How do you care for antiques?
Antiques can be extremely delicate – which is why it’s extremely important to learn how to care for them properly. Different types of antiques require different manners of care. For example, an antique wooden table would require different care to a brass jug or a soft-furnished chair. In order to find the best way to care for particular types of antiques – especially rare antiques – do some research by reading up online, asking questions in forums, visiting the library or consulting a professional.
When it comes to day-to-day care, there are some important rules to follow. Keep antiques out of direct sunlight, as it can degrade wood, fabric and finishes. Antiques should also be kept away from sources of heat and cold, such as heaters, fireplaces and air conditioning units. Exposure to humidity can lead to rot, mould growth and insect infestation. If humidity is a problem, use a humidifier or dehumidifier to counteract the problem. Check for pests regularly. Borer holes in wood should be treated immediately by an exterminator.
Many antiques owners are wary of cleaning their treasured possessions – and for good reason. Cleaning, refurbishing and refinishing antiques can vastly decrease their value. Again, check with a professional before undertaking anything significant. Try using a soft brush to remove dust, and a soft cloth to remove build-up. Wet cleaning can cause damage, especially on fabrics. Check for wear on the item, as areas of wear may need to be treated differently or repaired. On wooden surfaces, avoid silicon oil and furniture oils, as they can cause the surface to degrade. Instead, try furniture paste wax. Avoid over-polishing copper and brass items, as this may remove the patina – and the item’s value.