Posted on January 25 2021
There are a few material types that are very common among rustic or vintage furniture collections, and one of these is reclaimed wood. Referring to wood that's retrieved from an original application and repurposed for future use, reclaimed wood is known for both its durability and its unique style, one that's often perfect for the rustic design you're looking to create in your home or office.
At Urban 9-5, we're happy to offer a wide range of reclaimed wood products among our industrial desks, workstations and other office furniture, helping you achieve not only a rustic design for your space, but also a highly functional setup. In addition to offering these products at fantastic prices, we're also happy to offer our expertise on how to care for and maintain any of our furniture pieces. How should you go about cleaning and caring for reclaimed wood furniture once you've purchased it? Here's a general primer.
Like all forms of solid wood, reclaimed wood can benefit significantly from regular general cleaning. This will include removing dust and dirt that's settled on the surface of the wood, as well as removing any stains or other discolorations that may have developed over time.
To effectively clean your reclaimed wood furniture, you'll want to use a general cleaning solution typically used for solid wood furniture. A water and stain remover is best, particularly one with a lower ammonia content than most. Avoid any cleaners that contain bleach, as this will discolor the wood and whiten its color, which you don't want.
With a clean cloth, simply rub the cleaner into the surface of your furniture piece and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping it back off with another dry cloth. You can go over the surface twice with your cleaning solution if you'd like, allowing it a few minutes to settle into the wood between applications. Do this lightly, though, as heavy scrubbing will not only mar and scratch your reclaimed wood furniture, but also wear it out over time.
Protect it from Sunlight
Occasional direct sunlight on reclaimed wood is just fine, but you want to avoid leaving it out in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. Wood that is highly exposed to direct sunlight over long periods of time will dry out and crack. This can also happen if you live in a humid environment or area, as the evaporated moisture from your home's air will make its way into your reclaimed wood furniture and cause it to dry out, leading to shrinkage and cracking.
To keep your reclaimed wood furniture from drying out due to sunlight, simply keep it out of said light for the majority of the day. If needed, take the time to track the times of day when the wood might be in the sun's path, and consider window treatments or other strategies to protect it.
Keep Moisture Out
With several forms of wood, including reclaimed wood, moisture is the enemy. When water infiltrates the surface of the wood and begins to penetrate the fibers below, you'll end up with a number of different issues that can affect your long-term quality, including risks like bowing, warping and more.
To stop this from happening, make sure that you're storing your reclaimed wood furniture pieces in an environment that's well-ventilated but dry. Humidity is a concern here, as previously mentioned, so be sure to pay close attention while moving your furniture if you live in an especially humid area. Some settings may require a humidifier at certain times of year to keep the air from becoming too dry and leading to cracks in the wood; others will require a dehumidifier to remove moisture content from the air and avoid warping or bowing.
In addition, consider covering the surface of any wood that's exposed when storing or displaying it. A simple cotton cloth or other muslin is all you need, and this will help keep dust and dirt off the surface of the wood itself, preventing scratches and other types of incidental damage.
Keep Temperature Stable
Rapid changes in temperature are also not ideal for wood, especially reclaimed wood. You want to be sure that you're storing or displaying your furniture at a stable temperature, regardless of the current weather around you.
A large fluctuation in temperature can cause wood pieces to warp, bow and otherwise develop complications over time. There are plenty of strategies for dealing with this issue, including placing your wood pieces in a temperature-regulated environment such as a basement or closet that's insulated and climate-controlled.
Never Use Harsh Cleaners
As we touched on above, cleaning of reclaimed wood should only be done with mild, non-abrasive cleaners. Harsh chemicals will not only remove the dirt and grime from your wood's surface, but they can also eat away at the fibers below it.
Your goal with cleaning wood furniture is to get a clean surface that isn't damaged by the effects of harsh cleaners, which means you'll want to avoid anything abrasive or strong enough to do damage as much as possible. There are even some common wood cleaner products that will be too harsh for use here, especially those that contain either ammonia or silicone -- these are elements that are highly likely to damage the surface rather than cleaning it.For more on how to care for your reclaimed wood office furniture, or to learn about any of our rustic or vintage furniture options, speak to the staff at Urban 9-5 today.