How to care for your furniture and keep it looking brand new!
Spot clean only with a water-free dry cleaning solvent. Pretest a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding. Do not saturate. DO NOT USE WATER. Pile fabrics may require brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to restore appearance. Cushion covers should not be removed and dry-cleaned. To prevent overall soiling, frequent vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to remove dust and grime is recommended. When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material. Clean spots or stains from the outside to the middle of the affected area to prevent circling.
Spot clean only with water based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner. Pretest a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding. Do not over wet. Do not use solvents to spot clean. Pile fabrics may require brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to restore appearance. Hot water extraction or steam cleaning is not a recommended cleaning method. Cushion covers should not be removed and laundered. To prevent overall soiling, frequent vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to remove dust and grime is recommended. When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material. Clean spots or stains from the outside to the middle of the affected area to prevent circling.
Spot clean with upholstery shampoo, foam from a mild detergent, or mild dry cleaning solvent. Pretest a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding. Do not saturate. Pile fabrics may require brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to restore appearance. Hot water extraction or steam cleaning is not a recommended cleaning method. Cushion covers should not be removed and laundered or dry cleaned. To prevent overall soiling, frequent vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush to remove dust and grime is recommended. When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material. Clean spots or stains from the outside to the middle of affected area to prevent circling.
Cleaning Upholstered Fabrics
Accidents do happen. These tips will help you safely spot clean fabrics:
Always blot from the outside to the center of a spot. Doing so will control the spread of a spill.
Test your fabric in a hidden area to make sure the color doesn't come off with the stain, or that a ring is not caused by the cleaning agent.
If the spot is liquid, use an absorbent white cloth or white paper towel to gently blot up the excess
If the spot is solid material, remove the excess by lifting it off with a dull table knife or spoon.
Never rub, scrub, or brush a spill.
Never use strong chemicals such as bleach, solvents, or acids unless a specialist recommends them.
Never use sudsy detergents, as they leave a soapy residue that attracts soil.
Don't use tap water. Use distilled water or plain seltzer water. Minerals in common tap water can cause rings, even on treated fabrics.
Avoid commercial furniture cleaners. Most foster rapid resoiling.
Minimizing Wear & Stains
Keep upholstered furniture away form direct sunlight.
Rotate furniture in the room from time to time to minimize wear patterns.
Keep flowers and household foliage from contact with upholstery
Rotate and reverse cushions and pillows weekly with to redistribute wear and prevent seams form shifting
Vacuum upholstered pieces weekly with a crevice tool extension to prevent abrasion from crumbs and dust.
Do not leave newspapers or other printed materials (which can "bleed" ink into fabric).
Blot, don't scrub, sorts and spills with a dry white terry or paper towel before the spot can "set."
Before attempting to remove any stain, you must first identify the fabric and correct cleaning method recommended by the manufacturer.
Comfort Folds & Wrinkles
On rounded backs and arms, comfort folds are built in to provide the necessary "give" so that the springs and fillings may respond. This suppleness is intentional and lengthens the life of the fabric.
Cushions generally do not retain an even welt and require occasional smoothing, straightening and rotation. Slight indentations, or "comfort wrinkles", may be noticed at button stress points. A few light pats will refresh the appearance of your cushions.
Since leather is a natural product, there will be faint surface marks on your leather, whether you purchase pure and natural top grain or grain-corrected top grain. These scars, scratches, and color variations are not defects, but rather an indication of genuine leather. They do not affect the durability of your furniture.
Never use furniture polish, saddle soap, abrasive cleaners, or household cleaning products on any leather upholstery.
Protect leather furniture from direct sunlight to prevent fading. This precaution is especially necessary for full grain and unfinished top grain leathers. Also, you should keep your leather furniture away from direct heat sources such as heat vents, radiators or fireplaces. Leather may crack or peel when placed within three feet of a heat source.
Blot up spills immediately with a clean white cloth or sponge.
For protected (semi-aniline and pigmented) leather, wipe with lukewarm water without thoroughly saturating the leather. Dry with clean cloths immediately. Routine vacuuming is recommended to keep your leather looking its best.
Living with unprotected leather (unfinished top grain) is like living with a well loved, well-used leather saddle or jacket. Natural oils will stain untreated leather slightly, giving it a lovely patina over time. Care should be taken to blot up food or liquid spills immediately, as they will be difficult to remove later.
For oil, butter or grease stains, blot the excess grease with a clean, white cloth. Do not apply water to the spot. The grease spot should dissipate into the leather over time.
If your leather becomes soiled from use or it has a stain, which you cannot remove, you should contact a professional leather furniture cleaning service.
ADVANTAGES OF BUYING LEATHER
Leather is a natural material, making it an ideal choice for comfort.
Leather has excellent temperature adaptation making it comfortable during the heat of the summer and cool of the winter.
Leather conforms to your body shape and becomes more comfortable with use.
Only leather ages so that it becomes more supple throughout the years.
Each leather hide is unique – No one hide is exactly like another.
