With spring cleaning just around the corner, thoughts often turn to giving your home a thorough scrubbing, but in the case of your fine wood cabinetry, you need to exercise some caution. Just like your elegant dining room table or those heirloom chairs handed down from your Grandmother, your fine wood kitchen cabinetry also deserves your loving touch.
Wood reacts to light, temperature and humidity, and all three must be addressed to extend the life of your cabinetry:
· Sunlight’s effect: While wood gradually mellows into a richer shade with exposure to normal daylight, avoid excessive direct sunlight, which can fade the wood dramatically.
· Setting the temperature: Wood cabinetry is best maintained at a room temperature of 70 degrees.
· Controlling humidity: The wood products used in fine cabinetry is based on furniture industry standards. Such standards dictate that the wood be conditioned to a 5-8% moisture content in the wood. The humidity in the kitchen itself should be maintained at between 25-55% to be a compatible environment for wood cabinetry. As humidity increases, wood gains moisture and expands. If the humidity decreases, it contracts. Such expansion and contraction can, over time, become visible at the joints of the cabinets and frames. (These stresses are more visible on painted finishes.) Normal stresses that happen in a properly humid environment are a natural characteristic of the wood and not considered a defect. But humidity higher than 55% can cause wood failure—meaning cracks, splits, and separation at the joints—causing door expansion (meaning the door will rub against the frame when opened or closed). Humidity lower than 25% can cause problems of its own from wood's shrinkage, which may create cracks.
How to clean your wood cabinetry:
· To avoid scratching, never use abrasive cleansers or pads on cabinet surfaces. They can cause scratches.
· Always keep cabinet surfaces dry and free from standing liquids.
· Use environmentally safe cleaners like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Method, Seventh Generation, Caldera or Ecover at a ratio of two cups water to two teaspoons of soap. Don't use strong soaps, detergents or liquid wax cleaners.
· You can experiment with a quality wood wax, but try it on an inside surface first to see the effect. Many people never use anything but soap and water on their wood cabinetry.
· Stained finishes: Remove the dirt and grease using mild soapy water, a soft cloth and light pressure. Avoid rubbing too vigorously. Rinse immediately with a clean cloth and dry with a clean soft cloth.
· Painted or Matte Finishes: Never use wax on these surfaces. Wipe with soft cloth and mild soapy water solution. Rinse immediately and never let water stand on cabinetry.
· Metallic Inserts: Don't use anything abrasive (pads or cleaners) as you can permanently damage the insert's surface. Also avoid acids, solvents and ammonia-based cleaners as you may etch the surface of the metal.
· Hinges: Keep the hinges lubricated with white lithium spray grease. As hinges may loosen over time, you may need to tighten the screw to restore them to perfect working order (remove the hinge cap on frameless cabinets to access the hinge screws).
For more questions about caring for your fine wood cabinetry or to choose new cabinetry to install, please contact kitchen designer, Jason Landau at Amazing Spaces, LLC. Jason's decades of experience with choosing, installing and caring for fine wood cabinetry will help you protect your investment for years to come. Visit www.amazingspacesllc.com or phone 914-239-3725.