Maintaining Your Fine Wood Pieces

  • Maintaining Your Fine Wood Pieces

Adding a statement piece to your home can change the way a room feels, and can create a mood, add a sense of drama, or reflect your personality in a room. Elemental design, which incorporates wood, metal, or glass features to bring a sense of the outdoors inside, is a great way to make a statement while making a room feel organic and unique. 

Wood pieces are a beautiful addition to almost any decor. With their organic shapes, interesting lines, and warm tones, wood pieces stand out, while tying a room together. They can become a part of different decor choices, and wood complements almost any choice of furniture or room design. However, these pieces require special attention and care to keep them from drying out, aging, cracking, or breaking. Properly maintaining your fine wood pieces is an essential part of ensuring that your statement pieces will be a part of your decor for years to come.

Use Soap And Water Sparingly

Soap and water are a great team to clean almost anything. However, when it comes to your wood pieces, both should be used with care. Anyone who has ever tried to remove water rings from a wooden table can attest to the damage water can cause. Wood is porous, and can absorb water, causing swelling, warping or cracking. Water can also cause discoloration on your wood pieces, damaging the finish. When soap is introduced, it can strip the natural oils out of wood surfaces, causing them to crack or become discolored. Although there are times soap and water cannot be avoided — for example, if a buildup of furniture polish has caused your wood pieces to appear cloudy or discolored — we recommend using them sparingly, and carefully to avoid damage to the natural beauty of the wood.

When using soap and water, be cautious. Do not submerge a wooden cutting board into a sink full of hot water, or allow water to stand on a table or bench. Using a soft microfiber cloth and a soap and water solution, gently wipe the surface, then immediately dry the wood with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Avoid submerging or soaking wood pieces, and never place them in the dishwasher.

Mineral Oil Is Your Friend

Because wood is a natural material, all wood pieces will become dry over time. As wood dries out, it becomes brittle, and can crack, split, or break. Oil, however, seeps into wood and moisturizes it, protecting from changes in humidity that can cause damage. Oil and wax products are the best way to maintain your wood pieces, but knowing which products to use, and when, is critical. 

The term “mineral oil” is nonspecific, and can refer to a number of different oils. It generally refers to an oil with higher alkanes (nine or more carbon atoms) that comes from a mineral source, and which is usually derived from petroleum. Unlike other types of cooking oils, which contain unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, mineral oil does not oxidize or become rancid, making it an excellent choice for many uses, including biomedical, industrial, and mechanical applications. 

Food-grade mineral oil is your friend when it comes to maintaining your wood pieces, particularly wood pieces that will be used in the kitchen, including olive wood bowls or utensils, and cutting boards. 

Mineral oil is the best choice for any items that will be in contact with food. If it is rated “food-grade,” it is safe for human consumption, and it will not spoil or become rancid the way olive or vegetable oils can. It is also an excellent choice for olive wood pieces, which are dense and hard, but which can still be susceptible to cracking or warping if not protected. “Seasoning” these pieces with mineral oil helps to prevent drying and cracking, as well as providing a layer of protection against water or food borne particles, which might otherwise penetrate the porous wood. 

To season a wooden item, apply a thin layer of oil all over the item, and allow the oil to dry. After 10-20 minutes, simply wipe off the excess oil. Olive wood pieces do not need to be seasoned after every use, but should be oiled if they appear dull or dry.

Mineral oil can also be safely used to oil other types of wood, including teak, acacia, or oak pieces. Regularly oiling these pieces can keep them well preserved and safe for years.

Is Wax Necessary?

For most wood furniture pieces, owners prefer to use a lacquer or resin finish to seal wood surfaces that will face a great deal of wear and tear. Once sealed, these pieces are no longer susceptible to the elements. However, for antique or accent pieces, an artist or woodworker may choose a wax finish. Wax provides a natural look, and for pieces that are not subject to wear and tear, can be a beautiful way to finish a piece. Wax can also be used to add luster to a wood piece that has been lacquered or sealed, filling in minor imperfections and creating a warm luster.

If you choose to add wax to your wood pieces, be aware that over time, wax can attract dust and dander, and can take on a dull or cloudy appearance. If that happens, simply wipe the wax finish off with soap and water (being careful not to let water sit or pool on the surface), and reapply to the clean, dry surface. 

Need A Partner Who Knows How To Care For Your Fine Wood Pieces? We’re Here to Help

Here at Sweeping Dimensions, we know how to care for your most precious items, and we can ensure that your items receive the care and attention they deserve. 

We also believe in passing along our green cleaning knowledge, whenever we can. We love to talk all things cleaning and organizing, including the strategies that can make taking care of your home a more sustainable and enjoyable practice. The more people we can bring together in our mission for a healthier world, the better off our planet will be! 

So, if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, starting a new composting practice, or making a sustainable swap in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch — we’re always happy to talk shop and try to make a difference, however we can. 

At SDCS, we’re sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going.

Curious about what steps you can take to have a positive impact on the environment, in your kitchen or beyond? Want to talk about the best ways to set up an environmentally friendly cleaning for your Chicago home? Contact us today for your free service estimate!

2022-01-25T21:06:47+00:00 January 5th, 2022|Residential Cleaning|