How To Care for a Wood Table

A solid wood table is a good investment.  Depending on the type of wood, color, and design, it can either be elegant or rustic.  They come in different shapes and sizes.  A wood table can be used as a dining table, living room table, study table or side table. This type of table is easy to care for if you know how.

Caring for a wood table

Your solid wood table can last a lifetime by following these tips:

  1. Environment.  Situate the table away from direct heat sources like radiators, wood stoves or heating ducts.  Extreme heat can cause a wooden table to split.  On the other hand, keep the table away from extreme levels of humidity that can cause the wood to swell or warp. Do not subject it to direct sunlight because this can cause the finish to fade.
  2. Care and Use.  Use a non-scratch pad under all cold, hot, wet, moist or sharp objects.  Never drag objects across the top of the table to protect the finish.  Avoid placing things made of plastic or rubber directly on top of the table.  Plastic and rubber can react to the wood’s finish.  When writing on the table, make sure to put a thick pad under the paper so the point of the pen does not come in contact with the table.  Never use alcohol, nail polish remover or other solvents near wood tables since these can damage the finish.
  3. Cleaning.  Dust your table carefully using a soft cloth.  Remove any abrasive particles on top.   Clean the table with water and soap that is mild and non-alkaline.  Place some soap suds on a soft, lint-free damp cloth or sponge and gently wipe the table.  Make sure to test the suds on a small section of the underside of the table to ensure it doesn’t destroy the finish.  After wiping, immediately dry the table using a soft cloth.  Buff the table lightly.  Always follow the grain of the wood when wiping the table.  When spills occur, blot the spill instead of wiping it.
  4. Polishing.  Use a manufacturer approved polish on your table.  Never use wax or silicone polish.

Solutions to common problems

Here are the most common damages to wood tables and their solutions:

  1. Cigarette burns.  Rub the burnt portion with a mixture of linseed oil and rottenstone.  Follow the grain of the wood as you rub the paste.  You can also use a scratch-concealing polish.
  2. Watermarks.   Rub the watermark with mayonnaise or salad oil then wipe dry.  If this doesn’t work, get a thick piece of blotter, run a warm iron over it and repeat until the water mark disappears.Nail polish.  Immediately blot the spill.  Rub the area of the spill with a very fine steel wool that you dipped in Guardsman Furniture Polish.  Use a soft, clean cloth to dry the area.
  3. White marks.  Make a mixture of cigarette ashes and salad oil. Rub this on white mark then dry off.
  4. Gum or candle wax.  Get an ice cube, wrap it in a soft cloth then rub the gum or wax.  Once it hardens, pry off the substance with your fingernail.  Using an extra-fine steel wool, dip this in mineral spirits and rub the area.  Dry the area immediately.

Clean the wood table often and use soft pads under objects that can cause damage to the table’s finish.  Any fine wood table is an investment that you should protect.  Keeping the table in good condition ensures that it will last many, many years.


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