Leather Upholstered Furniture Care
With normal usage & conditions, regular dusting and vacuuming will keep upholstered leather furniture clean. Since most leather cushions are not leather finished on all sides (to allow air escape), it is necessary to fluff and rotate your cushions if possible, to allow even wear.
Sunlight: Avoid direct sunlight as much as possible. UV light causes fading and deterioration. Close curtains or blinds during the day, or cover your furniture to prevent fading.
Contact: Bear in mind that natural oils from pets and humans can rub off on your furniture and are very difficult to remove. Also, be cautious of clothing such as blue jeans and printed material such as newspapers as the dyes and inks can transfer color.
Soaps & Cleaners: Do not use soap or soak the stain heavily with water. This may cause more damage that the stain itself. If the stain persists, it is recommended that a professional leather specialist clean the piece to avoid any potential damage. Do not use saddle soap, cleaning solvents, furniture polish, oils, varnish, abrasive cleaners, detergent soaps, or ammonia water. These can remove dye, break down any natural or manmade protection the leather may have, and will stain rather than clean the hide. Use specific upholstery leather cleaners available from our store.
Storage: Because leather is a natural material, you should never store in plastic because it encourages mildew and bacteria growth that will ruin the hide. Always store leather furniture in a cool, dry location, away from heat
Marble & Travertine Care & Cleaning
Formed from intensely compacted calcium and magnesium carbonate compressed with other materials, travertine and marble are naturally occurring stones generally found polished for use in furniture, decorative art and construction. Travertine can contain sedimentary sand and fossilized seashells. Marble can contain other mineral deposits that affect its coloring, black from coal, red from iron, green from copper.
Maintenance: Marble and travertine require routine care to stay in prime condition. It is commonly believed that stone surfaces are impervious to stains or scratches. While strong, the microscopic surfaces are porous enough to make them susceptible to stains from food, and liquids especially if the spill is left standing for some time. Substances with even a mildly acidic content can discolor or damage polished marble surfaces.
Care, Cleaning & Protection: As with any table surface, to avoid moisture rings and protect the top, one should use coasters, placemats, and trivets under any hot or cold dish. Wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining. Occasionally wash marble surfaces with lukewarm water and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Once or twice a year, wash with a mild detergent solution (hand dish washing soap & warm water) rinse, and wipe dry. A light coat of clear paste wax will protect the surface but is not essential. Make sure to use a colorless wax to avoid changing the look of your travertine or marble surface. Waxing pure white marble is not recommended as possible yellowing may occur.
Special Cleaning: Using a commercial marble cleaner and polish can liven up marble surfaces that have become dull over time. Severely damaged surfaces that are scratched or etched, can be re-polished by companies that specialize in this service (counter-top specialists).
Stain Removal: For the removal of common stains use a dampened white absorbent material such as paper towel or facial tissue with the solution recommended.
Organic stains: tea, coffee, color transfer from paper, textiles or soft drinks. Make a poultice soaked with 20% peroxide and a few drops of ammonia.
Oil stains: butter, oil, hand creams & lotions. As soon as possible, apply cornstarch onto the surface. Gently rub the cornstarch into the stain. After a short time, remove and reapply more cornstarch. Let stand for 24hrs. To remove: wash with hot, sudsy detergent solution. Then rinse and wipe dry. If this doesn’t remove all of the oil residue, try a solvent like acetone or amyl acetate. If using solvent, make sure room is well ventilated, and do not use near an open flame or spark.
Rust Stains: Commercial rust stain removers work well but must be used sparingly due to acid that may etch (remove shine) surface. Follow directions exactly and do not leave on surface very long.
Acids: Fruit based liquids, carbonated beverages and other acids will etch (remove shine) if allowed to remain on marble or travertine. Wipe up acidic spills immediately and wipe surface with wet cloth. An etched surface may require waxing or professional polishing.
Wood Care & Maintenance
The warmth that wood furniture provides is due in part to the variety found in different species, different cuts, and different rains. Because every tree is different, each piece of wood is different in depth of color, richness of texture, and pattern of grain. If properly cared for, wood develops its own patina and mellowness to increase in value with age.
Technology has radically changed the quality of finishes used on wood furniture. Today, the majority of commercially manufactured furniture is treated with a catalyzed lacquer or varnish finish. This tough finish resist stains, moisture rings, scratches and abrasions. However, as with any quality possession, care should be taken to maintain your furniture. Along with your manufacturer’s instructions, we suggest:
Dusting: Household dust particle act as a micro abrasive. Regular dusting with a soft cloth, following the grain, removes the abrasive particles ( dusting against the grain can cause dust particles to scratch the surface). A clean rag, a soft T-shirt or a baby diaper, moistened lightly with water picks up dust better than a dry cloth, without leaving behind a static electric charge that would attract more dust in the long run.
