Regardless of what type of furniture you own, proper care and maintenance will go a long way toward increasing the lifespan of your furniture, preserving its appearance and, as a result, increasing your enjoyment of your furniture and maximizing your furniture investment.
Preventing Damage to Your Furniture
One of the best things you can do to help your furniture last a very long time is to follow some damage prevention tips for the type of furniture you own. In addition to accidental stains and scratches, furniture is susceptible to environmental factors, such as exposure to excessive sunlight, high or low humidity levels, heat, cold and dust. Sudden changes in the environment can be especially problematic.
Because furniture is available in a variety of materials, including wood, plastics, metals, upholstery and leather, it's important to remember when caring for your furniture that most furniture pieces are constructed of multiple materials. For example, leather and upholstered sofas are usually constructed on wood frames. Even "all-wood" furniture may be constructed from multiple species of wood. Finishes vary widely and may include elements of stain, paint, resins and non-wood laminates.
Although most prevention tips apply to all types of furniture and the materials used to construct them, how you care for individual furniture pieces and the types of products or methods you use for cleaning and preserving them will vary. You need to know what types of commercially available products are appropriate for the materials used in your furniture and you need to exercise care not to get cleaning products specifically designed for one element of your furniture – such as brass – on nearby or adjoining areas that could be damaged by them – such as wood.
Dusting and Vacuuming Your Furniture
Although dusting materials and techniques may vary depending on the type of furniture you own, dust is an abrasive and sticking to a regular dusting regimen – typically once a week – is strongly recommended. The longer dust stays on your furniture the more likely it is to cause problems and the more difficult it will be to remove.
While you may think you already know how to dust your furniture, the tips contained in this Furniture Care section will come in handy when it comes time to dust because they're specific to the type of furniture being dusted – wood, upholstery or leather.
Weekly vacuuming is recommended for leather and other types of upholstery. Without vacuuming, soil and dirt accumulate and can get embedded in cracks and crevices in your furniture and under or behind cushions.
Getting into the habit of plumping or fluffing loose furniture cushions and pillows, and rotating or reversing cushions during your weekly vacuuming will help your furniture wear longer and more evenly, and can result in increased comfort and improved furniture appearance.
Cleaning Your Furniture
In addition to routine vacuuming and dusting, avoiding spills and accidents will go a long way in keeping your furniture clean. Properly spot cleaning fabrics and waxing wood furniture also helps to keep your furniture looking better longer.
Today's quality furniture includes features that help preserve its appearance and lifespan, making furniture care easier than it's ever been in the past. Manufacturers go to great lengths in testing different cleaning methods on their products and you should always consult your furniture manufacturer's care instructions first before using any product that could end up causing damage. Standardized labeling within the furniture industry has also made it easier for consumers to better understand how they can best care for the furniture in their homes.