When owning an antique you may feel more like its caretaker than its owner. As you should! Many antiques will outlast us, and it is our duty to preserve them for the next generations to enjoy.

But caring for antique wooden furniture takes some skill and some know-how. Luckily, it’s not too hard to learn. So if you’re the caretaker of some precious antiques, read on to learn how to best care for them.

Dusting Antique Wooden Furniture

Dust accumulates everywhere and on everything, including your antiques, and that’s OK. But make sure you regularly dust the wooden parts of your antique furniture. To do this you should use a soft cotton cloth, not a disposable dusting cloth.

Keeping the dut off of your antiques will prevent oil and other debris from building up on the surface, clogging the pores of the wood. It will also help prevent it from acquiring any funky smells.


Wet Cleaning Antique Wood

It is generally a bad idea to introduce moisture to wood, especially if the wood is very old and valuable. Using water on a delicate antique has the potential to lift the veneer.

A damp cloth could come in handy for removing any recent stains, as long as you don’t press too hard on the surface and force the moisture into the wood or finish.

To remove other stains you could try rubbing a small amount of beeswax in a circular motion. This will usually do the trick, but again, don’t push too hard as it will leave a mark.


You’ll want to preserve the nice patina your antique has acquired over the years, and waxing is one good way to do that. Waxing with beeswax or a high-quality polish enhances the color and grain of the wood. It also provides protection.

Gently apply the polish to the wood in small circular motions, then buff with a soft, lint-free, dry cloth. And remember to always test a new polish on an inconspicuous area first, in case of a bad reaction with the wood.

When polishing the wooden parts of antique furniture, take great care to avoid getting polish onto your upholstery. The wax has the potential to leave an unsightly stain on your fabric.

Refinishing Antique Wood

It is advisable to leave the finish of your antique alone. Some owners try to refinish their antique to improve its appearance. However, this greatly reduces the value and destroys the antique patina which is so highly sought after.

Though if refinishing is necessary, call on a professional like D C Keeton Home Improvements to properly restore your antique wooden furniture.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors such as sunlight, heat, humidity, and pollutants all pose a threat to the longevity of your antique furniture. Direct sunlight will cause the wood to fade. Changes in humidity will cause wood to either swell, shrink, or in extreme cases, crack.

Central heating poses a threat of drying out your wood, so serious owners keep humidifiers in the room with the antique.

How to Care for Antique Wooden Furniture

By following the steps in this guide, you’ll be taking good care of your antique wooden furniture. However, if more serious care is needed, call in a professional to avoid hurting the value of your antique.

If you found this article helpful, check out the rest of our blog for more great information.