Keep your Furniture clean with our Furniture Cleaning Tips!!

1. Welcome to our Furniture Cleaning Tips Page.

There are different types of furniture. Wood, Antique, Wicker, Fabric etc and each type of furniture needs different Furniture Cleaning Tips to keep them in good condition and make them last for a long tome.

Below we give you all the tips for each type of furniture.

2. Cleaning of Wood Furniture.

a. Treatments To Keep Your Wood Looking New.

No matter how careful you are when it comes to treating and caring for your wood, it is likely that you will end up with some stains on it from time to time.

Wood often is more susceptible to stains than other products because it will absorb the stain quickly. That means that you need to work carefully to treat these stains in order to protect your wood in the long run.

Many of the stain treatments that you will need to use will need to be done as soon as possible. They should be cleaned thoroughly to remove any unnecessary debris on the wood. Then, you may need to try to cover them up a bit as well.

b. Hiding the Stains (if they have not been removed quickly).

Polishing is the first thing that you need to take care of.

To polish your wood, select a good quality furniture polish.

You can wax your furniture with a paste style wax every six to twelve months as needed.

You should first remove any old wax that is on the furniture using a non alkaline soap mixed with water. Polishing your furniture can be done weekly. However it depends on the colour of the wood.

i. Dark Wood: If you have dark wood, then you will want to find a shoe polish that will match the lightest shade of the finish. If the product is scratched, you can also use a walnut or Brazil nuts. Rub it in the direction of the scratch.

ii. Cherry Wood: For wood with a cherry finish, you can use a shoe polish that has the right colour of red. If the scratch is noticeable still, consider getting some darkened iodine and use a cotton swab to put it onto the stain to hide it. Make sure that the colours match well here.

iii. Light Wood: Again, you can use shoe polish to help you to cover these stains. You can also use darkened iodine that is diluted by 50% with denatured alcohol.

c. Getting rid of the stains.

Tips For Wood Polishing.

Now that you have a way of hiding your stains a bit, you may want to consider if there are other ways to get rid of them.There is no doubt that a stain is likely to happen. If you take some time with them, though you can easily find a result that is better for you and your furniture in the long run.

Most types of stain removal techniques that you will find are not suitable for wood products. They may work on the wine spill on your carpet but will ruin your wood considerably. Be careful when using these.

If you do not feel that you trust a solution, consider having the furniture refinished by a professional.

No matter what treatment you find below, you should always test the treatment on a hidden spot on the furniture to make sure that it will not ruin your furniture. This is essential:

  • Water Marks. Use a clean cloth, placing it down on top of the stain. Use a warm iron on top of that. Keep doing it until the ring is gone. Make sure to properly wax or polish the furniture afterwards.
  • White Marks. Make a mixture of cigarette ashes and lemon juice. Dip a cloth into it and apply to the area.
  • Milk and Alcohol Stains. Wipe up the spill quickly and rub the spot vigorously with your palm or with a cloth dipped in a small amount of furniture polish.

    For older stains use a paste of rottenstone, baking soda or cigarette ashes mixed with mineral oil, linseed oil, or lemon oil. Rub lightly in the direction of the grain. Then wipe with plain linseed oil. Rub briskly with the grain of the wood, using a clean soft cloth. Wipe frequently to compare and match gloss of the repaired area with the original finish.

  • Cigarette Burns.

    Light cigarette burns which have not penetrated the finish may be removed with a thin paste of rottenstone, soda or cigarette ashes mixed with mineral oil or linseed oil. Rub lightly in the direction of the grain. Wipe with plain linseed oil. Repeat as necessary, then polish.

    Another remedy for minor burns or blemishes is to dip a cotton swab in paint remover and rub the damaged area gently to remove charred material. Scrape the area if needed. Use one to two drops of clear fingernail polish to fill the depressed area. Let set and repeat until you build up the area to the same level as the wood around it.

    If the burn is too deep to be restored by this method, consult a professional.

  • Paint Marks. Never use paint remover or strong chemicals to dissolve paint. They may cause extensive damage to the finish.

