It’s the holiday season, and that means time for entertaining. Guests will be going through the house in greater numbers than usual, and your furniture will be seeing more wear and tear right when you want everything to look its best! People often sweep or vacuum their floors when cleaning, but neglect to clean their furniture. Keeping furniture clean not only leaves it looking, smelling, and feeling nicer; it also prolongs the life of the furniture. Here are a few tips on how to clean and maintain your furniture, in the interest of having a neat and inviting home.
- Prompt stain removal is important for all surfaces, including leather and wood. The longer a stain remains on the surface, the harder it will be to remove. Oily stains can often be removed with mild dishwashing detergent or rubbing alcohol. Don’t apply anything to leather until you are sure it is safe for the surface. When removing stains, replace your absorbent cloth frequently, and remember to blot instead of scrub.
- Leather furniture, such as couches and ottomans, should be dusted regularly. Dust can wear leather out prematurely. Leather should also be kept away from sunlight.
- Upholstery should be vacuumed regularly, especially along seams and crevices. Cushions should be flipped when they are vacuumed. Dirt can settle into the fibers of upholstery, where it can grind against them and cause premature wear. Flipping and rotating cushions prevents them becoming overused in any one area.
- Even if your sofa cushions have zippers, it’s not a good idea to take them off and wash them in the washing machine. The zippers are usually to allow for replacement of the cushions, not necessarily for cleaning the cushion covers. Machine washing may cause them to fade or shrink.
- If upholstery is dirty, and is not antique, it should be washed: Create a mixture of warm water and a small amount of mild laundry detergent and whisk together. Use a sponge to spot test a small amount on the back of the piece to check for colorfastness. If the upholstery tolerates washing, gently wash the entire surface with a damp sponge and the suds mixture, working it into spots and stains until they disappear. Wipe the furniture dry with a light colored towel as you work, then let it air dry completely.
- If upholstered fabric has not been treated, consider applying stain protection. This will prevent stains from setting in deeply and will make them easier to remove in the future.
- Wood should be dusted or wiped down with a clean, slightly damp cloth.
- Scratches on wood can be very gently buffed out with a clean cloth and toothpaste or a baking soda and water paste. Apply wood oil after buffing to protect the wood and restore shine.
If furniture has noticeable cracks, tears, or holes, consider professional furniture repair. Professionals will be able to get results you’d never be able to match at home. An expert can restore the beauty and function of your expensive furniture so that it doesn’t have to be replaced.