Cleaning should be minimal. Cleaning too much will get rid of the patina and reduce the antique’s value.
Patina: Thin layer that variously forms on the surface of copper, brass, bronze and similar metals, or certain stones, and wooden furniture, or any similar acquired change of a surface through age and exposure.
Lightly wiping down surfaces with water, a rag, and a small amount of soap is the safest way to clean antiques. Other methods: vinegar, denatured alcohol
Cleaning Your Antiques
Always do individual research on items before cleaning to see what is recommended.
Try the least strong cleaning method first. If not satisfied, try a more intensive method. i.e: Water -> Vinegar
Avoid commercial cleaning products, even plant based ones, unless explicitely recomended. Every day cleaners are not meant for antiques.
Dusting Your Antiques
Dust with a soft wet rag.
Wiping a surface with a dry rag will create micro-scratches.
Some antique experts prefer to dust with feathers, but this method is contentious. Critics of this method worry that quills scratch wood.
Waxing Wooden Furniture
Wood Furniture needs to be waxed 1 - 2 times per year. More than that can cause damage to your wooden furniture.
Pure beeswax is preferable. A good commercially available wax is Howard Feed-N-Wax
Chemicals for stripping wood can be harmful and refinishing will often reduce the value of antiques. People still choose to refinish if pieces are extremely damaged or if they have a strong aesthetic preference.
Types of finishing: Wood Stain, Polyurethane, Lacquer, Shellac, Tung