    Wipe off water-thinned paints with wet cloth. Wipe surface immediately with dry cloth to prevent water damage to finish.

    You may be able to lift dry paint with a putty knife.

    Caution: Water will make shellac finish sticky.

  • Candle Wax. Scrape away as much wax as you can using your finger, a plastic kitchen scraper, or a stiff piece of cardboard. Applying ice cubes in a plastic bag to the wax may help it to crumble.

    Wipe up water as ice melts to prevent water spots. Remove remaining traces of wax with a cloth moistened with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or cream furniture wax. Repeat if needed. Re-polish entire surface area.

  • Cloudy or Streaked Surface. Caused by grease deposited from cooking or too much wax/polish applied and not wiped dry. Clean by rubbing with furniture wax/polish containing solvent, and wiping off with clean, soft cloths.
  • Cracking and Checking. Checking and cracking of finishes is usually caused by exposure to extreme heat or cold, or extremely dry or wet environment. Waxing with paste wax will improve the appearance when checking is not too extreme.

    Apply thinly, in a circular motion, and polish dry at once with a clean cloth. Try to rub the wax out of the cracks; if it dries in there, it may appear white.

    To remove the white lines, rub with a cloth saturated in turpentine. Use an old toothbrush to get wax out of the crevices. Wash with mild soap and warm water, rinse with clear water and dry well. Rewax the surface.

    Note: When working on a checked finish, always use a circular motion.

    Note: Most of the times it is usually necessary to refinish the surface.

  • Dark Spots. Dark spots and discolorations that have not penetrated the finish may be removed with a rottenstone and oil paste.

    Rings and discolorations caused by some plastic or rubber items react with the finish and cannot be removed without refinishing.

  • Grease Stains. This is difficult at best. If stain is deep or old it may be difficult to remove. However there are methods that may remove less severe stains.

    • Place a blotter over the greasy spot. Press with a warm iron. Repeat until the spot is removed. Heat of iron may soften and damage the finish.
    • Caution: Dry-cleaning spot remover and mineral spirits are poisonous and flammable. Follow caution on labels. Use in well-ventilated area. Do not use near flame, spark, or pilot light. Do not smoke. Do not get on skin or clothing.

      Make a thick paste of Fullers Earth and liquid dry cleaning spot remover. Apply to the spot and allow the paste to dry. Brush away dry residue. Repeat several times if necessary. Solvent in spot remover may soften and damage finish, so test before using.

    • Saturate the area with mineral spirits: Caution: Dry- cleaning spot remover and mineral spirits are poisonous and flammable. Follow caution on labels. Use in well-ventilated area. Do not use near flame, spark, or pilot light. Do not smoke. Do not get on skin or clothing.

      Place Fuller's Earth, talcum powder, sawdust or an old cloth over the spot to absorb the grease as it is drawn out by the first application. Continue until the spot is removed. The mineral spirits will remove most finishes so that refinishing is needed.

  • Ink Stains. If ink is spilled on a worn or damaged finish in which the unsealed wood is exposed, it will penetrate deep into the wood and become almost impossible to remove. If, however, the finish has been protected with a layer of wax, ink can often be blotted up immediately without staining. The following methods may be helpful should a stain occur.

    Blot the spot immediately before the ink has a chance to penetrate the wood. Clean the surface using a cream wax or damp cloth. Do not rub.

    Keep turning the cloth to prevent smearing. Should the stain persist, treat the spot with rottenstone and oil as for alcohol stains.

    If stain remains, apply an oxalic acid solution with a medicine dropper or glass rod (two tablespoons oxalic acid to one pint lukewarm water). Allow the solution to stand a few minutes and rinse. The oxalic acid solution is a bleach and works slowly, so give it time to work on the stain.

    It may also bleach out part of the natural colour. The bleach will work better if the spot is sanded lightly before application.(CAUTION: Oxalic acid is poisonous. Follow label directions.)

