Your Ultimate Guide To Do-It-Yourself Furniture Care

High quality furniture — like the furniture available at Marketplace Home Furnishings in Idaho Falls, Idaho — can represent a significant investment, but when it is well cared for it can last for decades or even generations. But how do you keep your furniture looking great year after year? That’s easy. You consistently use proper furniture care techniques to maintain the furniture’s materials and finish. This is true for everything from simple upholstered couches to heirloom quality wooden hutches.

Think about this, there’s a reason why heirloom and antique furniture that is still in good condition is almost invariably described as “well cared for.” Today, we wanted to offer you some tips on how you can keep your furniture well cared for. These home furniture care tips, when consistently applied, will help you keep your furniture in like new condition for years to come. Let’s get started

General Furniture Care

In general, there are a few furniture care techniques that should be applied to any furniture that you own. These basic care concepts, when applied consistently, can greatly prolong the life of your furniture and help to maintain its original look and appeal.

  • ALWAYS Follow the Manufacturer’s Care Instructions – It doesn’t matter what tips and tricks you find on the Internet, you should always follow any cleaning and care instructions provided by the furniture manufacturer. These instructions are typically compiled for that specific piece of furniture and should generally supercede any general care information you find elsewhere.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight – The most observable problem with direct sunlight is that it can cause the colors and finishes of your furniture to fade. This problem can be compounded when only a portion of the piece is in direct sunlight, creating uneven colors across the furniture’s surface. If your furniture is in direct sunlight long enough, it has the potential of degrading the integrity of the materials as well.
  • Avoid Extreme Temperature Changes – When furniture is quickly heated or cooled, especially when it happens frequently, the construction materials can degrade. Leather, wood, and fabrics can all become overly fragile when exposed to too much heat or too little moisture. Too much moisture, on the other hand, can also be problematic for these materials. That’s why temperature control and positioning are key factors in furniture care. You should position furniture away from radiators, heaters, air vents, and air conditioning units.
  • Avoid Placement Under Opened Windows – Natural elements like sun, wind, and rain can all be detrimental to your furniture. Positioning high quality furniture away from windows that will be opened can help you keep it in like new condition.
  • Understand Material Specific Care – Below, we’ll offer a few tips on caring for specific materials and furniture types, but there is no way that we can provide you with all the information you need about caring for your furniture in this article. Make sure that you spend some time researching the materials your furniture is made from so that you can care for them in the best possible way.
  • Clean Spills Immediately – No matter what kind of furniture you have, cleaning up spills in a timely manner is key to keeping it looking great. That goes for tables, chairs, couches, rugs, and anything else you have in your home.

Wood Furniture Care

  • Dust Damp and Dust Often – Using a dry dusting rag has the potential to create fine scratches in your wood surface. Gently spritz your dust rag with water, and dust with the grain of the wood on a regular basis to prevent dust buildup.
  • Do a Deep Cleaning Every Six Months – Mild furniture soap should be used on a semiannual basis to clean wood furniture that sees a lot of use.
  • Apply a Good Non-Silicone Furniture Polish When Needed – Polish wood furniture sparingly. Overuse of furniture polish results in a buildup that combines with skin oils and dirt to create a dull, sticky film on wood surfaces. Non-silicone furniture polish should be used because silicone does not evaporate and requires a lot of extra buffing to look good and prevent buildup.
  • Avoid Placing Plastic, Rubber, or Hot Objects on Wood Surfaces – Most people know that hot objects can burn, scorch, or discolor wood surfaces. What many people don’t realize is that certain plastics and rubbers can actually be detrimental to wood finishes, too. Line the bottom of plastic or rubber items with fabric or felt to prevent damage to your furniture.

