After filling in, we can proceed to the next step in the process of maintaining and caring for furniture, including antiques, is a thorough cleaning. The interior should be brushed down and vacuumed. All loose dirt should be dusted from the surface prior to washing. Washing is done with clean warm water and any liquid soap, not detergent. Put a few drops of soap into a quart of water, add more if surface accumulations are excessive. Wash the piece with a soft cloth or sponge that has been wrung out. The surfaces should NOT be flooded with the soap water mixture. Puddles should not be allowed to stand on any surface. In some cases a plastic scouring pad can be used to remove thick accumulations, paint splatters and any other surface irregularities. Do Not rub too hard at this time on paint splatters or smudges; these can be dealt with during the treatment process.
Some finishes such as shellac and spirit based varnishes will turn milky when water is applied. The hazy milky ness will go away as the surface dries out completely. Don’t panic if there is some cloudiness, the treatment process will eliminate this problem.
Once the surface has been washed and cleaned, a dry cloth is used to wipe up any moisture remaining on the surface. Particularly abused or dirty finishes may require a second washing after the first washing has dried completely. Before the second washing or before the treatment process, the surfaces must be completely dry. This can take from a few minutes to a few days depending on the humidity and temperature.