Preserving Amish Furniture Finishes: Maintenance and Care

Preserving Amish Furniture Finishes: Maintenance and Care

Made from solid hardwood, Amish furniture is available in a variety of finishes, each requiring slightly different care.  Here are some important questions that will help you understand the techniques and products to protect your finished wood.

How frequently should you clean and maintain Amish furniture finishes?

Regardless of the type of finish that’s been applied, caring for Amish furniture finishes starts with removing spills and smudges as soon as they occur.  Wipe as often as weekly or as little as monthly to prevent dust build-up.  Simply using a soft, damp cloth then drying with another lint-free cloth will work great for your piece. Utilizing a non-silicone, wax-free polish once a month will also help in maintaining wood furniture shine.  Be sure you use coasters or placemats and avoid placing sharp objects on your furniture, as this will protect from potential damage.

What cleaning products should be used to maintain Amish furniture finishes?

Cleaning Amish furniture surfaces requires delicate care and specific products best suited for maintaining the beauty of each piece.  The finish can be cleaned with warm, soapy water then wiped dry with a lint-free cloth. You may use a gentle wood cleaner or solution made of water and mild dish soap to help preserve your Amish furniture finish.  Some Amish craftsmen recommend a natural cleaner, made of vinegar or lemon juice and water to remove dirt and stains without damaging the wood. Avoid paper towels which can scratch the surface and easy care cleaning products, as they may cause build up on the surface of your furniture.  

How can you remove minor scratches from Amish furniture finishes?

There are a number of methods that will help remove minor scratches from your Amish furniture finish.  

  • Apply lemon oil following the grain of the wood, allowing it to dry, and repeating if necessary.
  • Apply a mixture of 1:1 part white vinegar and cooking oil to a soft cloth, then rub on the scratch. Let the mixture sit for a minute or two, then wipe away the excess.
  • Use a touch-up marker or crayon that matches the wood’s color.

Be sure that all deeper abrasions are taken care of by a professional.  

Are there any specific care tips for preserving hand-rubbed oil finishes?

There are a few Amish furniture care tips for preserving hand-rubbed oil finishes that will help maintain the beauty of your piece.  As mentioned earlier, wipe all spills immediately with a damp, soft cloth then dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.  Avoid polish or waxes not intended for hardwood and dust frequently with a dry, soft cotton cloth.  Stains can easily be removed with a damp soft cloth, paying careful attention to wipe in the same direction as the wood grain.  Always remember to use coasters, trivets, etc. and avoid setting wet, hot or sharp objects directly on your furniture.  

How can you protect Amish furniture from fading due to sunlight?

Protecting finished wood is an important part of regular maintenance.  The best way to protect your Amish furniture from fading would be to avoid direct sunlight altogether.  However, if sunlight exposure is unavoidable, consider using curtains or blinds to protect your furniture or a covering such as a tablecloth, runner or blanket.  Lemon oil can be used to nourish the wood and add a natural shine, but a varnish used during the finishing process will best protect your piece for years to come as it offers some UV protection.