Spring is all about giving things a new life and vigor. So while you’re planting a garden or dusting out your garage here are 8 tips for giving your home and wooden furniture new life.

1. Dust often: Small particles of dust may seem harmless, but enough buildup can scratch the wood’s finish. Dust at least weekly with a soft, lint-free cloth. Stay away from Pledge and other dust polish, as they contain silicones that can soak into the grain of the wood and damage it for good. Instead, lightly dampen a cloth with water or use a microfiber cloth that will cling to dust particles on its own.

2. Placement matters: Don’t place a wood dining table next to a damp window or heat register. The temperature swings could damage the wood with warping or splitting. Also, store any extra leaves near or inside the table itself. This ensures that the leaf will not warp or swell/contract differently from the table. If you store the leaf in a basement or attic, the moisture and temperature differential could take its toll.

3. See The light: Excessive or prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade the color of your furniture and dry the wood. Use window coverings or tablecloths to prevent daily direct exposure of your furniture to the sun. If you leave objects such as candleholders or vases on an uncovered wood surface, rotate them regularly to prevent dark or light spots.

4. Wax on Wax off: After a good cleaning, the best way to protect the finish is to use a good-quality soft paste wax. Apply a thin coat as directed on the label. Wait five minutes and buff lightly with a soft (shoe) brush or cloth. Wait another 30 to 60 minutes and buff/brush again with a bit more vigor. You’ll see a beautiful shine return to the finish that will last for many months.

5. Check Your Doors: The doors in many households often get neglected when cleaning assignments are handed out. Maybe that’s because they don’t get dirty as routinely as other surfaces. Apply an oil soap to a rag and wipe the entire surface of the door in the direction of the grain. Then use another soft rag to dry the door, removing any excess cleaner. This will also buff the door to a shine for a beautiful result.

6. Details Matter: Don’t forget all the small details in your furniture and wooden doors & windows. To clean deep into carvings or beadwork, use a toothbrush. When polishing metal hardware, take it off the furniture first. Take your time and make a note to remember what piece goes back where. Use a quality metal polish to get it shining again. Once it’s buffed, put it back on, being careful not to scratch the wood surfaces.

7. Know Your Wood: Wood has two classifications: Not surprisingly, softwood is softer and much less expensive than hardwood. It is often painted or treated, and maintenance usually involves keeping it clean and applying a fresh coat of paint or finish each season. Because it has the potential to last long, withstand the elements and resist insects and decay, hardwood can be a smart investment.

8. Get in the Garden: You’ve invested in a piece or set of outdoor wood furniture, and you want to make sure it lasts for several years. What’s the best way to protect your outdoor investment from the elements? It’s a combination of keeping it under cover as much as possible, away from extremes in temperature or moisture and ensuring you’ve protected them with weather sealants.

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