Maintaining A Lacquer Finish

wood with lacquer finish

A lacquer finish looks beautiful on any piece of furniture. For the most part, lacquer is a hard finish, but it’s susceptible to scratches, chips, and wear. Cleaning lacquer isn’t done in the same way as other types of finishes. Here are a few tips to help you maintain that wonderfully lacquered look on all your furniture.

water spot on wood

Keep It Dry

You want to do your best to keep all your lacquered items dry at all times. If you have a piece of furniture that is subject to spills it may be a good idea to place a protective runner or table cloth on it. This way any spills can be contained. If your lacquered furniture is a dresser or other item that doesn’t get a lot of liquid near it, just be sure to wipe away any spills that may happen from time to time. If your lacquer surface will hold a vase, you want to take care that the water level isn’t too high, and ensure the vase itself won’t sweat or bead water. Water can damage lacquer in a relatively short amount of time. It will leave spots that are difficult to get out later, and if left alone it can remove the finish in these spots.

Clean with Mild Soap

The best way to clean lacquer is to use mild soap and warm water. A mixture of one teaspoon of soap to a half-gallon of water is sufficient. Wring your cloth out so it’s only damp, not dripping wet. Wipe the lacquer down avoiding circular motions. Once it’s cleaned, you want to take a soft dry cloth and wipe any excess water away. Remember water can be death to lacquer finishes if left alone. You also need to make sure the cloth has no foreign material that can scratch the surface. The smallest grain of dirt can wreak havoc on a lacquered finish. Using harsh household cleaners will pull the finish off as well. Avoid using any cleaner that has bleach or ammonia in it.

scratches in wood

Protect the Finish

A lacquer finish can be easily scratched. Don’t drag items like knick-knacks across the finish. Don’t leave heavy items in a place that can be tipped over. You can add small rubber feet to the bottom of any decorative items to prevent scratching, and keep heavy items that can tip over away from children, to avoid taking chunks out of the finish.

Regular Dusting

Lacquer will show dust much faster than other types of finishes. You should dust with a soft lint-free cloth or a clean feather duster. You don’t want to drag the dust across the surface since it can contain small hard particles that can scratch the surface. Keeping the surface dusted and clean will help prevent these hard particles from building up, and will help you maintain the look of the high gloss.

A lacquer finish can look great on virtually any furniture. As long as you take preventative action to avoid damage, the finish can last a lifetime.