Caring for Leather Furniture
Leather furniture is an investment, so good maintenance is important. Here are some do’s and don’ts for getting your leather to age well:
1. Avoid seemingly harmless cleaners such as oil soap; it will stain and darken the leather. And mild soap, though gentle on dishwashing hands, not only will remove the dirt but just might remove the color on the leather as well. Saddle soap may be good for that catcher’s mitt, but keep it away from leather furniture.
2. Don’t use soap or detergent, no matter how mild. We can use mild soap on our skin because our skin is still alive and will replace the oils that soap washes off, but a leather sofa doesn’t have that ability. It will eventually become brittle, dry and damaged. Why not wash with soap and then apply oil? Because the oil will stain the leather
3. Avoid placing leather furniture in direct sunlight. Virtually nothing is safe for long in the light and heat of the sun. Avoid extreme temperatures that would cause leather to dry and crack. If you’re too cold or too hot in a room, so is the leather. Don’t place leather next to air conditioners or radiators.
4. Blot spills quickly using clean terry cloth towels or paper towels. If you spill grease or oil, use talcum powder or baking powder to help absorb it. There are also leather-furniture cleaners that would work, available from upper-end furniture stores and from some manufacturers of leather furniture.
5. If leather furniture is brand new, protect it right off the bat with a professionally applied leather protector. There are also products available for do-it-yourselfers on the after-market. If the furniture is older, have it cleaned professionally and apply the leather protector. Keep the furniture free of dust and occasionally wipe it with a barely damp cloth.
Caring for High Gloss Furniture
The right product
Water is the safest option for regular cleaning, and not a lot of it. Too much water can warp the lacquer. If you do choose to polish your piece, avoid silicone-based polishes and pick up a specialty cream polish designed for lacquered pieces specifically, do not try to create your own or use a substitute. This is a really expensive finish to repair. It is also recommended to test the product first in a hidden area, and you also need to consider whether the product has a high polish or if it is slightly matted, which will affect the polish you choose.
The right tool
A flat, optical cloth is your best bet. Not only can this polish and shine without any product (and only slightly dampened), it cannot cling on to small pieces of debris which can scratch.
The right technique
Dusting often with the optical cloth is best for this very delicate finish. Apply gentle pressure so that you are not buffing off any sheen. Work in the direction of the grain (if it is showing) and use an ‘S’ pattern to remove dust starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. If you encounter fingerprints or a smudge, dampen the cloth slightly and gently polishing in a gentle circular motion to remove fingerprints and spots.
Caring for Wood Veneer Furniture
Wood veneer is a thin sheet of natural wood that covers the surface of some types of furniture. It provides the look of hardwood furniture without the high cost. The durability of wood veneer varies depending on the type of wood it’s made from, and it requires gentle care to preserve the finish. Clean it with mild products and avoid the use of wax or oil-based polishes to prevent buildup. Keep wood veneer furniture out of direct sunlight to prevent fading and use beverage coasters to prevent water damage.
Dampen a cotton or microfiber cloth with water and wring it out. Wipe the wood veneer, following the direction of the wood grain, to remove any light dust, debris or residue. Wipe the veneer with a dry cotton or microfiber cloth to dry it.
Remove tough dirt or residue from wood veneer with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of oil soap or mild soap flakes with 2 cups of warm water. Dip a cotton or microfiber cloth into the solution and wring it out. Wipe the wood veneer in small sections to clean it thoroughly.
Rinse the cloth thoroughly with water and wring it out. Wipe the wood veneer with the cloth to remove any soap residue. Dry the wood veneer with a clean, dry cloth.
Things You Will Need
- Cotton or microfiber cloths
- Oil soap or mild soap flakes
Dust wood veneer regularly with a dry, soft cloth to keep it looking its best.
For quick cleaning, spray wood veneer with a light layer of non-ammonia glass cleaner and wipe it with a paper towel.
- Don’t use oil or ammonia-based products to clean wood veneer. They can damage the surface or create a cloudy finish.