Thursday, March 22, 2012

Love Your Home: Spring Cleaning

Spring is when we usually start to think about cleaning up and caring for our homes. This year, put taking care of your furniture at the top of your to-do list—I know I don’t do it enough! Taking the time to clean and care for your furniture can make it last much longer. Here are my top spring cleaning tips:

Upholstered Furniture Care

Weekly Maintenance:
You should dust and vacuum your upholstery weekly using the upholstery attachment and crevice tool for your vacuum. This will prevent permanent fabric soiling, as well as abrasions from crumbs, dust, etc. To prevent possible “bleeding” of ink onto fabric, do not leave newspapers or other printed materials lying on upholstery.

Avoid Sunlight:
Don’t place your furniture in direct sunlight as it will cause fabric to fade over time. Darker colors can fade dramatically when exposed to direct sunlight.

Remember to rotate cushions and pillows weekly to distribute wear.

A sectional like this one takes a lot of wear and tear.
Cleaning and rotating the cushions regularly can
extend its life.

Always blot spills immediately with a clean, absorbent white cloth. When cleaning stains, start from the outside and work toward the middle of the affected area to prevent rings. Pile fabrics may require brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to restore the original appearance.

Never rub or scrub a spill or use strong chemicals or detergents. In some cases, spot cleaning can cause a ring or fading. It is best to have the entire piece or cushion casing cleaned by a professional upholstery cleaning service to ensure the color stays uniform.

If you try to spot clean your upholstery, use the fabric code to determine the correct type of cleaning product to use. Also, always pre-test your cleaner in a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding.

Fabric Care Code:
W - Spot clean with water-based cleaner.
S - Spot clean ONLY with mild water-free solvent cleaner.
WS - Spot clean with water-based or solvent cleaner.
X - Clean only by vacuuming or light brushing.

For more information, check out this step-by-stop guide for cleaning upholstered furniture.

This antique sofa was upholstered to look new.
Caring for it and the pillows carefully will allow
it to last for years to come.

Leather Furniture

Ongoing Maintenance:
Use a good leather conditioner every 6-12 months. Always test any cleaner on a hidden area first to make ensure it won’t damage your furniture. To prevent fading, avoid exposure to direct sunlight or heat.   

Cleaning: Simply dust and vacuum your furniture for regular cleaning and maintenance. The leather is already permanently preserved in the tanning process.

Leather bar stools are a fun addition to a kitchen.

Wipe up spills immediately. If necessary, use clear, lukewarm water and gently blot the entire area where the spill occurred (so, if your spill is on the seat arm or cushion, blot the entire thing) and let it air dry. Do not use commercial cleaners or conditioners as they can damage and streak the leather. Stubborn stains can be washed with a mild solution of non-perfumed, non-colored soap and lukewarm water.

Butter, oil or grease spills should be wiped with a clean, dry cloth. The spot should dissipate into the leather in a short period of time.   

Scratches: Gently buff a minor surface scratch with a chamois or clean fingers. If needed, moisten lightly with distilled water to work out scratches.

Storage: Because leather is a natural material, you should never store it wrapped in plastic because it encourages mildew and bacteria growth that will ruin the hide. Always store leather in a cool, dry place away from heat.

You can also check out this video on leather cleaning.

For cleaning antique furniture, check out this video.

Happy Spring!

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