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How To Care For Your Furniture

Girl and dog on sofa

Universal Cleaning Codes and What They Mean

Accidents are a part of life. If you don't know how to deal with them when they arise, it could result in ruined furniture. Furniture is one of the largest purchases one makes in their lifetime, so it's important to correctly care for your furniture to ensure they are able to be enjoyed for many years to come. Furniture, like clothes, has a specific cleaning code to help consumers correctly care for their specific piece of furniture. Unfortunately, the code is not always very clear for someone who isn't cleaning furniture on a regular basis. Below, we break down the codes and discuss exactly what is required to adequately care for furniture that falls under each one.

DC Code
Dry Clean Only.
E Code
Use a leather care kit (this includes a sponge, a cloth, leather cleaner, and leather protector cream).
N Code
Use a leather care kit (this includes a sponge, a cloth, leather cleaner, and leather protector cream).
N FBR Code
Natural Fiber Rugs - Immediately blot spills to remove excess liquid with a clean white cloth or plain paper towel. Blot again with a solution of one teaspoon mild detergent with one teaspoon of white vinegar in a quart of warm water. Do not saturate.
S Code
Clean only with a dry cleaning solvent. Do not saturate. Do not use water. Pile fabrics may require brushing to restore appearance. Cushion covers should not be removed and dry-cleaned.
S/W Code
Spot clean with upholstery shampoo, a mild foam detergent, or a mild dry cleaning solvent. Do not saturate with liquid. Pile fabrics may require brushing to restore appearance. Cushion covers should not be removed and dry-cleaned.
W Code
Clean only with water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner. Do not over wet. Do not use solvents to spot clean. Pile fabrics may require brushing to restore appearance. Cushion covers should not be removed and dry-cleaned.
X Code
Do not clean with either water or solvent-based cleaner. Vacuum or light brushing only.
Wool Code
Wool - Blot spills up immediately with a clean white cloth or plain paper towel.

How to Care For and Clean Leather

Leather

Leather furniture offers a timeless elegance to any room they are placed in. They also have the added bonus of being extremely durable. However, leather isn't accident or damage proof. Follow these intructions to keep your leather pieces looking pristine and sophisticated.

General Cleaning & Care

Do...
  • Dust regularly and use a vacuum cleaner crevice tool to clean seams.
  • Clean weekly using a damp sponge (protected leather) or soft, lint-free cloth (natural unprotected leather). Do not rub; instead, wipe gently.
  • Keep leather furniture out of direct sunlight and at least two feet from heat sources to avoid fading and cracking.
  • Pre-test all of the care products on a hidden area of your leather furniture to make sure that they are compatible with the leather.
  • Improper cleaning may void your leather furniture warranty.
Don't...
  • Use or place sharp objects on leather goods.
  • Place newspapers or magazines on leather furniture. The ink from these items may be transferred onto the leather.
  • Use abrasives, harsh chemicals, or saddle soap on leather furniture. Only use recommended cleaners.
  • Use common household cleaners on leather furniture. These cleaners can cause severe damage and costly repairs.

Spot Cleaning Leather

  • Blot any spills immediately; do not rub. Blot away the excess liquid with a clean, dry, white cloth; turning the cloth frequently. Spray the area with a marble cleaner or warm water and wipe.
  • To remove a spot, follow these steps: Use a solution of 1/2 mild soap (Neutrogena) and 1/2 distilled water on a slightly dampened cloth or sponge. Rinse by blotting with distilled water. Blot to remove excess water.
  • For difficult stains: Contact a professional cleaning service.

How to Care For and Clean Fabric

Upholstered Chair

Fabric (also known as upholstered) furniture tends to be the most popular and customizable furniture style, while also having the added benefit of being cheaper than leather. However, style and design come at a cost: upholstery is easily stained and collects more dust and soil. Follow the instructions listed below to keep your upholstered furniture clean and comfortable.

General Care & Care

Do...
  • Keep upholstered furniture out of direct sunlight.
  • Rotate cushions and pillows on a regular basis to allow even distribution of wear.
  • Vacuum weekly using the upholstery attachment to remove soil that could be abrasive to surface.
  • Periodic professionally cleaning is recommended.
Don't...
  • Place magazines or newspapers on upholstery. The ink from these items may bleed onto the fabric and cause stains.
  • Use household chemicals near upholstered furniture. Overexposure to these products could cause damage to your furniture.

Spot Cleaning General Fabric

  • If a spill occurs: Clean the fabric immediately.
  • Blot with a clean, white cloth. Do not rub. Select the appropriate stain removal method. To determine this, look under one of the seat cushions or under the unit to find a tag. This tag shows a universal cleaning code. This cleaning code relates to a recommended method to be used. For a list of fabric/upholstery cleaning codes (click here for cleaning code information).
  • Pre-test all of the care products in a hidden area to make sure that they are compatible with the fabric material.
  • To prevent rings: Clean spots from the outside to the middle of the affected area.
  • Do not use detergents or strong chemicals to clean your upholstery.

