Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 11, April 2006 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News

Spring Cleaning

By Alan Noel

Spring Cleaning Tips from Alan Noel

About this time every year it seems we all get a hankering to clean something, get started again on the project we put away last fall, or maybe you're moving to a new house. Often when furniture has been stored in the garage, out building or storage unit, it may be covered in mold and mildew or it simply appears as though it could use a good cleaning.

Here are a few tips to help you along.

  1. Never store furniture in damp areas, if at all possible.
  2. Be sure to inspect both the outside and the inside of case goods, especially the interior of chests and their drawers as well as any other enclosed areas. When mold or mildew is found on furniture, it usually presents itself on the articles that haven't seen the light of day for quite a while.
  3. If your piece is particularly valuable or the damage is severe, you may want to consult a furniture restoration specialist before attempting cleaning or other repairs.
  4. Before beginning the cleaning process, choose an area that is in the shade.
  5. When mold or mildew is present, use a mild solution of household bleach and clean water and thoroughly clean all areas as quickly as possible. This is where you should pay careful attention or damage could occur. It's good to have a helper!
  6. When removing mold and/or working with bleach, it’s a good idea to wear a mask or respirator and rubber gloves.
  7. Using a chest of drawers as an example, remove the drawers and place them out of your way for the moment. Inspect the interior. If mold is present, clean the entire interior first then move on to the sides, front and top. I always do the drawers last and then replace them as I go.
  8. This is where a helper would really come in handy. Using clean old rags, wet a rag with solution and wring it out almost completely. Wet two more rags with clean water. Wash an area as fast as you can cover it, then immediately wipe with a clean wet cloth and then repeat with another clean wet cloth. Now dry the area.
  9. Speed is important because wetting furniture finishes is okay only as long as it's dried in a timely manner. That is why having a helper is important. You wash and rinse with water, your helper rinses again and then dries.
  10. After all is clean and dry, reinspect all areas to make sure all of the mold and mildew has been cleaned away. Repeat where necessary and then apply a good paste wax. Not a liquid polish, but a paste wax.
  11. Enjoy!


Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net. You can also visit Alan's website by CLICKING HERE.

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