A bustling family is no reason to live with furniture that is anything but perfect. Maintaining wood furniture, even a wood as luxurious as teak, isn't too much of a challenge if you are willing to spend a little extra time -- and to deal with some seriously vile fumes. With a little know-how, your furniture will stay in good-enough shape to last for generations.
Good furniture is an heirloom, and cleanliness is the key to protecting your furniture long term. Clean the wood completely every few weeks using a damp cloth. Use an old toothbrush to force the cloth into any nooks or crannies to prevent dust build-up in the hard-to-reach places, or enlist the help of the kids with their handy tiny fingers. Let the wood dry completely after a good scrub before setting anything on it.
Just like skin, wood needs some good moisturizing and care. At least once a year, put on some thick rubber gloves and rub oil into the wood using a soft cloth, but only after you have cleared the family out -- teak oil is toxic, not to mention its very unpleasant odor. Just to be safe, wear a mask or respirator while working so you don't inhale the fumes. Pour the oil into the cloth rather than pouring the oil onto the wood, or you run the risk of staining the wood. Once you have covered every bit, wipe up any excess with a dry cloth and let it sit for a while in an area that is inaccessible to prying fingers, because drying teak oil is super sticky. Apply a second coat of oil just to make sure that every bit of the wood has been covered.
3. Dents and Dings
Gouges and scratches are inevitable. Even the neatest family can't help but ding wood now and again -- it's just the nature of the beast. Fill small nicks and gouges using wood putty and a putty knife. Push a little putty into the hole with your finger and smooth over it with a plastic putty knife until the putty is flush with the table. Go over the putty, once it has dried, with a little wood scratch polish. For smaller scratches, use the scratch polish alone without the putty.
A good weekly dusting will help your furniture shine, but beyond just keeping it pretty, dusting also helps prevent scratches from grit being dragged underneath plates and cups. If the kids spill water or other liquids on the wood -- it's always convenient to blame it on the kids -- clean it up as quickly as possible. Protect your furniture from damaging sunlight by placing it out of direct sunlight or, if that isn't feasible, close the curtains or blinds during the sunny hours.
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