3. Cleaning of Antique Furniture.

  • Care: Avoid extremes of humidity and temperature, which accelerate cracking and checking of finish, and loosen joints and veneer. Do not set beverage glasses, vases of flowers, etc. on surfaces without coaster or mat protection.
  • Cleaning: Vacuum or dust with a soft cloth. Occasionally use a cloth just barely dampened with solvent-based cleaning wax to wipe the surface to pick up more dust, and immediately wipe with a dry cloth or soft paper towel.

    Do not use spray waxes and polishes on surfaces as they will leave a higher gloss and some silicone which may make future refinishing more difficult.

  • Occasionally wax with paste (carnauba) wax: Rub on a very light coat with a soft cloth with the grain of the wood (or put a lump of wax inside a few layers of folded cheesecloth and rub onto wood thus preventing heavy smears); then buff at once with soft cloth, turning often, until wax coating is hard. (Old cotton tee-shirts are good.)

    Be sure all wax is completely buffed until hard to avoid smears and streaks. Here a small electric polisher is a great "arm-saver" on all smooth surfaces; wipe surface gently with clean soft cloth after applying wax to remove any loosened soil and then let set several minutes (following wax label directions) before power buffing.

    An occasional re-buffing will renew the soft gloss. Paste wax helps cover small cracks and checks in old finishes, and can easily be removed with solvent when desired.

    Since old finishes may be affected by cleaning treatments, always test the first time on any inconspicuous place on furniture to besure it is compatible with finish. Generally, the above treatments are satisfactory.

4. Piano Cleaning.

  • Care: Avoid extremes in humidity if possible, as excessive dampness or dryness is damaging. Sudden changes in temperature affect both the tone and the wood.

    Do not put near a radiator or window. Have it tuned regularly.

  • Cleaning: Follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning. The lacquer finish on the wood only needs to be dusted with a vacuum cleaner brush, and sometimes wiped with a soft, untreated dusting cloth or paper towel. It may not require waxing.

    Vacuum the keyboard.

  • If waxing of wood finish is desired: Use a wax or polish to give the desired amount of gloss. Old ivory keys yellow with age which is natural and cannot be changed; clean them with a cloth barely moistened with denatured alcohol as too much moisture loosens the keys; never use soap which stains ivory.

    Modern keys are made of plastic (usually acrylic) and may be wiped with a damp cloth, followed by a dry cloth. Follow manufacturer's instructions in guide with piano.

5. Cleaning of Wicker Furniture.

Wicker furniture is used inside the home as well as outside on porches and patios. Outdoors it can be affected by the wind and rain and especially by moisture.

Some humidity is beneficial. The heat that is consistent indoors will dry out the wicker inside the home. Hence the cracking sound when you sit on it. Therefore you need to add the moisture by wiping occasionally with a damp cloth.

Here therefore are the tips for cleaning and caring for your Wicker furniture:

  • Systematically dust your wicker by wiping with a soft cloth, or vacuum. To remove spills and stains, use a mild dish washing liquid, 1 tablespoon per gallon of water, wring somewhat dry and wipe gently.
  • Regular cleaning should be done perhaps every few weeks to keep your furniture looking good. Vacuum the dust from the wicker or hand dust, then wash with the suds only of a mixture of gentle detergent and warm water.

    Using clear water rinse by wiping off cleansing suds.

  • Clean furniture that is all wicker thoroughly at least annually. If it is painted it should not be saturated with water. This could cause damage to the paint. Simply clean with mild soapy water and a sponge that is not dripping wet.

    If the wicker has real wood built into the unit, clean with the normal method for cleaning wood furniture, and wipe the wicker part, down with mild soap, water, and a sponge.

    First dust the wicker by hand or by using a vacuum, being careful to remove all abrasive soil.

    Using slightly warm scarcely soapy water, and a sponge or cloth to wash entire piece. To clean every crevice, use a soft bristled brush.
    Rinse completely, and place in the sun to dry fully. Make sure the furniture is totally dry.

  • Sitting on your wicker furniture before it is completely dry will cause a distortion in shape.

    Do not allow any pressure for at least a few days after you are certain it is dry.

