It is not easy for a piece of furniture to shine out when it is more than a century old, especially if it has been disregarded and left sitting in a dirty, damp environment for a few decades.
To help you, here is some professional advice to keep your cherished antique items in the lustre and glory that they were created in.
Always avoid placing antique furniture in front of a window or direct sunlight.
Excessive heat, moisture and direct sunlight can do a lot of damage to any furniture, let alone an antique.
Maintain constant humidity whenever you can. Fluctuations in humidity work joints loose and sunlight will cause colours to fade and crack finishes.
Do not place antiques near air conditioning or sources of heat.
Be especially careful not to place your antique furniture near fireplaces or stoves. Wood can warp badly.
Blot up spills immediately.
If you do not do this you can be left with white hazing or nasty white rings where cups have been.
There are several ways to remove the white hazy ring or a spot made on your table from a teacup. Rub it with a mild abrasive such as toothpaste mixed with baking soda or even cooking oil mixed with ashes. Work it into a small spot with your pinkie or use a lint-free, soft cloth, for work on a larger area.
An alternative method is to place a soft cloth or towel over the spot and iron it in a circular motion, for short periods at a time on a medium setting.
Be sure to keep the iron moving and frequently check your development.
Dust regularly using a lint-free cloth.
Your antique furniture loves to be pampered too. Just be aware that you do not need to keep polishing, as there is already wax or oil sitting on the surface. It just needs to be re-activated.
Do your dusting along the grain of the wood or in a circular motion on glossy built-up surfaces.
Clean dirty surfaces first with oil soap, it is great for dirty wooden tops.
Tack cloths are a great option and can be bought from most good D.I.Y. centres.
Polishing with pastes and waxes.
Annually apply paste wax to add sheen and protect against moisture and remove excess wax, build-ups and overspills are unsightly.
For nifty touch ups use the shoe polish or a felt tip pen on scratches, especially to make them less detectable on the feet of furniture.
If polishing metal parts, remember to remove them from the furniture first. Use a quality metal polish to get them to buff up the lustre.
When dealing with valuable pieces try not to do any more than just give them a good cleaning. Anything more wide-ranging could impact adversely on the item’s value, if not done to a professional finish. Maybe look for a French polisher to finish the project and protect your investment.