Wood is an essential element that is used everywhere around the house as flooring, furniture, windows, doors, cupboards and several other small and large items. The quality of wood that is used for varied requirements around the house depends on the price and purpose for which it is used and has to be maintained accordingly. Though wooden objects are tougher than those made of glass or porcelain they are vulnerable to stains from liquids and require protection from direct exposure to sunlight and regular application of wood polish to keep them shiny. Here are a few ways by which you can keep wooden surfaces in your home free of stains and enhance their beauty and longevity.
While decorating an elaborate table for a party the last thing you would wish is an ugly stain on the furniture or wooden floor that does not wash away easily. Though using mats, coasters and plates can protect the wood there are some liquids and food items that do not leave any stains if cleaned up quickly or wiped with a damp cloth. This charmingly arranged country style dining room with table made of hardwood does not stain easily but the candles that look like classic pieces of sculpture on the ornate iron stand in the middle of the table can leave ugly blobs of wax on the table. Protect the area where the wax is likely to fall with a thin sheet of transparent plastic. If there are marks of spilled food and drinks, sweating glasses or light scratches left by people dragging dishes on the table then clean them with a damp cloth or dab it away with mixture of water and baking soda.
Alcohol today is present in several daily use products like perfumes and lotions besides regular cocktails and can be disastrous on vintage furniture as it dissolves some finishes. Even wine and beverages like tea and coffee can leave stains on wood that do not have protective cover. The first step to prevent a alcoholic stain from seeping deep into the wood is to wash it off as fast as possible by draining the liquid with a blotting paper to absorb as much liquid as possible. Make a paste from a non-drying oil like lemon oil and mix rottenstone that is slightly abrasive to make a paste to clean the stain. First rub the paste onto the affected area with a clean rug and remove it immediately along with any oily residue that remains on the furniture.
Removing candle wax from wooden floors or tables is such a tedious job that it makes you wonder how people took care of their furniture and floors in older days when these were the only means of illumination after dark. The easiest way to remove candle drippings from a wood surface is to scrape off as much wax as possible with a stiff card and then slowly dab the stubborn wax with water to ensure that it comes off neatly. If the wax has removed the surface polish of your furniture then a light coat of polish will be required to restore its former glory. To avoid the problem of wax stains and spills on wood you can buy these beautiful scented candles from the London Candle Company that are sold with glass containers that retain the residue and do not cause any burn marks on wood either.
Accidental spills of oil drops on the table while serving food is common, but it is easily removable if you are able to clean it up within a few minutes of the spill. Removing old oil and grease stains is difficult as it can affect the finish too and may require polishing after stain removal. To remove new stains place a blotting paper on the stain and iron it with a warm iron but take care to see that it does not burn the wood.
Usually pigment stains are easier to clean than dye and can be brushed off after the moisture dries off but commercial pigment stains are hard to remove as the binder is like glue which is added to the mixture and holds the pigment to the wood. Furniture companies provide special pigment finishes to customers based on their requirements. To remove pigment stains from this dark table and restore its natural colour you would have to first use a chemical stripper like methylene chloride to remove the polyurethane before trying to sandpaper and remove the stain. Remember that these chemicals are very harsh and this operation has to be done outdoors to avoid getting overpowered by the fumes.
Any wooden furniture maker that you ask for tips about wood preservation will advise you to never rub liquid that falls on it as that will force the stain into the wood. Always keep blotting paper at home if you have expensive wood furniture or flooring as then you can easily absorb off the spilled liquid and then gently clean the area with soap and liquid. Be careful with dark wooden items especially when you are using rubbing alcohol as the cleaned surface will become whiter and will stand out.
For more essential tips on preserving your wood furniture and floors and keep them stain free, refer to this informative ideabook.