How to Maintain Wooden Furniture So It Lasts You a Lifetime


Any kind of product made from wood requires a bit of tender loving care along its full ownership cycle. This includes using oils or waxes to provide nourishment for the wood itself. Doing so ensures that it will maintain enough moisture to keep it supple and avoid it hardening and cracking over time. The best quality species for furniture include teak, walnut, and oak.

Here are some tips on how to maintain wooden furniture better.

The Quality Matters

Purchasing a low-quality wooden product means it generally won’t last that long. Cheaper, mass-produced items from less developed wood are a poor investment. This applies whether it’s a walnut cutting board, a bench or a wooden couch with a fabric covering on top.

If you want your wooden furniture to serve you well for a decade or longer, get something better quality. It’s cheaper that way when considering the yearly cost of ownership instead of needing to replace the furniture more frequently.

What Materials to Use?

It’s a good idea to use a natural food safe oil. This kind of product is designed to season the wood in a careful manner. It adds minerals from natural sources to enrich the wood to maintain its long-term health and vitality.

The idea with oils is that they provide what’s required for the wood finish both on the surface and beneath it, without leaving an unpleasant residue. The better oils are designed to wipe on, let the wood benefit from the treatment and then wipe back off any residue that hasn’t seeped into the wood already. Then all that remains is the pleasant smell that is often included in the oil solution.

Indeed, wax products work well too. That could be beeswax, which works particularly well on different species of hardwood, and essential oils containing orange or another fruit blend for a pleasing aroma after treatment.

How to Maintain Wooden Furniture for Longer

Set a reminder in your calendar to inspect your furniture every six months; make it a weekend so you have the time. This way, you’ll never forget to do it.

Look over the furniture to find any problems. That might be a wooden splinter or sliver that’s breaking off and needs resolving, a screw that’s coming loose and needs tightening or a proper clean to reapply polish and buff the wood up. Only by performing this process on all wooden furniture and other wooden items in your home can you find the issues, otherwise, they’ll go unnoticed and unfixed.

While it’s outdoor furniture (or items moved outdoors for summer days) that suffer the most from damaging UV light, be aware of sunlight streaming into a room that hits the dining table or other furniture too. This can deteriorate the wood faster.

To protect a wooden surface, it’s sometimes necessary to change patterns of behavior to lengthen the life of the furniture and avoid creating permanent stains. Avoid putting just washed plates or glasses directly on a wooden table. Always use a placemat to prevent water damage. Furthermore, it avoids accidental scratches into the wood or burn marks from plates that have just come out of the oven.

When buying any wood-based product, it should be done with the acknowledgment that it does require a bit more care, but it will last far longer. The pleasure derived through ownership, continued use and simply not needing to frequently replace an inferior product with another inferior product are worth it. Similarly, as the old saying goes: “take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you” can equally be applied to wooden furniture and its care. A little effort goes a long way.


Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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