Surface Cleaning: As part of routine care, clean surfaces with a soft cloth lightly dampened with a mild non-alkaline soap & water solution. Do not over-wet the wood. Pretest the solution on an out out-of-sight section to ensure no damage to the finish. Dry immediately with a soft cloth and buff lightly, following along the grain.
Sunlight: Keep wood furniture out of direct sunlight. Ultra violet rays cause some wood species to darken. Be especially careful with natural cherry when first used. If your wood furniture is in a sunny room, move any top objects around regularly (lamps, photos, vases, etc), this will prevent a visible difference in coloration from developing. Depending on the intensity of sunlight most wood finds their natural patina within a few months.
Solid & Wood Veneered Surfaces
Solid wood furniture has a certain cachet. The depth of the wood allows for a beautiful aging process. It is easier to remove deep scratches from solid wood. That said, solid wood furniture must be superbly constructed & glued-up to allow for movement to prevent warping or splitting. If solid furniture cracks, it is usually in the wood itself, not the joint.
Wood veneered surfaces have been used for hundreds of years. A veneer is merely a thinner wood surface treatment on top of substrate. The quality of the substrate affects the quality of the furniture as much as the veneer itself. Benefits of veneers include beautiful patterns, complexity of design, and stable surfaces unlikely to warp or separate. Modern construction techniques have dramatically changed veneering technology and veneers can now be cut to extremely fine thicknesses. Take care when removing scratches or indentations to prevent penetrating the veneer and exposing the substrate.
Wood species Commonly Used
There are numerous furniture grade woods available. Some of the most popular include:
Cherry: A beautiful hardwood that has superb wood working characteristics. Softer than some counterparts, it should be treated with respect. The subtle grain takes finishes well. Both natural and stained cherry woods darken to deep, reddish brown over time, especially when regularly exposed to sunlight.
Maple: The best variety of maple furniture is hard rock-maple, also known as sugar maple. A dense wood, resistant to abrasion and indentations, naturally finished maple ages to a warm yellow.
American Black Walnut: Black walnut is regaining its position as a prime furniture wood. An exceptional wood to work with, its color can vary from grayish to dark purplish brown, gaining a beautiful patina with age.
Oak-White vs. Red: Red oak is still used widely in traditional furniture. White oak is becoming more popular in modern design. An extremely dense wood, oak is very resistant to abrasion and indentation. White oak can be finished in many ways including a clear oil finish for a modern touch.
Humidity: About half the weight of fresh wood is water. Wood used in furniture must be carefully kiln dried to the proper moisture content (between 8%-12%) to avoid excessive expansion and contraction one assembled into furniture. During the life of the furniture, the moisture content of the wood will vary depending upon the environment. It is suggested to keep furniture away from direct sources of excessive heat or cold. The ideal humidity range for wood furniture is about 25%-50% (which is about the same as normal human comfort level).
Surface Protection: Regular use of hot pads, coasters, or placemats under hot or cold dishes, help protect the wood from moisture damage, temperature extremes and abrasions. Natural felt backed table pads help protect the wood on dining tables from scratching and help minimize contact with rubber, plastics, or synthetic materials that may interact with the chemicals in the wood finish. A desk blotter (made for desk use) will prevent written word from making lasting impressions on the wood beneath.
Stains, Scratches, & Marks: The ink used on many magazines or newspapers never fully dries. This ink can transfer to wood surfaces, bleed into the finish and damage the furniture. Moisture can exacerbate the effect.
When dusting, always lift lamps and other objects. Never slide across the furniture’s surface.
Moving: Never drag a piece of furniture to relocate it. The engineering and joinery are not designed for the stress applied. Dragging could easily result in fractures or structural damage. Always lift and carry to move.
Maintenance: Glass requires routine care to stay in prime condition. While strong, the surface is susceptible to scratching and breakage if not properly cared for. Heavy weight, uneven distribution of weight, and excessive conditions (hot or cold) can cause your glass to crack or break. Sliding of object over surface can cause scratching. Lift items off surface before moving.
Care & Cleaning: As with any table surface, to avoid moisture rings and protect the top, one should use coasters, placemats, and trivets under any hot or cold dish. Cleaning can be done with a mild vinegar and water solution or a commercial product recommended for glass.
Special Cleaning:. Severely damaged surfaces that are scratched or etched, can be sometimes be re-polished by companies that specialize in this service.