Nothing is cozier than relaxing beside a crackling fire and enjoying the warm glow. And a solid and tastefully decorated mantelpiece is the finishing touch every hearth needs. Because a fireplace is a focal point of a room, proper care and maintenance of your fireplace mantel shelf are essential.
7 Tips for Maintaining Your Wood Fireplace Mantel
Whether you have ordered and installed a custom-made mantel or have adventurously and successfully completed a DIY fireplace mantel, you want your creation to look its best and last for years to come. But like most of us with busy schedules, you want to care for your mantel without spending too much time. We have good news: you can easily maintain your mantel using the following quick, low-cost tips.
At Dogberry Collections, we specialize in DIY fireplace mantels and custom-made mantels so we know the ins and outs of mantels. We use only high-quality wood harvested and handcrafted in the USA, and we understand the care needed to maintain your wood fireplace mantel. Keep reading for our top seven tips.
Tip 1: Keep Your Fireplace Mantel Shelf Clutter Free
Do not allow your fireplace mantel shelf to become a storage shelf. Keeping your shelf tidy is a great design tip – you, the other residents, and your guests will enjoy a simple, tastefully decorated shelf much more than stacks of books, papers, and knickknacks. Keeping your mantel shelf clutter-free is also an easy way to increase the safety and longevity of your shelf. An overweighted shelf can be a safety hazard that causes potential structural damage. It also increases the chances of having materials sit on the shelf for an extended period of time that can damage the wood, such as mugs, cups, bottles of liquids, or flammable materials. Finally, a clutter-free fireplace mantel is much easier to dust and maintain than a shelf that requires sorting or rearranging to clean.
Tip 2: Dust Regularly
Dust your fireplace mantel shelf and decorations weekly with a dry duster. Remove any decorations and dust the entire mantel; this is where clutter-free design comes in handy! Dust your mantel after using your fireplace as well to remove any soot or smoke coating and avoid long-term stains and damage. Use a dry sponge for excessive soot coating on or around your mantel (see Tip 4 for more soot-cleaning suggestions).
Tip 3: Use the Right Cleaning Products
Deep clean wooden fireplace mantels regularly but less frequently than dusting. Use a soft cloth and a mild household cleaner, preferably an oil-based cleaner such as Murphy’s Oil. You can also use kitchen-grade mineral oil. A quality oil cleaning will enhance your fireplace mantel shelf’s natural beauty and protect the finish of the wood. Regardless of the cleaner you decide to use, ensure there is no standing moisture on your shelf for long periods of time, as this can damage the wood.
Because wood can become scratched, warped, discolored, and weakened when wet or exposed to heavy-duty cleaning, avoid long-term exposure to or usage of the following cleaning materials:
- Water-based cleaners
- Abrasive cleaners
- Wire brushes
- Coarse brushes or rags
Tip 4: Properly Clean up Soot
Be aware of soot and smoke build-up, particularly if you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove. Soot is very oily and does not clean up nicely with water. Use a dry sponge or an eraser sponge designed to remove soot. You can clean any excess soot smears by dipping a corner of the sponge in rubbing alcohol and rubbing gently. If soot still does not come off, consider using a degreaser to treat trouble spots. However, use a degreaser sparingly, and test it out in a hard-to-see area first.
Tip 5: Know How to Polish and Treat Wood
Your wooden mantelpiece can be polished easily with a soft rag and oil-based cleaner or kitchen-grade mineral oil, as discussed in Tip 2. Remember to avoid abrasive cleaners and rough brushes or rags. Avoid waxes and furniture polish to decrease any potentially flammable and unsightly build-up over time.
You can also apply a sealant to your mantel yearly to protect the wood from fading, aging, moisture, and smoke. Follow the sealant’s packaging instructions and ensure your room is well-ventilated and windows open when applying it. Make sure the sealant has had plenty of time to dry before using your fireplace or redecorating your mantelpiece.
Tip 6: Avoid Water
We know we mentioned it before, but water is not a friend to wood. Water wears away wood stains, warps the wood, and can make your shelf become unsightly and irreparably damaged. Avoid soaking your shelf for any period of time with water or other liquid. Your soft cleaning rags should be damp, not dripping, and an oil-based cleaner should be used if possible.
Tip 7: Avoid Decorations that Permanently Damage or Stain Wood
There are many products and decorations that can damage or permanently stain wood. A good rule of thumb is to avoid decorating with anything that is liquid or can gather moisture. Also, avoid placing anything on your mantel that could sweat or spill. This includes:
- Beverages, including coffee mugs and wine glasses
- Candles and candle wax
- Oil diffusers
- Fresh cut flowers with water in the vase
- Inexpensive knickknacks with paint, glue, or other material that could melt or drip off over time
If you want to decorate with any of the above, consider using a coaster or other protective layer between the item and your mantel. Make sure to clean up any spills immediately.
Find Custom Fireplace Mantels on a Budget at Dogberry
Dogberry Collections offers beautiful custom fireplace mantels in five modern styles and a diverse color palette. Each of our fireplace mantels is handcrafted with wood harvested in the USA using our lightweight design for increased safety and durability. We also offer a solid timber fireplace mantel shelf for unmatched quality and durability. Our mantels come in a variety of lengths, sizes, and thicknesses.
Dogberry mantels are great for DIY projects. Homeowners can customize a mantel to match their style and home. The best part is that your mantel is shipped free and arrives ready to install with the necessary hardware and instructions.
Shop Dogberry Collections wood mantels today and find an affordable, long-lasting, and beautiful piece to add to your home.