State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500268
Cleaning Furniture with Painted Finishes
Dust with a water-dampened cloth. When very soiled wash with a solution
of mild, non-abrasive detergent and warm water. Wring a cloth nearly
dry and work on a small section at a time, then rinse with clear water.
Dry the surface quickly before continuing.
Waxes and polishes are usually not needed. If waxes are used, use white
creamy type on light painted items to avoid discoloration. Never use
oil, oil polishes, or oil- treated cloths on painted furniture. Hand
rubbing with polishes may remove painted decorations.
Although painted surfaces can be carefully touched up with matching
paint, the results may look patched. Whenever possible try to remove
spots and scuff marks by washing or cleaning with all-purpose household
cleaners. Sanding with even a fine abrasive may change the luster of
the sanded spot, especially if the finish has been antiqued. If
extensive damage has been done, the piece will need repainting. A very
old piece with its original finish should usually not be repainted or
refinished. By doing so you remove the indications of its authenticity
and thereby destroy its antique value.
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus,
with references from Wisconsin Extension bulletin, Care, Cleaning and
Minor Repairs of Furniture Surfaces.
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educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade
names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those
not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon
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status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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