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Expert's Corner — polish

TIP: Understanding Furniture Care Products

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TIP: Understanding Furniture Care Products

Making a decision which furniture care product to use or recommend can seem impossibly confusing if you listen to advertising or read labels. But if you separate the products into four categories for what they do, they are understandable, and you can make an intelligent choice. The four categories are clear, emulsion (milky white), silicone and wax. A few examples of each are shown, left to right, in the accompanying picture. Clear polishes are usually packaged in clear plastic containers and are based on petroleum distillates such as mineral spirits or, sometimes, citrus oils. They clean grease and remove wax,...

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TIP: Murphy's Oil Soap

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During my career refinishing furniture, Murphy’s Oil Soap has morphed from a regionally-available natural soap made with potassium hydroxide (similar to lye) and vegetable oil to a nationally-available furniture-care product. I watched this transformation happen and find the story fascinating. I find it fascinating because furniture and woodwork don’t get dirty very often and washing them with soap and water when they aren’t dirty can only cause problems. Water gets under a finish through cracks and splits and causes the finish to peel. Everyone knows this at some level (just look at the peeling paint on building exteriors) so how...

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