Wood is a natural product and will react to and be affected by the environment surrounding it. To preserve its beauty and keep it at its best we advise following these guidelines.
Furniture and woodwork
Do enjoy it and
- Dust it with a micro-fibre cloth or soft paint brush. A household duster can easily snag and leave fibres or cause damage.
- Be careful if there is any metalwork as preparatory cleaning products and damage the surrounding wood. Wipe any spills immediately.
- Watch the room’s humidy – too much heat, cold, dampness or dryness can cause problems as the wood shrinks and expands as a result. A stable environment is that between 40% and 60%.
- Use cork or felt based mats and coasters to protect the wood’s surface under ornaments, vases and mugs etc to prevent staining and scratching.
- Mop up any food or drink spillages as soon as possible by wiping with a slightly damp cloth – make sure that it’s wrung out and not too wet. Be aware that stains can occur in as little as 10 minutes.
- Polish infrequently and if the finish is known refresh accordingly:
- Soft oil finishes; re-oil periodically (annually or less – when the surface begins to lose its vibrancy) with Tung or Danish oil. This will harden when exposed to the air sealing the wood. Use sparingly by applying with a soft cloth and wiping away any excess depending on the absorption of the wood. Work in the same direction as the grain.
- Hard finishes such as wax; use a good quality cream furniture wax with beeswax – use sparingly (too much will leave a cloudy film) and buff with a separate cloth.
- Lacquer; dusting is all that should be required.
- Stained and painted finishes and metal leaf; these should only require dusting.
- Consult an expert for extensive repair work or for the care of antiques and family heirlooms.
- Place it in direct sunlight or near a heat source as this could cause it to shrink and possibly even crack. Strong sunlight can change the colour of woods – some, such as Yew can darken and others such as Walnut can fade.
- Use spray polishes especially those containing silicon as they could damage the surface and leave a residue.
- Use rubber or plastic base mats which could react with the finish and cause it to soften or stain.
- Mix different types of polish or finish. Once a piece has been waxed it can’t be refinished (other than by re-waxing) unless the wax is removed.
- Use a wax polish on an oiled piece if it’s to be re-oiled in the future.
- Put hot or very cold mugs or plates etc directly onto the wood’s surface which may become marked.
Kitchenware and food items
Do look after it and it should last for years
- Wooden boards are very hygienic and appear to decontaminate themselves without the need for harsh cleaning solutions. One theory is that bacteria are killed by the chemicals in the wood which protects the living tree.
- Clean it regularly with:
- Hot soapy water but NEVER immerse or soak it as it will raise the grain and be rough and crack as it dries out again.
- White vinegar as the acid is a good disinfectant.
- Coarse salt or baking powder to eliminate the strong smells of garlic etc.
- Lemon which also removes odours.
- Use a food safe oil after cleaning to protect it such as:
- Pure Tung oil or Danish oil derived from the nut of the China tree.
- A thin vegetable oil – corn oil etc which won’t go rancid as quickly as olive oil.
- Oil it by wiping it onto the surface working in the same direction as the grain. When the wood has absorbed as much as it needs (within about four hours) wipe the excess off with a clean dry cloth.
- Keep it dry when not in use.
- Soak or immerse in water.
- Let moisture from food preparation run off and collect underneath.
- Put it in the dishwasher.
If in doubt please check. Burford Woodcraft can accept no liability for any loss or damage which may arise as a result of the use of this information.