Avoid the use of soap, soda, or hot water, as it deadens the appearance. Two or three times a year, after careful dusting, a very little linseed oil should be rubbed in and the wood well polished; excess of oil causes the dust to stick.
A very successful treatment is the following : Wash the furniture with warm beer to remove every particle of grease, using a soft brush for the crevices. Boil two quarts of beer with 1 oz. of beeswax and 1 oz. of coarse moist sugar; when this is quite dissolved, apply it to the oak with a large soft brush, and when quite dry rub the surface till bright. For this purpose fresh beer is not necessary; any left in glasses may be put into a stone bottle, and kept well corked.
Brush them over two or three times with a strong solution of silicate of soda.
1. Dissolve two tablespoonsful of powdered borax in a little boiling water.
2. Add this to three pints of cold water.
3. Dust the paint thoroughly, using a small brush to get into all crevices.
4. Wash with the borax and water, using a sponge.
5. Dry with a soft linen cloth or a leather.
6. Polish with furniture cream.
A sponge is preferable to flannel because it has no particles of hair to stick to the varnish. Cold water is used because it has no tendency to melt the varnish as warmth would do. The use of the leather prevents smearing; also there is no danger of fluff adhering.
1. Dissolve as above a little borax.
2. Put it in a bowl of lukewarm water, adding a little soap jelly.
3. With a sponge or flannel gently wash the well-dusted paint.
4. Rinse with lukewarm water.
5. Dry with a soft cloth.
Old merino vests, woven jerseys, old flannel petticoats, even old light-coloured socks or stockings, are most useful for washing unvarnished paint. If cold water were used for rinsing unvarnished paint it would make the soap harden on the door, thus leaving it sticky. Only wash a small portion at once, and dry it immediately, as, if any water is allowed to trickle down, it makes marks; the flannel should be wrung out and not be wet enough to drip. If washing a large surface, such as a door, the method of commencing at the lower part and working upwards is usually recommended. For paint, always avoid the use of soda, hot water, scrubbing, and hard rubbing.
When washing skirting-boards or painted mantelpieces, a sheet of wood or millboard should be held close to the part to prevent the moistening of the adjoining paper.
If doors creak, rub the tip of a lead pencil on the hinge, or apply a little oil to the same place with a quill feather.
Outside doors, if dusty, may be rubbed over with a cloth dipped in paraffin to remove dirt, freshen the colours, and prevent the paint blistering in the hot sunshine.