When you buy high-quality solid wood furniture—like, say, the beautiful mid-century modern pieces crafted by Heywood-Wakefield—it’s an investment worth protecting. Along with standard wood furniture care, some extra precautions are beneficial when the weather turns hot and humid. That’s where these summer care tips for wood furniture come in.
Extended hours of sunlight, high temperatures, high atmospheric humidity, and other issues and lifestyle factors that come along in the summertime can negatively affect the appearance and health of fine wood furniture. Some also pose threats to upholstery fabrics.
So, follow these summer care tips for wood furniture, and the pieces in your home shouldn’t suffer any ill effects from the season.
Protecting Wood Furniture in the Summer
- Keep your wood furniture out of direct sunlight, either by its placement or by closing the blinds, curtains, or shades at appropriate times. The light can fade the wood and upholstery fabrics. Also, prolonged exposure to the hot summer sunlight may warp the wood.
- Maintain atmospheric humidity around 40 to 45 percent. Summer’s high humidity levels can lead to warping and damage in wood furniture. Run your air conditioning and use a de-humidifier as necessary.
- Try to prevent big swings in the environmental humidity level. The wood absorbs and releases moisture with fluctuations, causing swelling and shrinking that can eventually lead to misshapen or cracked furniture.
- Don’t place wood furniture directly below an air conditioning vent or unit. Condensation can form on their cold surfaces in the summer heat, which may drip onto your furniture. Such repeated exposure to dripping water can deform or discolor the wood or upholstery.
- Refrain from placing that glistening glass of cold water, lemonade, or iced tea directly on the surface of your wood furniture. Use a coaster or keep drinks off the furniture altogether. If it does get wet, soak up the liquid promptly with a clean, soft cloth.
- Termites are most active during the summer. Use pest control services and products as needed, and check your wood furniture regularly for holes or piles of insect feces and wood dust.
- Dust the wood with a slightly dampened, soft cloth and use a small, lightweight, easily maneuverable vacuum on the upholstery at least once per week. This is especially important for furniture sitting near an open window or a screen door; dust, pollen, and other small debris can also waft in with that nice summer breeze.
- Make sure the kids take off those dirty shoes when they come back in the house, before they jump onto the furniture!
- Similarly, if the dog comes back in after a romp in the mud or a long frolic in the yard, be sure to clean her off before she gets on the furniture.
- When you’re hosting a barbecue, Memorial Day get-together, 4th of July party, Labor Day gathering, or doing other summertime entertaining and you’ll be putting out hot food, put trivets on your wood table and other wood surfaces where hot dishes will go. Also, place coasters all around for your guests to use.