Article - Furniture Care Tips

Furniture Care Tips

When buying furniture you should consider both function and design and choose pieces that fit with the style and tone of your home. But such attention to detail should not stop once you`ve got your new furniture home - taking proper care of it will mean it will serve you well for years to come.

Taking care of wooden furniture

It`s best to keep wooden furniture away from sunlight (or use blinds to screen it), as the sun can cause major damage to wood, including splitting, cracking and bleaching.

Both temperature and humidity can also have a detrimental affect on wooden furniture too. Normal room temperature should be fine, but avoid placing wooden furniture close to sources of heat, such as radiators or gas fires. Never place anything hot - even a cup of tea - on any finished wooden furniture as it can cause significant damage. Glasses of water are also a big no-no as the moisture can cause swelling and staining to untreated woods such as oak and pine and can leave water rings on finished woods too.

The type of finish your wooden furniture has will determine how best to clean it. With an oil finish, you should simply dust and reapply oil. Untreated wood should be wiped over with a soft, dry cloth. Also use a lint-free, absorbent cloth for general dusting and polishing of finished woods - dust before polishing to avoid grinding dirt into the wood and use the same type of polish for each cleaning, either oil- or wax-based. Wipe in the direction of the grain of the wood whenever possible.

Taking care of glass furniture

Glass is used for table tops, shelving and for the doors of cabinets and bookcases. It is more resilient than you might think, and resists most chemicals and stains. It can be permanently scratched, so do not use abrasives on it and be careful about placing rough objects on it. Clean glass with a mild alkaline solution - you can use a vinegar solution - and polish it dry with paper towels. If you use a commercial glass cleaner, make sure that none gets on any wood surrounding the glass.

Taking care of painted furniture

Painted furniture looks wonderful when new, but can be tricky to take care of. Over time, paint becomes brittle and can become discoloured; it is also easily stained, chipped and scratched. Clean regularly by wiping the piece over with a soft, dry cloth and then apply a light wax-based furniture conditioner to help to protect the finish against wear and tear. Light stains may be cleaned with hot water and liquid dishwashing detergent whilst severe stains may possibly be remedied using very fine sandpaper, although caution should be exercised. Always test on a hidden area first as the sandpaper can remove luster or reveal darker paint under the surface.

Useful products

An essential kit for taking care of your furniture might include wax (rather than silicone) polish, soft cloths and ordinary dishwashing liquid. A specialist glass cleaner can help clean glass furniture, although vinegar is often useful. You may also wish to buy specialist soap, such as oil soap, or specialist cleaning wipes for convenience.

Insurance cover

If you have high-quality furniture, it is necessary to make sure that your home insurance covers you in the event of its loss or damage - with antique items you may want to list them individually with your insurer. Any furniture which might be regarded as a permanent fixture will need to be included in your
buildings insurance.
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