Cleaning Antiques and Collectibles?

I have furniture, dishes, etc. inherited from my father and grandparents. How do I get the built up over 50 years of thick, sticky, brown smoke, and dust residue off of everything without hurting them? I am especially concerned for the antique furniture?


By Carrie from Deep South

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November 4, 20090 found this helpful

If you feel that you may want to sell the antiques in the future, leave the patina as is. You'll just be depreciating their value. Collectors want that patina.
Instant Furniture Polish: Light Mineral Oil
Wax for old furniture: Heat 1lb pure Beeswax in a container placed in a vessel of hot water, add 1 pint gum turpentine and stir until blended. Remove vessel from the hot water and stir constantly while mixture cools. Place in wide-mouth container before hardening. Apply w/soft cloth. Let stand until solvent evaporates, then polish with clean cloth.
Turpentine is flammable, so have x-good ventilation and be careful of the flame.

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November 5, 20090 found this helpful

Go to Cleaning Antiques and Collectibles lot of info there, good luck.

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November 6, 20090 found this helpful

Be very careful what you clean with. I have old dishes and crystal I clean by hand in a dish pan, using hot water and Dawn.


Never use a dishwasher. An antique dealer would be a good source of what to use for cleaning materials. In many cases the cleaning should be done by a professional. Good luck to you.

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November 7, 20090 found this helpful

I thought I had found several bottles of new transmission fluid but realized it was just used fluid for the trash. I took it home and use it exclusively on dark wooden furniture letting it soak in then wiping dry. It lasts, does absolutely no harm, and is free. It's even water resistance on my old oak rocker on the front porch that gets wet every time it rains. As far as removing old finishes, I wouldn't be surprised if it removed any old buildup you didn't want, especially if waxy and if it comes off on your hands or clothing. Try a clean white rag like an old sheet to check it it does come off.


If using old Transmission fluid, make certain you wipe it off well, let it dry thoroughly before sitting on it or adding any cushions. Old English is not only expensive, but stains everything in sight, so try the used
transmission fluid on the under side of one piece of your furniture. I'll bet any automotive shop will give you a little if you are willing to wait for it and bring your own container. Mine is slightly reddish in color, so it won't do on light oaks or blonde colored woods, but is perfect on darker
woods, especially mahogany. Good luck and God bless you.
: )

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Consumer Advice Collectibles AntiquesNovember 4, 2009
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