Leather Furniture Care

  • Dust Surfaces Regularly – Like wood, leather should be regularly dusted to preserve the material and improve the look of your home. Use a soft, dry, lint-free cloth to dust leather.
  • Clean up Spills Immediately – Spills should be wiped up immediately with a clean sponge or cloth. If there are spots or stains, a mild non-detergent soap can often be used to clean the leather. Use a wiping or dabbing motion instead of rubbing. The soap should be rinsed well, gently wiped off, and the leather allowed to air dry.
  • Cleaning Grease, Oil, Butter, Etc. is Different – If grease, oil, or butter is spilled on leather furniture, gently wipe the leather with a clean cloth and leave it alone. The leather will absorb the oil without detriment. Do NOT apply water to the spill.
  • Do Not Use Saddle Soap, Furniture Polish, Oils, Varnishes, Cleaning Solvents, or other Chemical Solutions to Clean Leather Furniture.

Chair and Couch Care

  • Protect Surface Materials – Whether your chairs and couches are fabric or leather, their surfaces need to be cared for and protected. Custom fitted arm caps can often be purchased along with your furniture to help protect high contact areas. Washable slipcovers should also be used in the summer to help protect your furniture from sweat, sun screen, suntan oils, and other hazards.
  • Vacuum Upholstered Furniture Weekly – The surface of upholstered couches and chairs should be vacuumed regularly to remove dust and dirt buildup. All couch and chair cushions should be removed and the vacuum’s crevice tool used to clean the inside edges of the furniture on a regular basis.
  • Flip, Rotate, and Rearrange Cushions and Furniture Pieces – Most people have a favorite place to sit in their home. Unfortunately, this regular use of furniture can result in uneven wear and tear. In order to prolong the life of commonly used furniture, you should regularly flip and rotate any loose cushions. This goes for decorative pillows as well. Rearranging furniture can also help even out use. Consider swapping the positions of your sofa and loveseat or two chairs on a semiannual basis.

Bed Care

  • Take Care of Your Bed Frame – Bed frames and headboards should be cared for on a regular basis. Most frames and headboards should be dusted on a weekly basis and cleaned when needed. You should also check the frame for broken or missing pieces every six to twelve months.
  • Regularly Deep Clean Your Mattress – Despite spending approximately one third of their life in bed, many people don’t think about cleaning their mattress. Nevertheless, mattresses should probably be deep cleaned no less than four times a year. Use your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment to clean the surface, seams, and crevices of your mattress. This can help remove a great deal of dead skin cells, body soil, and other substances that have collected over time. Mild upholstery detergent should be used at the same time to spot treat any stains. You can also easily deodorize your mattress. Simply sprinkle the mattress surface with baking soda and let it sit for 24 hours. Then vacuum up the baking soda with your upholstery attachment.
  • Consistently Wash Your Blankets and Sheets – Sheets should be changed and washed at least once a week and blankets should be washed every two to four weeks. Maintaining clean bedding isn’t just good for your bed, it’s good for your health as well.

Rug Care

While area rugs aren’t technically considered furniture, we thought we’d offer you a few tips on routine rug care because your rugs are definitely part of your home furniture layout.

  • Avoid Placing Rugs in Direct Sunlight – Direct sunlight can cause the colors of your rug to fade and the material to break down prematurely.
  • Avoid Damp and Humid Conditions – Area rugs that experience long term exposure to moisture or humidity can breakdown or even begin to mildew. You should generally keep area rugs in dry areas and keep the rugs themselves as dry as possible. You should also avoid placing watered plants on top of your rugs to avoid the possibility of water seepage or spillage.
  • Vacuum Rugs Regularly – One of the most important parts of rug care is routine vacuuming. Vacuum rugs at least once a week without engaging the beater bars. If your rugs are in high traffic areas or you have pets, you should do this more often. Do NOT vacuum rug fringes.
  • Brush or Sweep Rugs – If your rugs have fringes, use a broom to clean the fringe after you have vacuumed the rest of the rug. Brushes and brooms are also effective at removing stubborn pet hair that your vacuum may have missed.
  • Rotate Your Rugs – To avoid uneven wear and tear, you should rotate your rugs every few months. This helps distribute traffic wear and any fading that may occur.

In short, just don’t take your high quality furniture for granted. Careful treatment and regular care are the keys to keeping your furniture looking great.

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