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Cleaning and Caring for Solid Oak Furniture

Furniture that is handmade from solid oak will look great and it offers a durability that is unmatched by most of the common factory made pieces. However, you will need to care for your oak furniture to make sure that it maintains that great look. With the right care, a well made piece of solid oak furniture will last the purchaser a lifetime and it is something that they could even pass down to the next generation.

Ways to Make Sure Your Oak Furniture Lasts a Lifetime!


Proper cleaning is an important part of maintaining oak furniture and this is one of the places where many people make mistakes. If you have never owned oak furniture before, then you may think that it is okay to use the same cleansers and cleaning processes that you would with other pieces, but solid wood furniture requires specific care.

Firstly, you want to avoid using the chemical cleansers that you might use on other surfaces. Generally, you just want to dust and polish the wood to keep it clean. If you find a stain or a mess that needs to be removed, then wiping it off with a damp cloth can work, but you want to make sure to dry the wood immediately.

Avoid Wetness

Allowing water to come into contact with solid oak furniture is alright, but you do not want to allow water to sit on the surface. When water is allowed to sit on the wood, it can sink in and leave marks. For the most part, these marks will disappear, but if enough water sinks in, it can damage the finish. If water or another liquid spills on the wood, don’t let it sit. Get a clean, dry cloth and immediately dry the wood. If you have an oak table, you want to make sure to always use coasters with your drinks and a set of placemats can protect the table when you eat.

Heat and Light

The environmental conditions that the furniture is exposed to can have an effect on the wood. If the furniture is exposed to sunlight, it could fade the finish. This will be especially noticeable if only part of the piece is exposed to the sun or if there is an object on the furniture that protects the area under it from the sun’s rays.

An additional concern is placing the furniture near a heat source. If you have a radiator or a fireplace, you should try to place the furniture a good distance from the source of heat. Prolonged exposure to high heat can discolor the wood and the dry air can make the wood more brittle over time.

Refinish the Wood

A good finish will go a long way toward protecting a piece of oak furniture, but the finish does not last forever. When the furniture is starting to look a little old and worn, you will need to have it refinished. A new finish can go a long way toward restoring the look of an aged piece of wood furniture, it can provide a piece with a completely new look if you want to change its character and it will provide it with the protection that it needs. For the most part, putting a new finish on a piece of oak is something that can be done at home, but there are professionals that will refinish, restore and repair oak furniture.

Scratches, Nicks and Marks

Even with the best of care, a piece of furniture could still suffer some kind of damage. For minor scratches and dings, there are products like waxes and oils that can be used to lessen the appearance or fill the scratch. However, if the damage is more severe, it may require a skilled furniture repair expert to address the situation. You would probably be surprised by how well some of these professionals can recover a piece of wood that seems irreparably damaged.

If you have never owned oak furniture, then the idea of caring for it might make you a little nervous. While this is understandable, there is really no need to worry. Oak is a fairly resilient material and the care is simple and straightforward. Even with the minimal amount of care, a piece of oak furniture will last a long time and since you spent the money to get a nice piece of oak furniture, you should protect that investment by following the correct practices for care.