How should one care for old furniture that’s made of completely untreated wood?
Old furniture made of untreated wood – wood to which no protective layer/varnish has been applied — often has open pores. Dust and dirt can easily collect in these pores. To avoid dirt becoming ingrained more deeply in the wood, it’s important to dust frequently with a dry cloth. Preferably, use a clean microfibre or cotton cloth. Switch to the other side of the cloth once you see dust accumulating on the first side. If a surface isn’t completely smooth, you can also remove dust by using a paintbrush and a vacuum cleaner. Top tip: At the museum, we fasten some mesh (a piece of nylon stocking) over the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner, in order to avoid it sucking up small, loose fragments. You should also decrease the suction power of the vacuum cleaner before you start.
When furniture isn’t in use and is just standing in storage, I’d recommend protecting the surfaces by covering items with cloths.
Kind regards from Merle, furniture conservator
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