So you have bought a piece of chalk painted furniture or having painted it yourself, you are now thinking, how on earth do I keep it clean?! If you have painted it, you will have most likely spent hours and hours making it look absolutely stunning and even though it has that shabby chic, distressed look, you don't want it covered in little people's messy fingers, discarded food or water marks.
First thing first after you have finished painting, you will need to make sure the piece is sealed, either with wax or a water soluble varnish (and oil based one will yellow your piece and I don't think we want this finish!). All of my furniture painted with Autentico Vintage is sealed with 2 coats of Autentico clear wax, which is naturally water repellent and durable. If you are using the Versante range, there is no need to wax as this paint is self priming and sealing.
After waxing, the piece of furniture will be dry after 24 hours but it will take 30 days to fully cure. Even the best of us find it hard to completely cover a piece with wax after one coat so after 24 hours apply a second thin coat to ensure durability. Be careful during these first few days as the wax will not be fully hardened, but you can use it gently, having said this, you need to buff the wax up after 24 hours otherwise it will become too hard!
Chalk painted furniture is meant to be loved for many years, down generations and it will over time naturally take on its own unique patina due to age, wear, cleaning and exposure to the elements. If you have distressed your furniture, it was to quickly re-create this wear of daily life, if you don't want your piece to keep distressing further its important to reapply wax as and when needed.
But how often should I reapply wax I hear you say! Well, this depends on how often you are wiping the piece of furniture, every time you wipe the surface you are taking a tiny bit of wax off. When the surface can no longer buff up a shine its time to reapply some more wax, this can be done with a clean cloth or wax brush over the existing wax on the surface.
When using a varnish (Autentico uses Polyvine) or wax, it makes the piece water repellent. Despite this, I recommend that you use coasters under water glasses and placemats on dining tables and you clean any spills as soon as you possibly can. Though, sometimes kids just don't listen to you, so if one of them does leave a glass on the top and you get a lovely water ring or scuff, grab a sponge and buff it out. It will not get rid of the mark completely but will greatly reduce it's visibility.
If you waxed your finished piece, its worth remembering that wax will dissolve in alcohol, so avoid any alcohol spills and avoid using cleaning products that contain alcohol. Therefore I stick to natural cleaning products or a slightly damp soft cloth with a little mild soap.
Do not use any liquid furniture polishes as they may contain dimethicone (a silicone which can cause cracks to appear in the paint). On tables tops, use felt on heavy pieces that have rough bottoms that might scratch the tops.
While of course you should look after it, it's worth remembering that shabby chic is all about embracing the imperfections and enjoying its character, so don't stress if you knock it!
If you have any other questions, just let me know
Simone :) xxx