Ah, the thrill of finding an awesome vintage dresser…you know the feeling, the rush of excitement from finding such an amazing deal on such a sturdy, beautiful masterpiece (or shall I say, soon to be masterpiece ;o)). We’ve all been there and trust me, I don’t judge one bit.
You get that beast home, fully ready to transform it into a beauty! You clean it up, paint it, give it a little distressing and protect it with wax. Its ready to go and you couldn’t be prouder! But now that the work is done, how do you make sure your hard work lasts and your newly found dresser stays beautiful for years to come?
Taking care of your newly painted piece is often overlooked and/or treated as an afterthought. We get used to our daily routines and cleaning practices and don’t necessarily think about how we are caring for our painted furniture.
Good news: Caring for your piece is easier than you think
Bad news: If not done properly, you could wear down the surface and hurt all the hard work you put into your piece
First things first, it is a best practice to protect your newly painted piece with our All Natural Furniture Wax or our Protective Finish. This will add a layer of protection right off the bat. Chalky finish paints are known to have a very matte finish and because of that, the paint by itself tends to attract dust and could absorb water from (let’s say) an ice-cold pop can that is set on top of it.
Let’s start with what NOT to do when cleaning your painted furniture. Avoid harsh chemicals. Seriously. This is especially true when you’ve used wax. Things like bleach or other harsh household cleaners should never be used on the surface. Over time, it will break down the wax and I’ve even seen it make the wax turn into small ball like shapes that collect dust and debris – trust me, it’s not a pretty sight. Even your everyday furniture polishes can have ingredients that are harmful to a waxed surface. So, ditch the Pledge and let’s talk about what is safe to use on your painted furniture.
To do it right, keep it simple. When dusting, simply use a feather duster or soft lint free cloth (without polish) to wipe away any meddling dust bunnies. Generally, a good dusting should do the trick. But, if you insist on a ‘deeper clean’, keep the ingredients to a minimum…and keep the ingredients natural; in other words, ingredients you could eat. One of my favorite homemade polish recipes is to combine 10 drops of lemon oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and a few drops of olive oil.
There are many combinations of all natural cleaners/polisher recipes out there. Pick whichever combination you like and give it a whirl! Oh, but one more tip – avoid recipes with vinegar…too much vinegar has been known to strip wax – eek!
Overtime, you may notice your waxed surface is not as vibrant as it once was. This is normal as all waxes age with time. All you should do apply a new coat of wax to keep it looking vibrant. The timing of this varies on many things including how the surface is used. Once every six months to a year is a good guideline to use. But it’s OK to do it less frequently…or you may never need to! It simply depends on your unique circumstance.
Lastly, let’s talk about caring for a furniture piece that has Protective Finish on it. To keep it simple, follow the same general rules as mentioned above…but know that Protective Finish is a very durable, scratch resistant protectant. Could it withstand some harsh scrubbing and cleaning? Yes, in fact, it is even durable enough to use on floors! But, as with any urethane based protectant, the more you scrub and the harsher the chemicals used, the quicker it will wear down. So, make it last by treating it right!
There it is. Follow these guidelines and you will have a beautiful piece to enjoy year after year!
And let's not forget the after pic...a little Swiss Vanilla and Protective Finish and this dresser is brought back to life!
And side by side now... :)
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