Home Tips + Advice Things You Didn’t Know Can Ruin Your Antiques
Tips + Advice

Things You Didn’t Know Can Ruin Your Antiques


For those who cherish antiques, it’s crucial to give them the care and respect they deserve. However, you might be unknowingly posing risks to these precious items. Fortunately, you can stop bad practices in their tracks! Use the information in this list of things you didn’t know that can ruin your antiques to make sure you take care of your possessions the right way.

Moisture and Humidity

Imagine antique wood and paper items as posh people who detest anything less than a perfectly climate-controlled environment. Too much humidity, and they warp and swell indignantly. Too little, and they crack and crumple in protest. Monitor your indoor humidity and keep it stable to keep your antiques in good shape. This way, your valuables can remain in good condition.

Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight is to antiques what kryptonite is to Superman. It can fade and deteriorate your beloved antique furniture and textiles over time. If your antique sofa could talk, it’d probably scream for sunglasses and a hat! Consider positioning these pieces out of direct light or use curtains to shield them from the sun’s harsh glare. They’ll thank you by not losing their vibrant colors and dignity.


Harsh Cleaners

Harsh cleaners can strip away finishes and patinas that have taken decades (or centuries!) to develop, leaving you with a very clean but damaged antique. The trick here is gentle cleaning and using products specifically designed for antiques. For example, Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner is a gentle cleanser that can help. But sometimes, a soft cloth alone is your best tool.


Believe it or not, certain foods can cause sterling silver antiques to tarnish because of their sulfur content. Foods high in sulfur, such as eggs, onions, and mayonnaise, can turn your shiny heirlooms into candidates for an antique version of a makeover show. It’s best to rinse off any food residue post-use and polish them gently to keep that sparkle alive.

Pests and Insects

Woodworms, moths, and carpet beetles are things many don’t realize can ruin their antiques. These little creatures don’t see antiques; they see dinner and a home. These uninvited guests can quickly turn your precious items into an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Regular maintenance, which involves using appropriate pest repellents and storage methods, can keep these critters at bay. Remember, preventing an infestation is better than sending an SOS to pest control.

Mishandling and Poor Storage

Treating antiques as if they’re invincible is a recipe for disaster. Carrying a chair by its armrest or stuffing that ancient quilt in a damp basement can lead to irreparable damage. When storing or moving antiques, it’s important to handle them with care—think of them as fragile artifacts in a museum. Proper support, gentle cleaning, and controlled environments are key.

Ensuring the longevity of your antiques isn’t rocket science, but it does require knowledge and a lot of love. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can help preserve the beauty and integrity of your antiques.

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