Monday, May 20, 2013

If you love it, take care of it...

Si tu l'aimes, prends en soin...

Beautiful furniture needs to be taken care of. The more you care the longer it'll last. It's like anything else. Think of the food people put into their body, see how it affects them, in a good way or in a bad way. Furniture is not too dissimilar. But it's actually really easy and it requires very little work, one just have to do the right thing. So here's my 2 cents:

Timber items:

- For any lacquered finishes: the coating protects the timber and shouldn't require any cleaning except dusting. Use a warm damp soft cloth (if soap is required, choose a mild furniture soap) and wipe along the grain to remove any dried spills, then dry off straight away with a different soft cloth again going along the grain.
- For oil finishes: use a high quality furniture oil every now and then to restore the original finish. Don't forget your soft cloth and move along the grain. 
- Although there are usually no problems using general timber cleaning products, they may change the shine and appearance of the original finish. Some of them contains waxes that will enhance the shine, which is not always the level of gloss intended on the original furniture. These products should not be used more than a few times a year depending on usage of the furniture.
- If placing flower pots or vases on a table, ensure felt is placed at the bottom to avoid any surface scratches on your furniture or water marks. Also, some ceramics are porous and if filled with water they may cause dampness under their bases which in turn could cause damages to the lacquer or the timber.
- Whatever you do, do not place hot items directly on the surface of a table and do not leave any spills (hot or cold) to sit on timber surfaces. Hot items will create these shadow marks which are hard if not impossible to get rid of without having to have to surface of your furniture polished.
- Avoid direct sunlight. Depending on the finish of the furniture and the timber used, if exposed to direct sunlight, the timber may darken or lighten. The heat created could also damage veneers or cause solid timber to dry out and crack or distort (this could also happen if left to close to a heater). There again, look at what happens to us when we stay too long in the sun... why should it be different for a natural material such as timber. 


- Wipe regularly with a soft cloth to remove dust or damp soft cloth to remove dirt. Avoid using any cleaning agents that may contain harsh chemicals.


- For fabrics, regularly vacuum to remove dust and dirt
- For leather, wipe over with a clean damp cloth to remove dirt particles - except for pure aniline leathers which have no protective coatings and will absorb moisture. This said I have saved my leather armchair that has an aniline leather from a massive red wine spill by immediately wiping it off with a wet cloth! I was taking a big risk, which admittedly paid off but I just wouldn't advise it generally. Aniline leathers also have a tendency to fade in the sun - so keep this in mind when placing your furniture or choosing your leather. 
- All fabrics and leathers are different so always check the composition or type of leather and if you can, refer directly to the fabric or leather manufacturer for their advised cleaning methods.

So that's it... do all this and the furniture you love will last you a lifetime. At the same time don't be precious about using beautiful things, where's the joy otherwise?! In my opinion, a scratch or a bump is only adding a little bit of character and individuality to your furniture. It creates a history, a memory. That's why people love buying vintage items... 

A la prochaine!


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