Cleaning Your Antiques with Caution
Stop wiping that antique! You probably will have an earful when an expert catches you applying cleaning solutions to a very old priceless antique. This is one of the most common mistakes a beginners in the antique collecting business make. They try to clean the antiques to the best of their knowledge hoping to make it more valuable and more presentable. And this is where we have a problem. Oftentimes, the best of their knowledge is not enough and at times totally wrong.
Caring for antiques means you have to know what you are dealing with. Get to know more about your item before you go on doing some unnecessary and potentially damaging things to it. Cleaning, for instance, is a highly subjective procedure. Some antiques might benefit from one good cleaning spree or possibly two. But there are just some items that will loose allure and value if made to shine.
Just like cleaning, refinishing, especially with antique furniture, is a practice that should be avoided. You need to understand that the original finish of the antique forms part of its individual character. Covering it with a new finish in an attempt to make it look better will only convert this unique antique item to just an ordinary old furniture piece that people won't want.
The valuable task of restoring the items should be best given to professionals who know what they are doing. No offense, but spending a couple of hours reading articles like this one on the web does not make you an expert. They spent years studying their craft and profession so give them some credit. Still, it would be best to go to a reputable antique servicing professional to make certain that all is in good hands. If you have doubts on how to go about doing things then go to the professional instead.
Storage can also be quite tricky especially if you lack the knowledge of proper handling and storage of the items. The value of the antique will diminish over time if you store them improperly. You might not even know that you're causing damage to your items so be careful when it comes to storage.
So for now, you should put away that rag and stop wiping that antique before you cause more damage. Study your antiques and ask for help. You'll benefit from all this in the long run. This is one basic rule in antique collecting