Suggested Painted Furniture Care

Hi everyone! One of the most frequent  questions I get is, "How do I care for my painted furniture?" As with any furniture piece, you should use care and common sense.  Most of all be sure to love and use your furniture.  Dry-rot is a terrible thing that should never be allowed to happen! 

TIP 1 - The number one tip I would give is to keep all furniture pieces dust-free with a soft, clean, lint-free and dry (or barely-damp cloth).  Buildup is your enemy regardless of whether it's scratches, dust, grime, or chemicals.  

TIP 2 - Keep in tends to dissolve like.  What does that mean? Oil and oily substances will dissolve or affect wax and oil finishes if allowed to sit. Wipe up any oily spills immediately. (Water, which doesn't mix well with oil, will either be repelled or it will dissipate as it airs out.  Wax binds with the wood rather than forming a hard shell over the wood surface, so while water may eventually make its way beneath the wax it will eventually evaporate unlike with a poly. (Wood damage caused by excessive humidity and/or large amounts of water allowed to stay on the waxed surface is nearly inevitable.)

TIP 3 - Organic solvents, such as acids, fingernail polish and remover, perfumes, and alcoholic drinks can behave as paint and varnish removers on many kinds of coatings.

*TIP 4 - Hot items, such as irons, coffee mugs, and steaming pots can melt many finishes away (not just wax finishes*). Water from spills and condensation from vases and cold drink glasses can damage and deface coatings through "blooming," an effect that makes transparent coatings white or milky (seen mostly in poly coatings while wax allows moisture to eventually evaporate. Damage is even worse when the liquid itself stains the surface, such as when ink or coffee or tea is spilled, or if the coating is penetrated and the staining liquid enters the wood itself.

* I've posted a simple video on my Facebook Page, Handpainted Furniture by Liz, showing my cup of coffee, heated 2 minutes, and allowed to sit on a table top I had waxed & allowed time to cure. I was a table top I waxed.  I can't speak for how well another's work holds up. 

Most problems you can potentially run into on a daily basis are relatively simple to address. Using coasters, over sized trays, and writing pads can virtually eliminate the potential for damage caused by everyday-use. Also,

  • Protect surfaces from fire and excessive heat
  • Sit only on structures designed for that purpose
  • Be careful about what you place on a piece of furniture


Unless otherwise stated, all of my pieces are waxed (due to the many benefits associated with a wax finish on wood).  I will sometimes use a poly on custom pieces (as requested) or on newer pieces.  However, for my beloved older...wood pieces, I prefer wax for its preserving qualities.