One classical element of home decor that never goes out of style is rustic natural wood. Whether it be a conversation-worthy dining table, a piece of decorative wall art, or a stunning mantelpiece, rustic natural wood needs special care compared to more contemporary wood used in furnishings.
With contemporary wood, you usually have various products to dust and clean the surface quickly. Using these same products on rustic wood, however, will only cause wood damage and give you a significant problem to fix.
Rather than ruining your favorite rustic wood pieces and having to revamp your entire decor, stick to the techniques below to help keep your rustic natural wood looking great.
Remove Dust and Water
It's best to dust any rustic natural wood you have once a week. As dust builds up on natural wood, it is more likely to get into the wood's small cracks and crevices where you won't be able to get it out. You can also use the vacuum to suck up dust particles and get into those small spaces a soft, damp cloth can't reach.
When it comes to food and water, always clean up any spills as soon as possible. Oil from food, in particular, can stain the wood quickly, while liquids can cause the wood to warp. The longer these substances stay on the wood, the more damage they can cause. Also, keep in mind hot surfaces could cause the wood to burn, so always use hot pads and other materials to keep the wood safe.
Use a Natural Cleaner
If you need to clean the natural wood with more than just a soft, damp cloth, use a natural cleaner that won't leave a residue or impact the wood. A 1:1 ratio of vinegar and warm water is usually a safe bet, and the vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant. Just make sure not to apply too much of the solution to the wood to prevent warping or rot.
Another option for cleaning some rustic wood is to mix one teaspoon of mild liquid soap into one gallon of warm water. The addition of the soap will work better than water alone but without threatening the quality of the wood.
Check Humidity and Shade Levels
Something else that can deteriorate your natural wood pieces and make them harder to clean is humidity levels that are too high or too low. High humidity levels will cause the wood to expand and split, while low humidity levels can dry out the wood and cause it to crack. Keeping a humidity gauge in the room and checking that it stays steady around 50% will ensure your rustic wood furnishings last a lifetime.
If you notice the room frequently dips below 50% humidity, consider investing in a humidifier appropriate for the space. If the reading is often well above 50%, a dehumidifier might help control the levels.
It also helps to ensure you place any rustic wood pieces you own away from direct sunlight at all times. The sun will discolor the wood gradually, and you won't be able to do much to reverse it. Keeping your pieces in the shade will help them last longer and look fresher.
Pieces designed from natural wood can elevate rustic home decor and make the space feel warm and inviting. Yet, cleaning and maintaining rustic natural wood requires a different approach than contemporary wood furnishings.