When it comes to the care of historic fixed interior woodwork, keep it simple. Here are some basic guidelines for cleaning your interior historic woodwork:
1) Woodwork and moldings should be dusted with a soft cloth. If your woodwork has not been dusted for awhile, a soft brush can be used to push dust into the nozzle of a running vacuum. To avoid scraping, denting, or other damage, do not use the vacuum nozzle directly on the woodwork.
2) Waxing will only be needed every few years. Too much waxing can cause more harm than good. If you feel you need to wax your woodwork, avoid linseed oil as, over time, it can cause a build up which will trap dust. Prepare the woodwork by carefully washing with a mild soap and water solution, then dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth. When the surface is completely dry, it can be lightly waxed. Be sure to use only a quality unstained beeswax with turpentine.
3) Avoid spray polishes, chemical solvents and cleaners containing silicone.
4) Never use an oil without the advice of a professional. Oils can darken woodwork irreversibly, and attact dust and dirt, making it harder to clean in the future.
5) Stripping and refinishing historic woodwork and molding can change the appearance of the wood permanently. On historic furniture and in historic homes, it can impact the value. Therefore, in exceptional circumstances, stripping and refinishing should only be done by a professional.
6) Avoid abrasives as they may scrape and damage historic surfaces or remove historic finishes. Also, avoid steel/wire wool which leaves particles embedded in the wood grain and over time will react if exposed to dampness or humidity.
7) If your woodwork is dry and unfinished, do not apply wax, beeswax, turpentine, oils, spray polishes or solvents. Simply dust unfinished historic woodwork lightly with a lint free cloth.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the care and cleaning of historic woodwork, or if you need your historic woodwork repaired, please contact Cedars Woodworking at 717-392-1736.