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  How to care for antiques and collectables

Most owners of antiques and collectables take great pride in keeping them in excellent condition. These items often have both monetary and sentimental value, and cleaning them properly preserves their beauty.  Some antiques and collectables are relatively easy to care for, but you will find that the more fragile items such as glass and jewelry may require specialized cleaning and care. To retain the beauty and value of these particular items, it is well worth calling upon professionals.

There are some items (furniture, picture frames, etc) that a good maid service can maintain to keep your antiques beautiful and in great condition.   If you have time and enjoy doing this type of work, below you will find some useful tips. 

Furniture: A good quality beeswax polish is one of the most effective ways to clean antique wooden furniture.  Apply the beeswax polish once or twice a year with a soft cloth.  Then polish the piece with a clean, lint-free cloth. A good rub will really bring out the shine and the patina of the older wood.   For more regular cleaning, use an oil-based cleaner. Apply it once a month to both clean and condition the wood. Regularly give your furniture a gentle wipe over with a soft, clean and slightly damp cloth to get rid of debris and dust.

You should bear in mind that external factors, such as central heating, sunlight, airborne pollutants, and humidity levels can affect the condition of wood, so give careful consideration to an optimum location within the home. If you have radiators in every room, donít place the furniture too close to them, and try placing a bowl of water nearby or investing in a de-humidifier to help protect your furniture from humidity.  Avoid putting your antique furniture near any window that lets a lot of sunlight inside.
Glass: Antique glass is very fragile, and you may be wise to use a professional to clean it.  If you do decide to clean glass yourself, bear in mind that it can be easily scratched, so always remove rings and bracelets first. You should only clean one piece of antique glass at a time as well so avoid any knocking together of pieces and possible chip damage.  Make sure to clean the glass with softened or distilled water, and if you have to use a brush to get to certain areas, it should be a soft-bristled brush.

Jewellery: Antique jewels often have a great deal of sentimental value as well as monetary value.  People want to preserve them in their exact condition to pass down to future generations. Antique jewellery can be fragile, so you must be extra careful when cleaning it.  First try to clean the jewels with a very small and soft-bristled paintbrush.  As a general rule, do not use water but if f you need to wash any piece, make sure you use distilled or softened water, and add a drop of washing soap.   Be especially careful about using liquid around stones, as they may have been originally set with glue, and liquid may loosen them.  To dry your jewels, always use a lint-free, soft cloth.

Carpets and rugs: When cleaning antique carpets and rugs, always vacuum gently in the direction of the pile. Donít use modern cleaning products on any antique rugs and carpets. If you do have spill, be sure to blot them up immediately with clean, white paper towels. Should your rugs or carpets require a thorough clean or stain removal, contact a professional to avoid damaging these valuable items.

As with antique wood, your antique rugs and carpets can be affected by strong sunlight or heat.  Therefore, be mindful of where you lay them within the house. Do not place them in the path of a window that is regularly used to let in sunlight, and avoid putting them next to a roaring fire.

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