All there is to know about IsoGuard®
In a nutshell
We protect all of our oak with a timber treatment called IsoGuard®. An oil-based formula, it increases the natural resistance of the wood to help it stand up to spills, marks and scuffs. Put simply, it makes life better for your furniture, and hopefully for you too.
How it works
This bit sounds fancy, but that’s because it is. IsoGuard® penetrates the timber surface and bonds with each wood fibre at a molecular level. The special waxes within help to repel stains and marks without creating a barrier so the wood can still look natural. It does so much more than coating. Linseed oil forms its base but the active ingredients are what make it really special. They’re our secret formula.
And in a bit more detail
This part is for those who want to know a little more about the science behind IsoGuard®. As we say above, linseed oil is the main ingredient, but it acts only as the carrier component for our secret, active ingredient, and it's that which reacts with the cellulose fibres of the wood. Both linseed oil and the active ingredient are non-hazardous and environmentally-friendly so you can rest safe in the knowledge that you're treating your natural timber with a non-toxic, natural product.
IsoGuard® also contains a clever pigment that prevents the natural timber colour from being altered. Like with all furniture oils, linseed will darken the wood and so the Natural IsoGuard® then replicates the original tones so it appears as though untreated. Of course if you opt for one of our Chalked or Seasoned IsoGuard® finishes they too will undo the darkening process but the final finish will have a slightly different appeal depending on which you choose.
Living with IsoGuard®
IsoGuard® is tough. It can repel water, and most other household liquids from wine to cordial, and leave the surface unblemished, but only for a time (up to four hours). If you mark it and leave it however, there’s more chance of the stain leaving a trace.
As a general rule of thumb, clean up any stains as quickly as possible with a dry e-cloth. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or you can accidentally damage the wood fibres and undo the IsoGuard® protection.
We always recommend regular maintenance because dirt can quickly clog up the wood's pores. It's very easy to be tempted to buy supermarket cleaning products and wipes but quite often they interfere with the wood's surface and leave a film, which like furniture polish, can end up attracting more dirt.
Instead, we suggest using our IsoGuard care kit that we’ve developed specifically for our designs. For direct stain removal, use our GreaseSpot Remover or LimeSpot Treatment, depending on the type of stain. For a deep clean, our Surface Soap is perfect.
Time for a refresh
Over time IsoGuard®’s level of protection will gradually lessen. Friction from usage and day-to-day cleaning will wear down the special waxes and so to maintain the highest standard of protection, we suggest you lightly sand back your piece every two-three years and reapply a new coat of IsoGuard® following the steps below.
1. Clean the wood surfaces with a damp cloth and then dry fully.
2. Sand the wood in the direction of the grain, never across it. The grade of sandpaper you use will have a great effect on the final appearance so make sure you use the same grade throughout so the result is uniform. We suggest a grit of 150–220.
3. To remove all the dust, first vacuum with a soft bristle attachment then wipe with a dry e-cloth until there’s not even a trace of wood dustings. The preparation part is really important otherwise the dust particles will become trapped, leaving you with a grainy texture and forming a barrier that will prevent the IsoGuard® from working properly.
4. Now comes the application. Stir the IsoGuard® well and use a cloth or non-absorbent sponge to spread it across the surface, moving the oil around and keeping the surface wet for 10-15 minutes. It can actually be quite therapeutic.
5. Remove all excess oil (again in the direction of the grain) for an even sheen and do so with a fresh, clean cloth. If this part isn’t done thoroughly, a layer can be left that won’t actually provide extra protection but instead could make the surface less durable and more prone to marking.
Once the IsoGuard® is applied, the molecular reaction happens only a few minutes later. It's an oxidisation process, and to cure properly it ideally needs strong airflow and 'normal' room temperature (that's about 20°C). The initial curing takes 24-36 hours, but full curing process is somewhat lengthy (21 days). During this time you'll need to treat the area with extreme care because it's much more susceptible to marking. Colder environments and increasing humidity won't do anything to speed the process up, it'll just take longer. So for those 21 days, you'll need to let it be as much as is possible. You can of course still use your product after the initial curing but be sure to use coasters and don’t clean the surface with any liquid until the third week, at which point you can use mild, soapy water if necessary. Be sure to not use washing up liquid though. When we say soapy, we mean using a dilution of our Surface Soap solution. It's better to do it well every few years than to do it wrong and need to repeat the process much more frequently.
One final word
IsoGuard® application also produces an exothermic reaction, which basically means it gives off heat. Make sure you don't leave any used cloths in direct sunlight after use and dispose of them correctly to be on the safe side and to avoid combustion. Either lay the used cloths to dry out or submerge them in water until clean.