Caring for Oriental Furniture
Orchid’s Chinese wooden furniture is hand-made and restored by craftsmen in China who use traditional skills and materials passed down through the generations. The antique furniture is restored using reclaimed materials to sympathetically match the original wood, hard-ware and colours. With a little care your Chinese furniture will last a lifetime, and the information here will teach you how to keep it looking as gorgeous as the day you bought it.
Vintage and antique Chinese furniture will have irregularities, which is to be expected of any furniture with provenance and is part of the charm of owning a piece of Oriental history.
Cleaning and Caring for Lacquered Furniture
Chinese lacquer is generally easy to care for. The following advice will help you to understand how to prolong the life of your lacquered furniture.
Oriental lacquer can be clear or coloured and provides a durable finish which protects wood and is very low maintenance.
A regular dust with a soft, dry micro-fibre cloth will remove finger-prints and smears.
For spillages, wipe with a slightly damp cloth or sponge, using a mild detergent if necessary. Once dry, buff gently with a micro-fibre cloth.
To restore the patina use an everyday spray silicone polish. Other polishes or waxes can be used, but these will not offer any more protection than a general spray polish.
Care of Chinese Antiques Furniture & Chinese Lacquered Furniture
- Do not place room fragrances bottles directly on to the furniture. The effect is the same as paint stripper and causes considerable damage to wood as well as to lacquer.
- Avoid placing your lacquered furniture in direct sunlight or alongside a radiator. Try to leave at least a metre between any heat source and wooden furniture. Lacquer colour will fade if left in direct sunlight over a prolonged period.
- Avoid overly touching your new lacquered furniture as the natural grease from your hands attracts dirt and grime to your furniture which if left can damage and scratch the lacquer.
- Though furniture lacquer has a hard skin, it can ‘dent’. Avoid putting anything extremely heavy on its surface and if being transported, place pads between the wood and any strapping.
- Make sure your furniture duster or cleaning cloth is clean, otherwise it could potentially scratch the surface finish; a micro-fibre cloth is much less likely to leave superficial scratches than a conventional duster.
- Use silicone based polish sparingly and only occasionally as this can build up and leave a sticky residue on the surface which in turn attracts particles of dirt.
- Do not use any abrasive substances (for instance aggressive cleaners, scouring powder or solvents).
- Avoid using abrasive creams or cloths as this can permanently scratch the surface finish or make the surface cloudy.
- Lacquer protects the wood from liquid penetration, although it is still advisable to use mats or coasters with all food and beverages, any spillages should be wiped up immediately.
- Constant contact with water will wear down the lacquer leaving it dull and causing a mottled appearance.
- Black lacquer is one of the most attractive finishes but needs to be treated with special care and if not looked after can show marks far quicker than any other colour.
How to Care for Un-lacquered Natural Wood Furniture
To keep these looking good simply use a feather duster or a soft cloth to remove everyday dust. Protect from spillages which will soak in to the natural wood and be difficult to remove.
General Care Tips
- If moving your furniture, never drag it. Always pick it up evenly with the help of as many people as possible. Keep furniture upright and avoid twisting it when positioning.
- Be aware that drawers slide out easily, so when transporting secure these before lifting. Chinese doors are often removable simply by sliding out of their housing, so secure doors before moving as substantial damage will be caused if the doors fall out during lifting or transportation.
- Brass hardware, including the locks and handles, should not require any maintenance if kept clean and dry.
- Protect your lacquered furniture surfaces by putting felt or gel pads on the underside of lamps, ornaments and anything you display on your furniture.
- If you wish to protect wooden floors apply felt pads onto the underside of each foot.
In the Event of Severe Damage
In the unfortunate event of severe damage to your Chinese furniture, this can usually be rescued with expert attention. In many cases furniture can be repaired and lacquered to its original beauty. We can help you facilitate a major repair or put you in contact with a specialist for advice.
The hand finished, traditional white lacquer may “yellow” under some light and heat conditions. This is unavoidable due to the natural ingredients of the lacquer.
* Under-floor heating can cause extreme shrinkage to wooden furniture including Chinese reproduction and antique furniture, which is why special wood is used for floors over this type of heating. Whilst we can facilitate repairs, we will not cover costs associated with damage due to this type of heat source.