Commercial Wood Cleaners

You'll find these on the shelf at your home center. Some of them have fancy names to indicate that they "condition" the wood, so you'll have to read the labels to locate the product you want.

You want a product designed to remove old wax and dirt. Mosj.of these products are based on a formulation using either turpentine or mineral spirits. Most refin-ishers prefer the mineral spirit formulations. Mixtures that offer conditioning as well as cleaning properties usually contain an oil of some type, which is deposited on

You can use warm water and a detergent to clean furniture, but this is best saved for enameled furniture.

the chair is stored in a basement or attic, where it gets an extra dose of dust and dirt. The finish may be almost black by the time you get ready to work on it. We have seen cases where the buildup of film was '/m of an inch thick, so thick and black we couldn't tell what kind of wood was under it.

AN that dirt can hide not only the wood and the finish, but also cracks and other serious wood damage. With the dirl stripped away, you'll see the full extent of any damage that must be repaired, and you may have to revise your original list of repairs to be made.

There are three basic ways to clean furniture. The one you select depends in part

52 Checking the Finish / How to Take Apart Wood Joints the wood as it is cleaned. Since you want to clean down to the bare finish, you don't want a conditioner. Skip these products and select those designed specifically for wax and dirt removal.

Step 1: Preparing the Product Most mineral spirit formulations work best when the atmosphere is warm (70 degrees F. or warmer) and when they themselves have been warmed a bit. Do not heat any of these products over an open flame, such as the burner on a gas stove ' Place the can of cleaner in a container of hot water for )() minutes.

Step 2: Applying the Product For the right way to use a commercial wood cleaner, read the manufacturer's directions. (Please do it. Many people read directions only as a last resort — when the first attempt to use the product didn't work.) Generally, you are told to dip a soft, clean cloth (cheesecloth is excellent) in the cleaner, and to then wipe it over the surface of the furniture. The idea is to apply a coat of the cleaner and let it stand for 10 minutes or so, to allow the chemicals do their work. After the old wax has been softened, you wipe the piece again with a cloth dampened with cleaner to remove the residue.

If the piece is very dirty, you may have to repeat the process several times. Some people like to rub and scrub the surface, but it isn't necessary. The mineral spirits will do their work if you let them. Use an old toothbrush or small cotton swabs to get into corners and into carvings.

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