Do I Need to Polish My Furniture?
I often get asked the following questions about furniture polishing:
- Should I polish my furniture?
- What should I polish it with?
- How do I keep my furniture from drying out?
The answer to all of these questions is the same: You don't need to polish your furniture!
Furniture does not dry out because it doesn't get polished. It dries out from a lack of moisture (H2O) or humidity in the air. The question of whether or not to polish your furniture is basically unrelated to wood furniture getting dried out.
On almost all furniture, there is a film/layer of finish that is between the wood and the polish. Therefore, when you apply any type of polish, whether it be lemon oil or a silicone-based polish such as Pledge, it never touches the wood or is absorbed into the wood. Instead, the polish dries out on top of the finish and can cause problems. This can result in the surface easily being scratched, collecting dirt, smudging, and becoming easily susceptible to moisture damage, which can look cloudy from something like a hot steak on a paper plate or hot pizza in a box.
Since the finish is a layer/film over the wood, you might as well be polishing a sheet of glass. Lemon oil, in particular, goes on very shiny but over a period of days or weeks dries out to a very flat sheen. This is a unique product in that it actually causes the problem that it is marketed to solve. I am sure this is shocking to many of you who have used lemon oil and lemon pledge over many years, but it really dries dead flat and makes your furniture look dried out.
My advice is that if you have been using polish for a long period of time, then you are stuck in a "vicious cycle" and basically have to continue polishing in order for your furniture to look decent. On the other hand, if you have a new piece of furniture, please never put any polish on it. It will look the same 10 years from now as it did when you bought it, assuming you do not damage it yourself.
Try to keep furniture out of direct sunlight as UV rays will damage the finish. Also, buy a humidifier and keep the humidity around 40 to 50% in your home. This will do more to help your furniture than anything else. I will discuss humidifiers in another post, but do not use the type that sprays a mist into the air.
This is after the polish is removed and the top buffed out.