What's best for maintaining wood and leather furniture?
August 18, 2010 4:12 PM   Subscribe

For the first time in my life, I have real furniture! Can you help me keep it nice?

No cardboard or vinyl, this time. Finally, I have a couple of pieces of furniture with real hardwood and actual leather upholstery. I'd like to learn how to keep these pieces nice. What's you best advice for periodically nurturing wood and leather? Is Murphy's Wood Oil still a respectable solution? And I hear good things about Leather CPR for restoring damaged leather, but what about simply maintaining brand new leather?

Thanks in advance for your advice and insights.
posted by browse to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was just purchasing some Dr. Bronner's citrus-scented soap and quite a few of the reviews online mentioned that its castor oil base was surprisingly very very good at cleaning leather furniture.

Dr. Bronner, how I heart thee.
posted by HeyAllie at 4:59 PM on August 18, 2010

You don't have cats.
posted by ovvl at 5:13 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Watch what you (and your guests) have in your back pockets prior to sitting down, for instance, keys jutting out like dull jagged knives, waiting to scar your nice leather.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:58 PM on August 18, 2010

Do you have any pets? Kill them.1

1 Actually, don't. Just accept that their lives are more important than your furniture and that this will some day be tested when they inevitably do something Very Bad and you will resign yourself to your sacrificial offering to the gods of domesticated animals.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:07 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

A damp cloth for leather. Periodically (2x-3x per year), I apply wax to my wenge dining room table. If you have detritus stuck to wood, diluted liquid hand soap works best.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:19 PM on August 18, 2010

I swear by Old English Scratch Remover as my go to wood polish. There are formulas for dark and light finishes. I probably use it on my dining room table two or three times a year. Makes it super pretty.
posted by freshwater at 8:59 PM on August 18, 2010

beware of bedbugs!!
posted by whalebreath at 12:06 AM on August 19, 2010

Leather lotion is awesome for periodically cleaning leather furninture (1-2x per year), otherwise just wet a rag, wring it out (you don't actually want the leather to get wet), and wipe it down.

I've found Murphy's (for cleaning) and Old English (for polishing) to be pretty much unbeatable for wood care.
posted by brand-gnu at 6:35 AM on August 19, 2010

Don't use Murphy's on nice wood furniture. It's not likely you'll ever get it that dirty. I like a nice paste beeswax, a soft cloth and a lot of rubbing.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:04 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

As a furniture maker, I wholeheartedly second the beeswax, regardless of the finish that is already on the pieces (probably a light finish of polyurethane). Briwax is an excellent product you can readily find or order.

The more coats the better. A buildup of well buffed coats gives over time a rich, buttery finish that only gets nicer over time. The idea is that anything that lands on the table affects the wax, and not the piece underneath...especially light scratches. You just lightly scrape the surface wax (with a finely burnished woodworkers scraper...not a paint scraper) and apply more wax to the area and buff it out to blend in with the rest of the finish. It's super easy and requires no specialskill to maintain. It's a finish that can't go wrong in too many ways. Other types of buildups get cloudy and hold dirt as they build up. They are really just meant to give the immediate satisfaction of a shine, not the protection quality furniture deserves.
posted by nickjadlowe at 9:09 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

A rag dampened with a mild soap and water solution for the leather, followed occasionally (once a year) with nourishing leather cream. I have pets and my leather sofa still looks good after eight years or so.

For my wood antique furniture I use beeswax. I apply a thin coat once a year, then I let the wax stay on about one hour before buffing. Dusting with a feather duster in between yearly waxing is enough.
posted by francesca too at 12:20 PM on May 20, 2011

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