| Sheila Howell

To Clean or Not to Clean

Gold Mantle Clock | EuropeanFinds

When it comes to antiques, that is the question.
Most of the antiques here at European Finds have been around for well over 100 years, and some much, much longer. Presumably, they’ve never been exposed to modern chemicals.

Because they were made for a different era, we all need to be very careful about how we treat these lovely old pieces. We don’t want to rob them of their beauty and character, or diminish their value!

If needed, we will gently dust your piece before shipping, but aside from that, your antique will come to you in the same condition we found it. The occasional exception would be the piece (perhaps a lamp, chandelier or curio cabinet) that had previously been wired for European electricity; we will sometimes have it professionally rewired for North American current, as noted in the item description. And once in a great while, we may uncover a hidden flaw such as a crack in a table leg or an out-of-place add-on from later days. In those rare cases, we’ll bring in an expert to make a tasteful repair before putting the piece up for sale and will disclose such in the description.  

But cleaning? That’s a touchy subject, so we’re content to leave that entirely up to you.
Naturally, you want your antiques to look their best. Some pieces age better than others, and some have been well-maintained over the years while others have not.

Our advice: clean only if it’s safe. A couple centuries’ worth of buildup often adds to an item’s charm. If you’re not 100% certain of your ability to remove the residues without damaging the piece itself or its lovely patina, please don’t even try!

Some antiques may be too fragile to handle without special knowledge and equipment. A good question to ask yourself: Can I gently refresh this piece with nothing more than a super-soft brush or untreated microfiber cloth, a few toothpicks or cotton swabs for the nooks and crannies, and perhaps a can of keyboard forced-air cleaner?

If it’s going to take more than that, and you’re set on giving your antique a good spiffing-up, we strongly recommend calling in a professional.