The gloves are on and you’re ready to tackle cleaning house. Although you might want to avoid a deep clean and skip over cleaning furniture altogether, it’s important to remember that keeping your furniture clean will in fact lengthen its lifespan as well as keeping its appearance good as new. Because furniture is made of many different materials and comes in all shapes and sizes one piece may require a different method of cleaning than another and so forth.
Here are some standard methods for cleaning various pieces of furniture:
- Vacuum. Regardless of what your furniture is made of vacuuming is the easiest way to pick up dirt, dust, crumbs or remnants of things that might have fallen through cushions or spaces. Vacuum furniture cushions thoroughly, remove them and vacuum the foundation or platform beneath them as well. Don’t forget to get any corners or crevices. This will set a good foundation to proceed with solvents.
- Brush. An alternative to vacuuming is brushing your furniture. Materials such as microfiber is stain resistant due to the fiber density so, brushing actually gets most dirt and debris out. Be cautious of brushing on more delicate materials such as leather or wood as it can leave scratches. Only brush under cushions.
- Check for a label or furniture tag. Most pieces of furniture have a label indicating the best way to clean or at the very least the name of the brand or manufacturer you can lookup. You can find labels underneath chairs or seat cushions and will likely come across some codes; W, S, WS, X. Each letter represents the type of solvent needed to clean the type of material your piece of furniture is made of. Please keep in mind that it’s always recommended to test solvents on a concealed area prior to cleaning in full to avoid any adverse reactions. Let it dry completely and if all is well, you’re good to go.
Here’s what each code means:
- W – Water-based solvent. You can make a water-based cleaner at home by combining water, a few drops of liquid dish soap, baking soda and capful of white vinegar into a spray bottle or bowl.
- S – Water-free product or dry cleaning solvent.
- WS – Either water-based or water-free will work.
- X – Call the professionals. These pieces of furniture need professional cleaning and this code should be kept in mind when furniture shopping as they require higher maintenance.
Now that we’ve covered the gist, here’s some more information on how to care for the most common materials used on furniture such as leather and wood.
Leather furniture should be kept out of the sun and at least 2’ away from heat conductors in your home to reduce the chances of cracking. Close blinds and curtains when you’re not in a room and try rotating your furniture pieces if they often receive some kind of natural light from windows. Leather solvent can also be made at home and is comprised of equal parts white vinegar and water and applied with a rag. Be sure to wring out excess water so the rag is damp and rinse often to avoid spreading dirt. Follow-up cleaning with a dry cloth. To nourish leather, use one-part white vinegar to two-parts linseed oil. Shake the mixture and apply with a cloth while buffing with a dry soft cloth as needed.
Water should be avoided as cleaners on wood furniture to avoid warping or cracking. If water is used, it should be very little and wiped dry immediately. Also avoid using feather dusters on wood as the quills may scratch the surface. You can determine which solvent cleaner is most appropriate by determining the finish of the wood; stained, painted, etc. Any tough grimy spots can be broken down with the use of mineral spirits such as paint thinner. Use a rag to clean these areas but also be sure that you are in a well ventilated area.
Roll up your sleeves and give your furniture some TLC. They’ll reward you by sticking around longer.
Just another ShopRTO Home Lifestyle tip.
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