If you own a wooden cane or have a loved one who uses one, you're probably quite used to seeing it sitting around or resting against the wall. One aspect of cane care that many people overlook, though, is basic cleanliness. That's not to stay that the cane is untidy, per se, but it's important to do more than the bare minimum from time to time in order to maintain the integrity of the material.
In this case, wood is quite a sensitive, special material that lends the cane the sturdiness the user needs to feel comfortable on their feet. Just as it provides the user with comfort, so too should the owner feel a sense of responsibility to treat the wood well. That starts with a few basic maintenance steps that ensure the cane will last as long as possible. Here are a few tips to get started.
If you tend to walk outside with your cane often, you know how much debris it can collect simply from exposure to the elements and public environments. That's why it's important to dust the cane off when done using it for the day. Use a dry cloth to gently buff away dust or dirt from the areas that require the most attention. You can do this every day if you tend to walk in areas rich with dirt, leaves, or gravel, but otherwise, you might opt to do so once or twice a week as a form of basic care.
A Little Polish
Even if you don't own a designer cane specifically, it's a good idea to treat it with the same respect. After all, it does so much for you! Invest in a high-quality cleansing polish that gently eliminates dust fragments, refreshes the appearance of the wood, and gives it a like-new appearance for years. Opt for products that are infused with natural ingredients, such as orange oil, so that the wood doesn't risk damage. You'll appreciate the look, feel, and even the scent of the cane with regular polishing.
It's unlikely that you give that walking cane a thorough once over every single time that you use it. But if you have a moment while you're cleaning it, take the opportunity to really inspect it closely. This is just as important to your safety as it is to the cane's appearance. Check the walking cane for nicks, scratches, or other signs of damage. If you see anything beyond a minor imperfection that may impede your comfort or the cane's performance, it's a good idea to have a professional inspect it. In some cases, you may just need to replace a part, be it the rubber base that supports the cane or a handle that has come loose over time. If you use an adjustable walking cane, be sure to extend it fully to ensure that the buttons all work properly. You may hear a snap that indicates that it's working fine, but you should test its stability, in any case, to be certain of its integrity. Repeated usage can result in all kinds of minor abnormalities, so don't panic if you do discover something - this is just a simple way to ensure that your cane is not only clean from tip to base but also providing you with the safety you need every time you step outside the door.
Things to Avoid
Wood canes require special care and attention, just like hardwood floors and wooden furniture. That's why it's important to avoid chemical agents that might harm the appearance and structure of the wood - and more importantly, impede your ability to use the walking cane safely. Steer clear of soaps and detergents, which are usually too harsh for delicate wood surfaces. Stick with polishes that are designed specifically for wood furniture or canes. Slightly damp cloths are also fine to use.
By practicing regular care and treating your cane with the attention it deserves, you'll enjoy years of reliable use from your walking cane. Remember that wood is a sensitive type of material that requires some extra TLC!