Leather comes with its own distinctive markings and characteristics; making each purchase truly unique.
Leather has legendary tear strength, making it one of the strongest upholstery materials known to man.
Leather's strength and elasticity gives it high ripping resistance.
Leather is naturally flame resistant and will not readily burn or melt.
Like our skin, leather has tight as well as strong fibers that prevent the penetration of dust, lint, animal hairs, or cigarette smoke.
Leather is an ideal choice for those persons who are dust-sensitive or possess allergenic conditions.
Leather's Tanning Process
What is Tanning? A process that uses tanning agents to convert a raw hide into a stable, non-perishable material. This is achieved by cleaning, drying, and preserving the hide.
Curing – The leather hide is cured by immersion in a salt solution to protect it from deterioration and to preserve it for future use.
Soaking – The leather hide is soaked in water to remove the salt solution and re-hydrate the hide to its original flaccid condition.
De-hairing – The soaked hides are treated with a lime solution for the de-hairing process. The lime solution not only removes the hair, but also fats and soluble proteins.
Tanning – Tanning involves drumming the hides in a mixture of chemicals. Two of the most common types of tanning include chromium tanning, which results in a wet blue appearance, and vegetable tanning.
Splitting – The average thickness of a cowhide is 5mm before splitting. The hides are split in a splitting machine which activates a fast running wirecutter. This operation divides the hide into two hides: top grain leather and split leather. The top grain hides are then shaved on the flesh side to create a uniform thickness. Standard top grain upholstery leather thickness can be 0.9mm-1.4mm. Split leathers are typically used on non-stress areas, such as outside backs and outside arms.
Sorting – The hides are then sorted or separated by differing levels of quality. This quality is based on the extent of natural markings which could include ticks bites, brands, barb wire scars, and/or stretch marks. This process is called selection. The highest quality of leather hides are normally termed "A" selection. "B" and "C" hides possess a higher number of natural markings, therefore reducing overall selection.
Dyeing – The leather hide is drum dyed. The dye concentration in the drum affects level of penetration into the hide, richness of shade, colorfastness to light, ease of dry cleaning, and resistance to rubbing, etc. The dyed leather is then treated with fat-liquors for softness and strength.
Drying – After the dyeing process, the leather hide can retain 45-60% water. Most upholstery leather is tunnel dried where the temperature and humidity are controlled. After the leather is dried, it dries to a paler shade as the oils spread uniformly and the dyes penetrate deeply.
Finishing – The finishing of a leather hide involves both mechanical and chemical treatments. The hide is first trimmed and conditioned with fat-liquors to obtain uniform moisture content. The hide is then softened with a massage machine and stretched. Some leathers are further processed by applying a top coat finish to the grain surface. The top coat adheres to the leather's surface while increasing the resistance to abrasion, cracking, peeling, rubbing, light, heat, etc. A pigmented finish is sometimes applied which contains a variety of colorations, resins, lacquers, oils and/or waxes. Afterwards, the hide is milled in a dry drum to soften the leather. Note: leather can be finished a variety of ways depending on quality of hide, type of leather, and level of pigmentation.
Heat & Humidity & Hardwoods
Wood furniture continues to exchange moisture with the air, shrinking and expanding in response to changes in relative humidity.
Wood furniture's natural response to extremely dry air is to loose moisture and shrink slightly. This occurrence will correct itself as the relative humidity rises and the wood absorbs enough moisture to expand.
If you don't have an air conditioner or dehumidifier, your home's relative humidity may get too high. Parts of your wood furniture may absorb excess moisture form the air and expand, possibly causing the drawers to stick. Once again, this problem will correct itself as your home's relative humidity decreases.
Here are some ways to be certain you will enjoy your wood furniture for many years to come:
Use a humidifier in winter and an air conditioner in summer to keep the relative humidity at 25 to 35%.
Avoid placing furniture directly in front of radiators, heating vents, or fireplaces.
Place furniture out of direct sunlight or close window treatments during intense sunlight hours.
Overexposure to sunlight adversely effects fine wood furniture. Checking, crazing, cracking and bleaching are common problems resulting form continued exposure to direct sunlight. To avoid "spot" bleaching, rearrange accessories on the surfaces from time to time.
To achieve the maximum richness, clarity and depth of color for the surface of your furniture, keep it dust free and clean. The best way to keep furniture looking its best is to care for it regularly.
Dust lightly as needed with a clean lint free absorbent cloth. Clean cotton diapers, terry toweling, cotton knitwear, or flannel cloths are all good choices for a dust cloth. When dusting, always dust with the grain of the wood. Small dust particles can scratch wood if not worked with the grain.
To clean, wipe surfaces with a soft, damp cloth. (Be careful to wring all of the water form the cloth, leaving it only damp.) A damp cloth removes dust particles that, although tiny, have sharp edges and can scratch under pressure. Wipe the surfaces with another soft cloth to dry thoroughly.
Never leave a damp cloth on any wood furniture.
