Should I Wax My Antique Furniture?

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So you’ve found the perfect piece of quality antique furniture for your style and space– congratulations! That can be the tricky part! If you’re wondering “Should I wax my antique furniture? How do I take care of this piece of perfection?”, here are a few tips from our team at Wild West Vintage Decor. When it comes to caring for and waxing antique furniture, these tips can help you keep your furniture looking as beautiful as the day you found it!

Wild West Vintage | Furniture

The Benefits of Waxing Antique Furniture

Regularly waxing your wax furniture not only maintains its gorgeous appearance, but preserves its value and longevity, keeping it a piece to enjoy for generations to come. Using a high-quality wax revives a dull or dried-out finish, showcasing your furniture’s timeless charm. 

Antiques are an investment, and the only time you see them not appreciate in value is when they aren’t well-maintained and preserved properly. Quality antiques are highly sought after by dealers, designers, and people just like you and me, every day! Taking great care of your investment includes waxing your antique furniture, ensuring it stays as beautiful and valuable as the day you found it!

Is There a General Maintenance Schedule I Should Follow?

Once you’ve brought your antique furniture piece home, you’ll want to find the perfect spot for it and take care of it regularly to keep it looking great. Avoid areas near windows, as sunlight can cause your furniture’s finish to become brittle or cracked. Keep your furniture away from air conditioning and heating vents, as well as fireplaces and stoves, to prevent the wood from swelling or drying out.

Oftentimes people assume oils can prevent furniture from drying out and enhance the finish and appearance of a piece, but the truth is, over time, these oils actually degrade your furniture’s finish, leaving a residue that attracts dirt and build up. Wax is a better option, as it is stable, long lasting (but not permanent), and provides protection from moisture and dust.

It is recommended to apply a thin coat of wax to antique furniture annually, to keep your piece protected. In between waxing, maintenance of your furniture is simple and should include:

  • Blotting up spills immediately
  • Regular dusting of the furniture, using a slightly damp soft, lint free cloth or a soft dusting brush
  • Avoiding polishing brass and copper hardware on antiques, allowing the original finish and patina to be retained

How Do I Properly Wax My Antique Furniture?

When waxing your antique furniture, the idea is to create a protective layer of polish, allowing the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. Additionally, waxing adds a protective layer to antique furniture. Follow these tips for a fool-proof wax application:

If the surface to be polished is particularly dirty, clean it with a slightly damp cloth and wipe dry.

To begin, dust your furniture using a slightly damp soft, lint free cloth or dusting brush. If your furniture requires more than dusting, you can use a furniture-safe soap and a damp, lint free cloth to clean the item. Then wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth.

Lay a dust sheet on the floor if you are polishing in a sensitive environment.

Using a dust sheet on the floor is helpful as it captures all the dirt moving in the air, and protects your floors from the furniture wax.

Apply the wax sparingly to the surface with a soft cloth.

Starting from the bottom of the furniture and moving upward, use a soft cloth (cotton wool is nice) to apply the wax. Apply sparingly and spread across the furniture. When working on the hand-crafted design, begin at the center and move outward. 

Apply in small amounts, evenly, and in the direction of the grain (avoid over-application).

You’ll only need a small amount of wax on the cloth. If you apply too much wax, it will stick to itself and essentially rub off the furniture, wasting your time and effort. Move this small amount of wax evenly, in the direction of the grain. Smooth, even application is important not only for best results but to prevent scratching during application. 

(If you’re working on a large piece of furniture, you may want to consider working in sections.)

Allow to dry and harden for 20-30 minutes– put the kettle on, have a cup of tea.

Once you’ve finished applying the wax, let the furniture soak the wax and produce a smooth surface. Give yourself a 20-30 minute break and then check to see if the wax is hardened and is no longer tacky to the touch.

Buff with a clean cloth in the direction of the grain.

Once the wax is hardened, you’re ready to buff. Using a clean cloth, buff lightly to produce a satin sheen. If you want a higher gloss sheen on your antique furniture, buff more!

Following these simple tips can keep your antique furniture looking beautiful for years to come. And if you’re itching to get your hands on the perfect vintage or antique furniture finds for your space, come see us at Wild West Vintage Decor!

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