Tips for Looking After Your Internal Doors
We pass through doors several times a day and scarcely stop to give them a second thought; this is especially so of internal doors. However, internal and external doors send out a message – they can look either welcoming or forbidding, well-maintained or neglected – and this tells people something about the occupants of the building.
This is why it’s important to keep doors looking good and in good repair, so they function well and look friendly. Just think – what’s one of the creepiest sound effects in a horror film? That’s right, the creaking door…
The style of door also says something – solid oak suggests conservatism and trustworthiness, whereas a sliding door, or a frosted glass door, suggests a more modern ethos.
Whatever style of door you opt for, you need to take good care of it so it lasts for a long time. You’ll probably get specific maintenance advice from your doorstore, but in general, most doors need a similar care regime.
If you have unvarnished wood
Unvarnished wood looks warm and rustic, and there’s an easy way to keep it looking clean. Fill a bucket with some hot water and a small splash of gentle detergent, as well as a drop of vinegar and some olive oil.
Dip a washing-up sponge into the mixture, squeeze it out and gently wipe the wood of the door, working with the grain, not across it. Work quickly and don’t let any rivulets or drops of water stay on the wood for long. Wipe the excess moisture away with a clean cloth once you’re done, again, following the grain.
If you want to emphasise and bring out the grain and colours of the wood without making the door look varnished or “finished” in any way, then you can make up another mixture of hot water and olive oil. Add 15mls of oil to four litres of water and use a clean cloth to wipe the mixture over the door. This will bring out the depth and grain without leaving any grease or film on the wood.
If you have varnished wood
Many doors up and down the UK are made of varnished oak, although there are other woods used as well. It’s just as easy to keep a varnished door in good shape as it is to maintain a more rustic-looking one.
Of course, there’s cleaning and polishing the door, but you can also use a specialist wax once or twice a year to further protect it from dust and humidity.
To apply the wax, you might prefer to take the door off its hinges, or your arms will end up aching! Before you start waxing, check the varnish over for flaking and scratches, which may mean a re-sand and finish. If all seems well, you can start to apply the wax using a clean, lint-free cloth.
You’ll only need a small amount of wax, and you should always work with the grain. After you’ve applied one layer, let the door dry for 24 hours and see if you’ve got the result you wanted. If not, you can either apply another coating or buff the one you already did to bring up the shine a bit more.