Tips for Preventing Furniture Damage

March 28, 2018

For years we have called on Art Self to handle furniture repairs and spot refinishing for our clients. He is a master at making scratches, dings, gouges and cracks disappear, and he fixes moving parts such as drawer glides and motion hardware, too.

Art is a third-generation furniture craftsman with 42 years’ experience. He learned his trade as an apprentice in his father’s shop and now works primarily with designers and furnishings vendors at the Merchandise Mart here in Chicago.

Images via Art Self

I caught up with him recently to get some tips on how to prevent furniture damage and keep your pieces looking beautiful and new for years to come. Here is his expert advice:

1. Make sure to use the correct cleaning supplies.

Most of today’s furniture has a durable, water-resistant clear coat that is pretty low-maintenance. Use a damp clean rag with water or mild dish detergent to clean the surface and a second clean, dry cloth to polish it.

Always wash and dry with the grain, don’t leave any water on the surface, and make sure you or your cleaning service use a soft, clean, all-cotton cloth such as a t-shirt or diaper. Dirt residue can actually cause scratches.

2. Protect against heat.

If you use placemats on a wood table, always insert a thin, insulated cork layer between the mat and table so that hot dishes won’t leave white rings. The heat loosens the clear coat, which cools quickly and causes damage.

3. Seal semi-gloss with paste wax.

Once or twice a year, protect your glossy or semi-gloss furniture with a layer of paste wax. It is much better than an aerosol product, which is not as durable or water resistant, and the sheen will bounce back much faster.

Image via Mohawk

4. Get a touch up marker for small issues.

For small nicks, purchase a matching fill stick and touch-up marker at a home center. Apply the fill, wipe off the excess and seal with the marker. That will tide you over until you get it spot finished.

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