Time to shine and polish

Last Updated : 14 June 2012, 14:16 IST

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Maintenance Furniture is not only a vital aspect of home decor, but also a key investment. Bindu Gopal Rao offers tips on how to maintain your furniture, to ensure its longevity.A vital part of home decor furniture is something that is as useful practically as it is as a decor element.

Furniture is an important investment in one’s home and goes through a lot of daily wear and tear. Regular maintenance ensures that furniture does not look worn out and looks as good as new.

Since investing in furniture is a big part of home decor, it is vital that it is well-maintained. “With respect to wooden furniture, direct exposure to sunlight for extended periods makes the finish fade while damp spaces or a place with excess moisture is not good for furniture either.

Cleaning and polishing should be done regularly. Using a soft cloth to clean furniture such as sofa sets, tables, chairs, etc every day reduces dust accumulation. Dust attracts moisture which can build up and soften the finish on one’s furniture. In order to remove scratches and abrasions from furniture, one needs to touch up or polish the particular piece. Using wax would highlight the shine (finish) on the furniture,” says a spokesperson from Timbor Home Ltd.

For outdoor furniture, always make certain to cover your outdoor wood furniture with waterproof covers when you are not using it. Wicker furniture is easy to maintain as it is washable. A spokesperson from RoomStory.com says, “Perform a hardware check every few months or so. Active use can loosen bolts and make screws come loose.

Turn over the furniture and make certain that everything is where it should be and replace hardware if needed. If you want to maintain the original honey brown colour of the teak wood, proper cleaning and oiling is the trick. Apply several coats of teak or tung oil every three months (not applicable in all cases, depends on the base of the teak furniture), which will soak into the wood and form a protective layer.

Where possible, keep your leather furniture out of direct sunlight, as this will help prevent any drying out or cracking of material. Conditioners can be bought to preserve the upholstery. You can also make your very own mix at home by mixing one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil. After shaking thoroughly, apply to the entire leather with wide circular motions with a soft cloth. Allow to dry for 10-15 mins and then buff with a dry, soft cloth. Try on a very small area to be sure that the leather does not change colour.”

Says Sriram S, Manager Spacethetics, Mantri Developers Private Limited, “Since dust tends to accumulate at the bottom of your furniture, it would be good for you to vacuum the bottom of the wooden furniture or the sofa set. Also make sure that you clean off the leather properly and dry it with a dry towel. You do not want to leave the furniture and sofa dripping wet with water. Once they are dry, apply wax leather to sofa and polish the furniture on them as this will help to maintain the furniture and sofa longer plus give it a nice shiny and clean look.”

Myriad materials

Maintenance requires you to understand the surface and material of the furniture. For wooden furniture cleaning, polishing (varnishing) and waxing are the primary methods of maintenance. “When it comes to laminates such as a study desk, cupboard, shutter or door – using soap and water removes marks and makes the product look bright and clean. Glass is a bit tricky as you need to first clean with liquid soap and then dry/wipe with a soft dry cloth and polish with a newspaper,” says a spokesperson from Timbor Home Ltd.

“Always clean leather and Rexene furniture with a damp cloth; never use any chemicals or off-the-shelf products, this will help the leather and fabric become supple. For fabric sofas, a good vacuum cleaner works best.

The best way to maintain longevity of the furniture is not to keep dismantling the furniture often, not more than twice. Never pull the furniture while shifting, it is ideal to pick it up or carry the piece and move it,” says a spokesperson from Oodlife, a high-end furniture and home decor store. Furniture and wooden objects are part of our lives every day.

Some are utilitarian, such as a chairs and dining tables; others are aesthetic, such as an antique sculptures or carving; yet others may have an emotional or symbolic importance.

“When you are looking for high gloss finish or dead/flat matt finish on your furniture, or a durable, superb scratch-resistant and a coating which is resistant to common household spills such as tea, coffee and so on, it is advisable to use polyurethane interior finishes (2 KPU Interior).

Its excellent film clarity with non yellowing properties makes your furniture looks as good as new for long. This finish offers long lasting protection to your expensive furniture and is ideally sprayed for a great finish. However you can use melamine finish also for your interior furniture but the re-coating should be done every three years as compared to five years in case of Polyurethane,” says Payal Chopra, Marketing Manager, Akzo Nobel India.

The specifics

Furniture needs to be dusted every day and depending on the usage, re-polishing or repainting indoor furniture once in two years is recommended.

For outdoor furniture, deck chairs, coffee tables, benches – a fresh coat of paint after every monsoon is a good idea.

It is important to wash sofa covers and clean the leather upholstery every couple of months. In the case of brass furniture a brass lacquer can be applied every 1 or 2 years.

A spokesperson from Purva Streaks, an Interior division of Puravankara Projects Ltd opines, “Clorox and Windex are common cleaning agents that can be used on most surfaces. Most surfaces can be damaged when heat producing appliances or a hot pan is set directly on them. Hence always use a heat shield, a hot pad or a trivet.

While cleaning is an imperative function required to ensure longevity of furniture, maintaining furniture begins with the little things that you can do to avoid damaging your furniture. Using coasters, pads on the bottom of your furniture and lastly repositioning your furniture every now and then. Frequency of cleaning once furniture and the room is directly proportional to the amount it is used.”

Monsoon tips

During monsoons, high humidity levels in air not only affect the rooftops and exteriors of a building/ house due to water seepage through cracks and gaps, but also affect wooden furniture and cabinets of a house. Creaking furniture, damp sofas and smelly cupboards are common sight at home during rainy season as wood has an affinity for moisture.

“Avoid placing your fine wooden furniture near the windows, as exposure to rain can be harmful. Also, cross ventilation is a must for it keeps the room dry. Furniture undergoes a lot of stress due to change in weather/moisture/infrequent and continuous exposure to water. This may often result in opening of joints and de-bonding of laminates in-spite of using good quality material. It is strongly advised to use a waterproof adhesive that protects furniture from de-bonding even when exposed to water. Never use a wet cloth to clean your sofas or chairs as moisture makes sofas damp.

Use a soft and dry cloth to clean them. In case of a fungal growth on sofas, dip a soft cloth into a mixture of a liquid antiseptic and tepid water and rub the infected area with it. Always keep a dehumidifier in your room if you have pieces of antique furniture. It is imperative to use a specially formulated bonding adhesive in furniture, which is exposed to water or placed in high humidity areas, so as to lengthen its durability.

Wardrobes and cupboards should be kept a few inches away from the walls as the latter are damp in the monsoons. Place a few naphthalene or camphor balls in your wardrobe as they will absorb moisture. Neem leaves in cupboards are effective against silver fish, a common problem during rainy season. Cloves are an equally effective remedy,” says Vishal Malhan, Chief – Marketing, Fevicol Division, Pidilite Industries.

Furniture maintenance is not as hard as it sounds, take the right steps to preserve your investment in them!

Published 14 June 2012, 14:16 IST

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