  • Using a varnish or lacquer finish or painting the wicker furniture can alleviate the washing and cleaning process by a great degree.

    After applying the surface paint or varnish the furniture needs several days of drying.

6. Cleaning of Fabric Furniture.

  • Fabric Selection.

    The useful life of upholstered furniture can be increased if the consumer follows a few simple fabric protection rules. It is very important that a fabric be chosen that is appropriate for its intended use. For example, if velvet covers are available in cotton, nylon and olefin, the nylon velvet might be appropriate for a large family for use in high traffic areas.

    The olefin velvet could also take heavy use and would be an excellent choice for humid climates where mildew is a problem.

    The cotton velvet has less abrasion and soiling resistance and so might be more appropriate for moderate activity areas.

  • Vacuuming.

    Weekly vacuuming or light brushing is a fabric care tip that helps to remove soil and protect fabric from the embedding of dirt or grime between fibers which can increase abrasion and wear.

  • Cushion Turning.

    The life of upholstered cushions can be increased through periodic turning. The weekly reversal of loose cushions will allow even distribution of wear over a long period of time.

  • Fabric Protection.

    Fabric protection helps to increase the useful life of upholstered furniture by protecting fabrics from soil and stains. Some fabric protections are mill applied and others can be applied in the store or at home.

    A protective finish does not eliminate the necessity of proper fabric care. It modifies the absorbency and soil removal characteristics of a fabric. It does not put a plastic cover on it.

    Loose dirt should be vacuumed and brushed away before it becomes embedded and harder to remove.

    Spills and stains should be cleaned away quickly following manufacturer's fabric care code instructions for furniture cleaning.

  • Fabric Cleaning.

    Many furniture fabrics now carry the furniture industry's cleanability code adopted in 1969. It gives the consumer information about the proper furniture cleaning methods for specific fabrics.

    There are four letters in the code, immediately followed by furniture cleaning instructions. The code letters are W, S, W-S, and X.

    Permanent furniture cleaning labels will normally be found under the seat cushion. When spot cleaning furniture, it is always a good idea for consumers to first pretest the fabric for discoloration and shrinkage on an inconspicuous part of the furniture.

    When overall furniture cleaning is required, professional furniture cleaning will often achieve the most satisfactory results.

    Never remove cushion covers or arm caps for separate furniture cleaning. This may destroy the backing, cause shrinking and create colour changes.

    Here then are the codes and appropriate cleaning:

    • Code "W":

      To prevent overall soil, frequent vacuuming or light brushing to remove dust and grime is a recommended step in furniture cleaning.

      Spot clean, using the foam only from a water-based cleaning agent such as a mild detergent or non-solvent upholstery shampoo product. Apply foam with a soft brush in a circular motion. Vacuum when dry.

      Pretest a small area before proceeding. Use a professional furniture cleaning service when an overall soiled condition has been reached.

    • Code "S":

      To prevent overall soil, frequent vacuuming or light brushing to remove dust and grime is recommended.

      Spot clean using a mild water-free solvent or dry cleaning product containing carbon tetrachloride which is highly toxic.

      Pretest a small area before proceeding.

      Furniture cleaning by a professional cleaning service only is recommended.

    • Code "W-S":

      To prevent overall soil, frequent vacuuming or light brushing to remove dust and grime is recommended.

      Spot clean, with a mild solvent, an upholstery shampoo, or the foam from a mild detergent.

      When using a solvent or dry cleaning product, follow instructions carefully and clean only in a well ventilated room. Avoid any product which contains carbon tetrachloride which is highly toxic.

      With either method, pretest a small area before proceeding.

      Use a professional furniture cleaning service when an overall soiled condition has been reached.

    • Code "X":

      Clean this fabric only by vacuuming or light brushing to prevent accumulation of dust or grime.

      Water-based foam furniture cleaners or solvent based furniture cleaning agents of any kind may cause excessive shrinking, staining or distortion of the surface pile and, therefore, should not be used.

7. Updates are ongoing.

More information about Furniture Cleaning Tips will be given as we develop this site further. Please bear with us as we gather the relevant information.

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