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Cleaning: Back to Basics


I recently acquired a family heirloom, a magnificent oak china cabinet. The incredible cabinet stands close to 7 feet tall at the peak of the arch top. The cabinet doors are constructed with panes of glass that are framed with oak mullions; it has three heavy, curved, glass shelves.

The back wall of the cabinet is lined with mirrors; the mirrors are a bit smoky , looking like mercury glass. The reflection that the mirrors produce seem aged and weathered, but somehow mystical too. Those mirrors reflected so many wonderful family gatherings as it stood at attention in the frequently used oak paneled dining room.

The wooden components of the cabinet are outstanding; the grain of the oak is intricate and deep it defines the beauty of the trees, and artisanship used to create this century old piece. The wood follows the profile of the arched top. The panels of oak bend and curve; I was totally blown away when I saw the true construction of a piece of furniture that I had sat in the shadow of so many times.

The movers took great care as they separated the glass top of the cabinet from the dovetailed drawers, and turned leg base. Two gigantic wood screws fastened the top to the bottom; the moving men had to find a flat head screwdriver with an enormous head to fill the slot of the massive screw. My heart pounded as the men wrapped each section in layers with moving blankets and tape. They then carried the deconstructed cabinet around corners, into a hallway and down a flight of stairs, and then across a porch, out and onto the moving truck.

I met the truck at my house, I felt like I held my breath for the duration of the trip!  The movers gracefully carried the pieces of the cabinet into its new home, my house, where they assembled the cabinet again with the massive screws and thick old screw driver. We all sighed a sign of relief when the china cabinet was snug and nestled against the wall of its new dining room.

After standing and looking in awe at the cabinet for a bit, it was time to get the piece cleaned up.

There was no doubt in my mind that Murphy’s Oil Soap was the cleaner for this task. I used Murphy’s Oil Soap with Orange Oil in a ready to use spray bottle, this product worked magic on the old dry wood, all while removing ages of dust and dirt. I could see the wood just soaking it in, and the nourished shine the Murphy’s Oil left on the thirsty wood was brilliant!

I know this post is a bit wordy and may read like a total endorsement for Murphy’s Oil Soap, which is basically true in both respects, but I chose the Murphy’s because I trust it. Murphy’s Oil is safe; it is a plant-based solvent that has been around since… well it has always been around that I can remember. I know that Home Depot sells more than one plant based cleaner and they are all great, and all work well; but when it came to cleaning a family heirloom that will one day be passed to the next generation, I went back to basics…to the original safe, no residue, no gloves needed cleaner to preserve and protect…and it done good!

A new shine and a new home for the china cabinet, but the reflections will stay the same….faces of family and friends and good time gatherings will shine from those smoky mirrors. There is no china in the china cabinet, it is filled with photographs of loved ones past and present, treasured moments captured on film that will be preserved hopefully forever and passed down just like the china cabinet!


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Posted 2018-02-15T17:34:23+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS Maureen_HD_BOS
Hi Maureen,

Wow! what a magnificent cabinet, anyone would love to have it, I am glad the movers were careful with it,  I hope the circumstances surrounding it's arrival were not  sorrowful.  Thanks for sharing it.

Posted 2018-02-15T21:03:34+0000  by Mike_HD_OC
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