Rustic/Adirondack Furniture pieces can be very intricate with lots of hard to reach spots and sometimes have rough bark left on. The first thing some people think about is that it must be so hard to clean. Well, compared to a straight edged, flat furniture item with no character, yes it can be. Rustic furniture lovers don't dwell on this aspect. What they see is something unique and artistic that will bring a special character and feeling to their home. Do you want furnishings that are truly original or do you want the same old thing as everyone else in the neighborhood. I like originality and I like to have furniture that is durable, useful, and artistic. I also like the tie to the outdoors and the natural shapes that come along with the rustic style. So, I guess I'm willing to have something that may be a little harder to clean in order to get all those other benefits. The rustic pieces that we have really aren't that challenging so it is a little sad for me to think that someone would be scared away from Adirondack furniture because it may be hard to clean. But the truth is that they just aren't seeing it the same way and they don't appreciate it the same way, which is fine, everyone has their own tastes.
So how do you clean this type of furniture? The smooth parts and tops can be cared for like anything else, with dusting and regular cleanings. It is good to know the finish because you may care for it differently depending on if it is a urethane, a wax, or an oil, etc... If there are roots, branches or other tight spots you can dust and use a thin, soft brush that can be pushed into the holes. Find one that has soft bristles all the way around so that it can get into spots between the woods to get at dust and webs. For Birch bark you want to be careful not to peel any off, especially if it doesn't have a finish over the bark. Lightly dust with the direction of the bark. You can try using compressed air to bow off loose dust as well but make sure it is a low pressure and test it first, so that you don't blow off any of the bark. Their are small cans used for computer keyboards and so forth that can work well. Again be careful not to catch any lose pieces that may be curling up.
The bottom line is that rustic furniture can be kept up and properly cleaned, and it is not that difficult. You need to get to know each piece of furniture and take your time so that you are making it better instead of hurting it somehow. Get creative with the utensils you use. Perhaps a tool that is for another purpose would work wonders cleaning your special piece of furniture. In the end it is worth any extra effort to have a beautiful piece of unique furniture in your home.
Enjoy and Go Rustic!