The Feed-the-Furniture Myth is Hogwash

by: Ed Mayorga

There is no product that penetrates into the wood with modern finishes (post 1750’s) which use shellac, lacquers (post-catalyzed and pre-catalyzed), urethanes and varnishes. These finishes were applied primarily to protect the wood. To penetrate this finish would harm the finish and the wood.

Manufacturers of furniture care products imply that your furniture will like their lemon, orange and citrus products. Don’t believe it. Products that come out of an aerosol spray can contain silicones.

Silicones are not good for furniture. They are polymer that can penetrate many finishes, soften them and make them sticky. When people call me and complain that furniture is sticky or has a cloudy haze and doesn’t feel hard, I ask if they use Pledge or many of the other sprays that contain silicones. Avoid using any cleaner containing ammonia or other solvents.

My philosophy on the care of your furniture is simply to clean and protect. To clean, I suggest a damp cloth if there is minor soiling. Dust is a pumice, like sandpaper. Rubbing dust into a finish, can and will damage the finish. When a piece of furniture is waxed or polished there is always a fine layer of dust that is mixed in with the wax or polish and over a period of years the layer will darken and obscure the grain pattern of the wood.

The best way to clean this aging growth is to lightly scrub with 0000 steel wool and a cleaner. Too much scrubbing may damage the topcoat which will have to be replaced. Interested in removing the grime and smell…smoke? Mold? Try TSP, aka trisodium phosphate. However, if you fail to dilute this sufficiently, you may damage the finish.

For more information contact:
            Master Craftsmen Services, Inc.
            Ed Mayorga  
            97 Heathcliff Rd.
            Wilmington, NC 28409
            (910) 793-5945