Published: March 15, 2021
By now, you know the basics of keeping a home clean and tidy. Vacuum the floors. Dust the shelves. Fold the laundry. But what about some of the more daunting home cleaning chores?
Oftentimes, furniture can go extended periods between cleaning, leading to a buildup of grime and grit. It's no wonder household staples such as sofas, mattresses, and tables are overlooked when it comes to deep cleaning and sanitizing. Pieces such as these are large and made from materials that can leave you scratching your head as to how to properly clean, without harming your favorite home furnishings.
Don't worry, these easy tips will help you ensure your home is a clean and healthy sanctuary.
Fabric Friendly Cleaning Solutions
From sofas to sectionals and ottomans to accent chairs, upholstery often makes up a majority of the furniture coverings in your household. Fabrics play a wide array of roles in your home, and often they take a beating from repeated daily use, and sometimes unsightly spills that are simply a part of day-to-day life.
It’s important to take the time to properly disinfect fabric surfaces. While it may not look like it, soft surfaces are a breeding ground for bacteria. By taking the time to properly clean and sanitize, you help ensure the health and wellbeing of you and your family alike.
1. Make sure to read all of the tags on the furniture in your home
It is imperative to follow the manufacturer's suggestions for proper cleaning procedures and guidelines; including a list of cleaners that should or should not be used. Oftentimes the manufacturer will state if certain items, such as cushion covers, can be machine washed, or if they may require the services of a dry cleaner.
2. Always, and I mean always, do a spot test!
What is a spot test might you ask? It simply means you’ll apply your preferred cleaner to a small test space on the item you’ll be cleaning. The key is to test it on an area that is hidden from plain sight, oftentimes the underside of a cushion or the side of the sofa that faces the wall, is a good sample space. This ensures that if the cleaner reacts to the fabric adversely, you are aware of it before using it on the entire piece of furniture. It's better to have one small discolored spot no one will see, than ruin your favorite seat in the house!
3. There are a wide variety of cleaning solutions, not just commercial cleaners
While there is nothing wrong with using commercial cleaners, after a proper spot test, know that there are far more options available! From 100% all-green cleaners to a hybrid of eco-friendly and commercial solutions, you should choose what best fits your household needs. And believe it or not, it's rather simple to make your own household cleaning supplies! A favorite fabric cleaning recipe is a combination of hydrogen peroxide and blue Dawn® dish soap. Simply combine 2 parts peroxide to 1 part dish soap, pour into a spray bottle, and after properly spot testing, spray directly on seat cushions to clean day-to-day stains.
What You Should Know About Leather
Special considerations must be taken when properly cleaning and caring for leather furniture. Think of it much like your skin; once you clean it, it's important to add moisture back in to properly hydrate and maintain its longevity.
1. Don't overdo it
There is no need to clean your leather furniture every day. In fact, by doing so, you can break down the natural fibers of the covering, causing cracking or discoloration. Be sure to wipe up any spills or excess moisture, but don't overdo it!
2. Spot test. (Yes, I said it again!)
Just like fabric furniture, it is important to spot test any cleaners you plan to use on your leather furniture. The same rules apply, select a small area that will not be seen and apply the desired cleaner and allow it to dry. See if the cleaner causes any adverse reactions to the grain or color of the leather, and if all looks well, go ahead and clean as you would!
3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Something unique to leather furniture is its need for moisture. Not an excess amount, but enough to keep the fabric soft and subtle. By doing so, you will get years of use and enjoyment without any unsightly crack or flakes. Simply use a spot test approved leather conditioner or wipe to clean the seating areas. Many of these conditioning wipes also come with added disinfectant agents, ensuring a clean and safe surface for all to gather!
All Wood Surfaces are Not Created Equal
Tabletops, kitchen cabinets, nightstands and more - while there may not be a visible difference in materials, it is key that you know what each piece is made of so you can properly clean and sanitize! To the naked eye a wood table may simply look like a wood table, but many times wood furniture pieces are constructed of several wood components.
1. Wood Veneers
A veneer is a thin layer of real wood, that is often placed over a manufactured wood material. What is the key takeaway to know about wood veneers? They do not like moisture! Excess moisture that sits on top of a veneer often leads to unsightly damage like water rings, bubbling, chipping and peeling. If you know your furniture piece is covered by veneers, your best bet for proper cleaning and sanitation is using an aerosol spray such as Lysol® to kill any bacteria and quickly wiping the surface clean. Between deep cleanings, simply wipe down with a wet rag, then follow with a dry rag to remove any excess moisture.
2. Solid Hardwood
Solid hardwood furniture is more resilient and forgiving than its veneer counterpart. By name, solid hardwood is a single piece of wood that makes up a piece of furniture from top to bottom. While it may be harder to damage hardwood furniture by nature, it does require a little more TLC when it comes to caring and cleaning. It is important to continually wax and oil real wood furniture after each deep cleaning. This prevents the wood from splitting by replacing any extracted moisture. Like wood veneers, hardwoods can be cleaned with commercial cleaners such as Lysol®, or more eco-friendly, homemade cleaners. Whichever path you choose, proper care and cleaning of real wood furniture will lead to generations of use!
The team at the Furniture Mart is here to help! Chat with a design expert for even more style ideas, home decorating tips and tips on how to care for your home.