How to Clean & Make Furniture Last
Creating a home theater is no small investment. The combination of a big-screen TV, speakers, installation/set-up, furniture, and decorations can costs thousands of dollars. In order to get the most years out of your furniture, you must know how to clean furniture correctly and keep it in great condition with these easy maintenance ideas.
Clean Leather Furniture
Leather is usually considered a "luxury" material because it looks beautiful and feels great, but leather is also a type of material that is easily maintained. In order to hold the value of your leather, you should follow a few simple tasks in order to keep it looking, feeling, and even smelling new. First, you should also know of the different styles of leather finishes before you try to clean it:
- Aniline leather is natural looking and will feature more noticeable natural marks, barbed wire scars, scratches, brands and wrinkles. The uniqueness of this leather will work for you if you are looking for a piece of furniture that is distinctive when looking at other furniture. Aniline leather should be cleaned with a soft cloth and vacuumed with a soft brush extension. You should also rub the leather down with a cleaning solution to preserve the quality of the leather.
- Pigmented (or aniline-plus leather) is treated to achieve a smoother color, fewer scratches, marks, and branding, and to resist stains. This is probably the most common form of leather you will find in furniture stores. You can also clean this form of leather in the same manner you would the aniline leather; simply dust with a soft cloth and vacuum with a soft brush extension, using a cleaning solution occasionally.
- Nubuck leather has been buffed to feel like velvet or suede. This is a form of leather that will have more noticeable range marks, and is more likely to stain and fade than the two other forms of leather. Using a professional cleaning and protection product will help the leather resist natural body oils, liquid spills, and perspiration, and it also will help to maintain the velvet/suede texture.
No cleaning will remove every stain, fading or wear. However, you will be able to maintain your leather furniture longer by removing spills immediately, dusting regularly and using care and cleaning products designed for leather furniture.
Clean Upholstery/Fabric Furniture
Fabrics have come a long way in the last several years, and it's a good thing too, since upholstered furniture seems to take the brunt of kids' growing years. Two things to consider before buying are the Fabric Wearability Code and the fabric's cleanability code.
Fabric Wearability Codes
The Fabric Wearability Code is the government's standard guide that indicates if a fabric is strong enough for your needs. You can find fabric wearability codes on manufacturers' swatch samples at your furniture store. If you can't find it, just ask a salesperson to help you. The standards for fabrics' wearability are as follows:
- Heavy Duty (HD) – If a fabric holds up to more than 15,000 double rubs it is classified as heavy duty. It will be stiffer and thicker than most fabrics, but there are some incredible new blends in this rating that seem to belie it because they are supple and soft enough. This would be a good choice for family room furniture.
- Medium Duty (MD) – Medium duty fabric can withstand 9,000 to15,000 double rubs. The closer the fabrics get to 15,000 the stiffer they are. Medium duty fabrics are versatile and can be used for many purposes, and in family rooms as well as living rooms.
- Light Duty (LD) – A fabric that can take anywhere between 3,000 to 9,000 double rubs, is classified as light duty fabric. These fabrics can withstand one to three years of regular use and are generally very delicate. They are suitable for pieces that get only occasional use, such as sofas that only get used when guests arrive, or an occasional chair that is used more for its looks than any function.
- Delicate Duty (DD) – Delicate duty fabrics with 3,000 double should only be used on furniture that is purely decorative, or in pillows.
Fabric Cleaning Codes
Knowing the cleanability code for your fabric helps you make smart decisions by knowing how you are able to care for and clean your upholstered piece. You will either find the code on the manufacturer's label, or you can ask for it when you are selecting fabric for your sofa. Obviously, if cleanability is a huge issue for you, then you'll want a fabric that gives you the most options for getting out stains. These are the cleanability codes and their descriptions:
- Code "W" – Fabrics should be cleaned only with water based cleaning agents or non-solvent cleaning products. Apply foam with a soft brush in a circular motion, and vacuum when dry.
- Code "S" – Mild water-free cleaning solvent or dry cleaning product is appropriate. Make sure the room is well ventilated and there are no open flames, such as from a candle or cigarette lighter.
- Code "W-S" – Fabrics that can be cleaned with either water- or solvent-based products. Use a mild solvent, an upholstery shampoo, or the foam from a mild detergent.
- Code "X" – Clean this fabric by vacuuming or gently brushing only. Do not use cleaning agents at all on this fabric, as it may cause staining, shrinkage or distortion.
If these codes aren't available, you should first contact the service department of the company where you purchased your furniture to obtain more information prior to cleaning your upholstery. We suggest that you first test any cleaning product in an inconspicuous area.
Cleaning your wood furniture regularly will help in maintaining the value of your entertainment centers, bookshelves, or tables. Dusting and cleaning removes the build up of grease, lint and dust that can get ground into or soften the finish.
Cleaning your furniture should be done with a soft, lint-free cotton cloth dampened with water or furniture polish, following the pattern of the grain. (Cleaning your furniture with a dry rag can cause scratches to the finish.) Use a light touch and rotate your cleaning cloth frequently. Follow by using a quality furniture polish to protect the cleaned surface per the manufacturer's instructions.
by: Bruce Tucker