Restoring and Rethinking Your Antique Dresser

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An antique dresser holds a great deal of charm. Gone uncared for it can also become a nuisance and detract from the overall look of your home. Heighten the charm or restore the glory of a great antique dresser easily.

The Glory Days Restored to Your Antique Dresser

Salvage an antique dresser from an online auction or restore the luster of an overlooked piece you already have. To qualify as an antique, a piece has to be 100 years old or more. It stands to reason that you may be afraid to harm it. It also stands to reason that it’s a little worse for wear. You don’t have to cloak the antique appeal to simply care for your wooden antique dresser. 

DIY Cleaning and Refreshing Your Antique Dresser

The first way to pamper your wooden antiques is to keep them clean and well-oiled. Wood can dry and make it more susceptible to cracking. Even polish can build up and grime collect over the years. If the wood doesn’t impress you, next measures are to be taken 

The wrong cleaner can harm your wood, so always read labels and avoid stringent or acidic cleaners like bleach or kitchen cleaners. You want to nurture the longevity of your antique dresser and wood furniture—not damage the finish.

Consider these few easy moves to make your antique stand proudly in a room. 

Cleaning Old Wood with Cleaner

Regularly caring for your wood with a cleaner designed for wood can help care for wood. Dust regularly, but in-between care for wood with wood soap. If you want a DIY wood cleaning solution, you can mix dish soap with water. 

  • Start with a swab and text an inconspicuous part of the dresser, like the leg. 
  • Never over-wet the sponge or cloth and wring and dampen it frequently.

Regular Wood Oiling

Another way to clean and condition antique wood furniture is with a mineral oil or other wood oil. 

  • Look for clear “wood oil” (tint will build up) rather than guessing at what is best for your wood. 
  • Work the oil in circular motions over the wood with a clean, dry cloth until the wood comes clean. 
  • Go over the wood with a dry cloth to remove any excess oil
  • Consider including the inside wood areas of the furniture, which are often neglected. With most antiques these areas will be untreated and unstained wood.
  • You may opt to wax the furniture after cleaning. If you do choose to wax, you’ll want to give a little “tooth” to the wood to adhere to the wood. That’s usually done by going over the wood gentle and with the grain using steel wool. 

Replace the Hardware

A quick way to update or fix damage is to look over the hardware. Remove and polish any glass, ceramic, or metal pulls and knobs. If there are any broken pieces (or you just want to update your look), consider replacing the hardware, including knobs and pulls.

Strip and Restain Antique Wood

If you have a lot of deep scratches, dings, or wood then it may be time for a more drastic makeover. Food stains, drink rings, burns, and deep scratches go beyond character-building blemishes and detract from the beauty of antiques. Consider stripping and refinishing antique dressers and furniture. Be sure to follow all directions and steps in the process with care.

Learn other creative ways to re-purpose furniture

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