.), obviously, should not be put down on top of polished wooden things, as they will burn the polish. Coasters are an obvious choice for protecting wood finish from hot cups, but nearly anything will do. The morning cup of coffee, for instance, often ends up resting on the book(s) beside my bed. You also need to take care that you do not scratch the finish on the wood by scraping or bumping it with heavy items.
Solid wood furniture is more forgiving than veneer – if the worst comes to the worst, you can sand chips, dings, scratches, and nicks in solid wood out, but you can never do this with veneers. Another nasty that should not go on wood is anything that will damage the polish on it. Acetone – commonly found in nail polish remover – is the most likely culprit. Avoid this by (a) putting on and removing your nail polish somewhere other than over a wooden dresser or table, such as the bathroom, (b) switching to a non-acetone nail polish remover (although these still might hurt the finish of your wood furniture – they will be kinder to your skin and to your home environment, however), (c) not using nail polish at all but going for the natural look with the help of a buffer.
When it comes to regular everyday cleaning for wood – say the weekly going-over in the bedroom – it isn’t necessary to polish wood every time. Often, just dusting with a damp rag (not wet) will be enough to keep the wood looking at its best.
Realistically, you only really need to polish wood furniture once or twice a year – as part of a spring domestic cleaning session, maybe. However, if you have to clean wood furniture that has been getting a bit dry and neglected (you’ve just inherited it from your grandmother, maybe), then you can dab your cleaning cloth/duster with a tiny bit of linseed oil – just enough to moisten the rag – before going over it.
If somebody has neglected the wood furniture or got it grimy somehow, you can make your own wood cleaner by mixing about a cup of lemon juice or vinegar with about a teaspoon of soap gel and a few drops of essential oil. Shake together in a bottle, then spray directly onto the wood. Give it one good buff-up with a clean damp cloth, then rinse off the gunge and residue with another.
When the time comes to polish wood, you can make your own natural wood polish by just using plain linseed oil, like a cricketer oiling his/her bat. Add some essential oil if you like. But the real old-fashioned wood polish is made as described below. It’s sort of natural, but not quite, thanks to the oil, unless you can get hold of vegetable turps rather than the mineral sort. You can also use an organic substitute made from citrus peel – hunt around to find this.
100 g grated beeswax (save candle-ends if you’re feeling thrifty)
2 cups turpentine
2 cups of water
cup lemon juice or vinegar (if you plan on polishing dark wood, you can use malt vinegar instead of the usual white vinegar used as natural cleaning products)
60 g grated soap
15-20 drops essential oil – cedar, lemon, and lavender are popular choices for wood polish
Melt the beeswax in a double boiler or in a microwave on Low power. While the beeswax is melting, melt the soap in the vinegar and water. When the wax is runny, remove from the heat and very carefully add the oil. If you’re not using natural vegetable turps, then make sure you don’t breathe the fumes in. Then carefully add the vinegar/water/soap mix. Stir like crazy, then add in the essential oils. Store in an airtight screw-top jar. Let it cool before putting the lid on.