There are several factors to weigh when deciding to use polishes and waxes on furniture and other wooden objects. One critical factor is that the ingredients in commercial polishes and cleaning products are rarely disclosed. Moreover, these ingredients can be, and frequently are, changed without warning or notification. These ingredients may be harmless or harmful to the furniture (and to you) and you have no way of knowing in advance.
Polishing products are available in three forms: aerosol (spray); liquid; and semisolid. Here is a quick look at their benefits and drawbacks:
AEROSOLS (Spray Polishes): Aerosols are convenient. However, they have been among the worst offenders in introducing silicone oils and other contaminants onto furniture. In addition, they may contain solvents that attack varnishes and lacquers. While some of the "dusting" aerosols appear to be benign when applied to a cloth and not the piece of furniture, the result is similar to using a damp, clean dust cloth.
LIQUIDS: Like aerosols, liquid polishes are easy to use. There are two primary forms of commercial liquid products for "furniture care": emulsion cleaner or polishes and "oil type" polishes. Emulsion polishes are waxes, oils, detergents, organic solvents, and other materials suspended in water for ease of application. These products can be extremely powerful cleaners that leave a desirable sheen on the surface. However, the visual effect usually diminishes as the liquid dries. Moreover, like aerosols, emulsion polishes can introduce contaminants onto the furniture, but because they are liquids they place much more volume than sprays on the furniture surface.
Oil polishes are even more troublesome. Much like emulsion polishes, oil polishes can be a complex blend of ingredients including oils, waxes, perfumes, colorants, "cleaners," and organic solvents. They can render extremely pleasing surfaces and are used frequently as final finishes by themselves. However, oils used as polishes or cleaners can be very damaging.
- Nondrying oils (paraffin, mineral, and "lemon oil," which is usually mineral oil with colorants and perfumes added) tend to be more benign than drying oils, but even so some oil remains as a liquid on (or in) the object. Dust and other airborne contaminants readily stick to wet surfaces, especially oils. But nondrying oils don't undergo chemical reactions or directly damage the furniture.
- Drying oils, on the other hand, such as linseed, tung, or walnut oil, are a different matter altogether. These materials solidify, or "dry" through a chemical reaction with the air called oxidation. Over time this reaction makes them increasingly difficult to remove. Their permanence is fine if the oil is employed as the finish, but not good if it is used as a maintenance polish. By itself, having a polish that is difficult to remove would be an irritating but not an insurmountable problem. Unfortunately, as drying oils age they tend to yellow and in the presence of acids they are chromogenic (become Colored), turning a dark, muddy brown or opaque black.
- Traditionally, cleaning and polishing concoctions comprised of linseed oil, turpentine, beeswax, and vinegar (acetic acid) were widely used even in the museum field until recently. They turned out to be a disaster waiting to happen. The results of their use are readily apparent to even the casual observer: a thick incrustation of chocolate-colored goo that is neither hard enough to be durable nor soft enough to wipe off easily. The furniture is left with an unsightly coating that is very difficult to remove without damaging the underlying surface.
SEMISOLIDS: By virtually any measure semisolid polishes are the least damaging to wooden objects. Frequently called "paste waxes," these products are actually a very concentrated solution of waxes. Provided the ingredients do not include undesirable contaminants like silicone or high concentrations of damaging organic solvents such as alcohol, xylene, or toluene, paste waxes are an excellent polish for the surfaces of most wooden objets. Because waxes are exceedingly stable and don't cause many of the problems inherent in the previously mentioned polishes, they are the material of choice for furniture conservators and other caretakers of furniture and wooden objects. But paste waxes have their faults too: unfortunately, they require the most active contact with the surface of the furniture, and also need the most physical labor for proper application. Buffing out a wax polish can be very hard work, and in general, the better quality the wax, the harder the buffing that is needed. However, the results and benefits to the furniture are worth the extra effort. Fortunately, as the most durable and stable polishing material, paste wax needs to be applied much less often than aerosols or liquids. Ideally, wax polishing should be conducted no more than twice a year for areas of extremely heavy wear (desktops, chair arms, etc.) and once every three or four years for table and chair legs, cabinets, and similar areas. If a surface can no longer be buffed to the sheen appropriate for a waxed surface, it is likely that the wax has worn off. In that case, apply another light coat of wax to the affected area in accordance with the product instructions. Wax that is applied too frequently or improperly can build-up and cause an unsightly surface. When the wax is used correctly, however, the solvent content of the new wax will "clean off" any previous wax remaining on the surface and will simply integrate the old into the new.
Fashion tips: transition from office to evening out
Learn how to transition your outfit from office work clothing to evening attire with these fashion tips and ideas.
Many of us who work the 9-5 jobs understand the loss of creativity day to day when it comes to the way we dress. A few simple lifestyle changes can alter the way you dress at work, so you may look stunning for an evening out on the town. It doesn't matter if you're an investment banker or a creative director for an advertising agency; these tips are great no matter what business you are in. Learn how to transition from the office to a late night after party, a post-work date or a gala event.
The After Party
For a party such as a committee event like a museum exhibit party, a store opening or a company party, looking party worthy can be easy with a little pre-planning. If you're extra-business like by day, donning suits on a daily basis, it's more of a reason to dress sexy without going overboard.
Try a black dress with a low decollete. And, to save time, wear the dress during your workday with a black blazer over it. For the evening out, lose the blazer, add a wrap (either cashmere or fur), and add chandelier earrings and sexy makeup. Vamp up your eye makeup with black smoky eyes and try red lips for this look. Don't forget a stunning sparkly handbag. This is an easy look to cross over from office to evening.
The Dinner Party
The boss of your husband is throwing a dinner party and you don't have time to go home before it starts. No problem. If you're wearing a pants suit ensemble, you can easily change it up to get an evening savvy look. Lose the jacket and change your top to something a little dressier. Something beaded would look stunning. Now change your simple all black sling back shoes for something sparkly and wow worthy.
The Post-Work Date
It's casual Friday and it's your first girls' night out in a long time. The dilemma of what to wear has hit you and going home before the date is out of the question. You're in savvy jeans, but a dowdy shirt. Keep the jeans on and simply bring a tight fitted camisole to wear under a savvy tweed box jacket (a la Coco Chanel). Switch your comfortable flats for a black pair of sexy high-heeled boots and freshen up your makeup and you are set in no time flat.
The Gala Event
This one may seem the hardest, but not to fret. It can be a piece of cake if you know how to plan ahead. Your husband will be impressed by how well you multitask and how great you look after a hard day at the office at this $300 a plate plus event (on his company's tab). First thing is first.
Start with a long black skirt (earlier at work, you wore a blazer with it to give it that business edge), but now you'll lose the blazer and pair the skirt with a tight fitted top in the color of your choice. Add a faux diamond belt, large cz earrings, a large cocktail ring and a fur wrap and you are ready for your black tie event. Sweep your hair up in a bun and secure with Bobbie pins. The look will be finished in less than thirty minutes, without even stepping foot at home.
Try to think of what you can wear during the day that can transition from workday to evening out.
Carry a leather tote bag to the office with makeup, Bobbie pins and your evening essentials.
Plan ahead. Those who think of looks ahead of time always look great at after work events. A great tip is to try on some different selections from your closet about once a month. That way, when the events come around you are all ready for it.
Have fun and don't take it too seriously. As you know life happens, so go with it.
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