Wood Furniture Care

Wood Furniture Care

The most common causes of damage to wooden furniture

  • Surfaces damaged by inappropriate use of abrasive cleaning products or substances that contain abrasives, ammonia, bleach, spirit or other aggressive chemicals; this includes D10 Sanitiser.
  • Burns caused by extremely hot items or liquids (using mats/coasters will avoid this).
  • Warping and bleaching caused by exposure to excessive sunlight (even in the UK!).
  • Warping and splitting caused by significant changes in temperature (between 10°-25°C is generally best).
  • Warping and splitting caused by excess humidity or changes in humidity.
  • Tables used outdoors, which, are not specified for outdoor use.

How does the colour of wood change over time?

The colour of wood gradually develops over time - this is part of the beauty of natural materials. Please read our guide to choosing your wood type to find out more.

Does the finish of wood affect the amount of light emitted from a bulb?

Ash, oak and walnut woods all emit a different quantity of light - finding the perfect light for your space is a key factor in enhancing your environment.

Wooden furniture care & cleaning

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 Wood furniture,   which has a top   layer of lacquer,   should be cleaned   with a product that   does not contain   ammonia as this   may be damaging.   We recommend you   clean lacquered   surfaces using a ‘   Relay Spray’   (available on the     internet). 

Relay Spray is also useful for other surface types, but if you are in any doubt, use warm water and liquid detergent or soap.

Maintenance of sealed wooden furniture

Seals require regular re-application – how regularly depends on the level of use and how often it has been cleaned/wiped. When the wood surface dulls, re-apply the seal.

If a sealed surface is showing marks and scratches, use fine sandpaper to remove the abrasions and then re-apply the seal to restore the original finish. Leading wood seal brands include Rustins and Liberon; types of specialised non-toxic seals include Linseed oil and Danish oil.

Maintenance of wooden furniture with a lacquer

Lacquer gives a secure layer of protection that can last for years. It usually requires merely cleaning with Relay Spray as above and a standard furniture polish, which will disguise shallow scratching.

But if the lacquer is chipped, it can be challenging to repair.

For shallow chips, which do not penetrate the lacquer, but may be unsightly, lightly sand the area with fine sandpaper, and then use furniture polish to shine the surface.

If the chip is more substantial, it can be touched-up, using a specialist product. We recommend using Behlen Jet Spray Clear Lacquer; please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If the wood under the lacquer has been damaged or discoloured, simply by exposure to air, sometimes the only option is to sand down the whole surface, a laborious process, but worth the result, then re-apply a finish similar to the original. 

Maintenance of wood specified for outdoor use (typically Iroko or Teak)

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Wooden outdoor furniture tends to weather to a silver-grey colour once it has been exposed to enough weather. Regular oiling will maintain this appearance and also protect the surface from drying, splintering and stains.

To maintain the appearance of un-weathered timber requires regular oiling and scrubbing – even so, the wood will tend to darken.

We recommend oiling furniture at least every six months using proprietary teak oil such as Ronseal, Osmo or Liberon (following the product’s instructions).

If the surface becomes rough, sand using fine sandpaper, then re-oil, 

however, after a little TLC (sanding and re-oiling as above) the furniture will soon be good as new.

Repair of chips and deep scratches in wooden surfaces.

Deep chips and scratches in wooden surfaces are usually unwelcome and can be particularly evident if they expose a different colour core.

Specialist products can fill chips and scratches; different colours allow matching of the original surface colour. Leading products include wax repair sticks by Mann's or Liberon. Following the manufacturers’ instructions concerning the maintenance of wood furniture is particularly essential. Also available are Touch Up marker pens which are very good for surface-level scratches. 


Solid wooden table tops often are supplied with wood reinforcing batons on their underside. If removed, the tabletop is likely to warp.