Furniture polishes enrich and provide depth to the finish, help emphasize the wood's natural beauty, and add a measure of clarity, shine and reflectiveness. We urge you to select a cleaning product that does not have silicone. A good wax or cream is a far better product to protect your furniture. Matter Brothers Furniture recommends and sells an assortment of polishes and cleaners for all lacquer finishes. For best results, always carefully follow the directions on the products you choose to use.
Furniture is made to be used and enjoyed, but accidents happen, especially when there are small children at home. While wood is tough, it isn't indestructible. By adhering to the following guidelines, everyday damage can be kept to a minimum.
Use coasters to prevent stains and damage form spills and hot dishes. Blot all liquids immediately. Keep solvents, alcohol; nail polish and polish removers away form your furniture surfaces.
Use padding under heavy or sharp objects or under hot or cold foods. Felt or cloth pads are advised; many plastic products may cause a chemical reaction when place din contact with some wood finishes. Plastic tablecloths and doilies should be avoided for this reason.
Open and close doors and drawers gently. It is important to properly close doors and drawers and not allow them to hang open. Door hinges, in most furnishings, are small and delicate in nature. Any improper stress will cause doors not to close properly. Pull drawers straight out to eliminate excess pressure on the glide, so it does not become loose or bent.
Houses tend to settle, as a carpenter's level will confirm. Consequently, furniture can sit unevenly, resulting in uneven doors and wobbly chairs. Almost all merchandise today has adjustable glides, which can accommodate any leveling problems you may encounter.
Small mars and scratches may be touched up with shoe polish, crayon, linseed oil or a furniture touch-up pencil available at Matter Brothers Furniture.
Handle With Care
Because it is hard and strong, it's easy to forget that wood furniture must be treated with a gentle hand. This is not to say that you can't throw your feet up on the oak coffee table, or that a few bumps and scratches don't actually add to a piece's character, but a few thing should be kept in mind to ensure a long life for your fine wood furniture.
Dust is abrasive, and can accumulate in carvings, cracks, and grooves, making wood look dull and eventually leading to a damaging buildup. Dusting should be done every week, if possible, and not with a wet paper towel. Instead, a clean, washable cloth made of soft, lint-free cotton is recommended, something with the texture of an old t-shirt.
In terms of cleaning furniture, remember that water is not a good cleaning agent. Paste wax is the recommended product, preferred over oily cleaners because it protects wood furniture for many months and adds a soft sheen to finished wood surfaces. A good amount of paste wax, enough to thoroughly cover the entire piece, need only be applied about once a year for optimal protection.
Another precaution you can take to protect the finish of wood furniture is to keep it out of direct sunlight, which can cause the finish to crack, and bleach the wood underneath the finish.
To take care of watermarks and rings left by beverage glasses, remember that if you wax your furniture well, the rings will be in the wax, and not in the actual finish. The Hardwood Manufacturers Association recommends covering the stain with a clean, thick blotter, and pressing down with a warm iron, repeating until the ring is gone.
Don't use solvents like nail-polish remover to get rid of nail polish stains - anything containing alcohol can be harmful to the furniture. Instead, blot a spill immediately, then rugs it with the finest grade steel wool (0000) that has been dipped in some furniture wax. Wipe dry.
If you find someone has stuck chewed gum under a chair or table, harden the substance with an ice cube wrapped in cloth. When hard, take it off with a credit card. Then, repeat the same process with the fine steel wool as recommended for nail polish removal, only this time, dip it in mineral water. Wipe dry.
The Hardwood Manufacturers Association suggests the following tips to help minimize the negative effect of temperature changes on furniture, because extremes of moisture or dryness can cause wood to split and crack. First, maintain relative humidity of at least 25 to 35%, which can be accomplished by using a humidifier in winter and an air conditioner in summer. Also, when storing table leaves, they suggest keeping these as close to the table as possible, such as in an upstairs closet rather than a damp basement, so that the table and leaves adjust to the same humidity conditions.
Clean and maintain your rug regularly with either:
A Vacuum – though vacuum cleaners with extremely strong beaters should be avoided as they may damage a rug's foundation;
A Carpet Sweeper;
Shaking rug well.
Clean spills immediately by blotting with a cloth or sponge. For major spills, professional rug cleaners and professional cleaning methods are recommended. Place padding beneath your rugs for your safety, for the protection of the rug and of underlying surfaces, and to prevent color transfer.
Do not use alkaline detergents. Do not place the rug in damp areas as dampness may cause deterioration of rug. Do not overwet, dampen or moisten rugs with liquids. Do not place the rug near any heat or fire ignition sources. Do not fold the rug as folding may cause the backing to become brittle and deteriorate. Do not place your rug in direct sunlight for long periods of time as excessive exposure to direct sunlight can lead to fading. For rugs laid atop carpeting, do not conduct any cleaning and/or maintenance prior to removing the rug from the carpet and do not return the rug until completely dry as applying moisture to the rug while still on wall-to-wall carpet could cause colors in both the rug and carpeting to react to each other.