Cleaning Special Fabric

  • Silk, Rayon or Velvet: Get professionally cleaned. These fine fabrics are easily damaged so it is safest to not attempt to clean on your own.
  • Suede: Suede can be ruined by water. Instead, use a small amount of vinegar and a clean cloth to blot liquids such as coffee and juice. For grease stains, use baking soda to absorb and a brush to wipe away after it has been allowed to sit for a few hours.

How to Care For and Clean Wood

Wood nightstand

Nothing gives a home a more natural feel than wood furniture. Durably built and easy to clean, it's easy to see why wood furniture is often passed down from generation to generation. However, wood isn't immune to damage. To keep your wood furniture in the best condition possible, follow the instructions below.

General Cleaning & Care

Do...
  • Use a lint-free cloth to polish wood furniture on a weekly basis.
  • Keep furniture away from heating and air conditioning sources to prevent loss of moisture.
  • Keep furniture out of direct sunlight to prevent fading or darkening of wood furniture.
  • Use felt backing on lamps and other accessories to prevent scratches and gouges.
  • Rotate accessories so they don't remain in the same spot all of the time to prevent impressions.
  • Use placemats under plates and hot pads under serving dishes.
  • Use coasters under all beverages.
Don't...
  • Place newspapers or magazines on wood surfaces. The ink from these items may bleed into the finish and could damage the wood.
  • Use abrasives or harsh chemicals on wood furniture.
  • Leave a glass of water sitting for long periods of time.

Spot Cleaning Wood

  • To remove food stains: Wipe up the spill immediately. Dab with a soft, clean cloth.
  • To prevent wood from drying out: Rub surface with cloth dipped in solution of one tablespoon of vinegar mixed with one quart of water. Rub in the same direction as the grain until surface is completely dry. Follow with an application of furniture oil or polish that does not cause a waxy build-up or has silicones, such as Guardsman or Heritage.
  • To remove water rings: Rub with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and cooking oil in the same direction of the grain.
  • To remove candle wax or chewing gum: Hold an ice cube over the wax or gum for a few seconds so it hardens. Be sure to wipe up water as the ice melts to prevent water spots. Remove as much of the wax or gum as possible with your fingers and then scrape away the remainder gently using the dull edge of a table knife. Rub the spot briskly with a cloth saturated in cream wax. Repeat if needed.

How to Care For and Clean Glass

Glass table

High class sophistication and modern opulance are just a few of the descriptors most often associated with glass furniture. Glass elements also brighten up rooms and give the illusion of space, as its transparency doesn't obstruct view on the opposite side. This beauty and elegance does come with a potential downside: it can be very fragile and easily dirtied. Keep your glass furniture sparkling and radiant with the following instructions.

General Cleaning & Care

Do...
  • Clean using warm water and a soft, lint-free cloth. Wring out excess water and wipe surface. Dry immediately with a dry lint-free cloth.
  • A non-abrasive commercial glass cleaner may also be used.
Don't...
  • Slide rough objects across glass. This can cause permanent scratches to the surface.
  • Use abrasive cleaners on glass, which may cause scratches.
  • Clean glass without rinsing off excessive dirt and debris.

How to Care For and Clean Mattresses

Bed

People spend nearly a third of their lives sleeping, which means that mattresses are often the most used pieces of furniture in a home. All this use wears away at your mattress, leaving you with an uncomfortable night's sleep. Extend the life of your mattress and give yourself the best night's sleep possible by following the care instructions below.

General Cleaning & Care

Do...
  • Use a mattress pad as protection from stains. This will prolong the life of your mattress.
  • Vacuum mattress regularly.
  • Turn and rotate your mattress twice a year to help equalize the wear and tear that normally occurs.
Don't...
  • Allow your mattress to get wet. Protect it from liquids.
  • Use dry cleaning products on your mattress. This may cause damage to some of the material.

Spot Cleaning Mattresses

  • If your mattress becomes wet or soiled: Blot any excess moisture using a soft cloth.
  • To clean a stain/spot: Use mild soap with cold water and apply lightly.

How To Care For and Clean Rugs

Rug

Rugs provide comfort from hard floors and warmth during cold weather, while perfectly tying the room together. However, rugs are often walked on daily and can be easily stained. Keep your rugs looking beautiful and your space feeling comfortable and cozy by following the instructions listed below.

General Cleaning & Care

Do...
  • Vacuum regularly on the lowest-level suction.
  • Rotate on a regular basis to evenly distribute wear.
  • Professionally clean once a year to remove any stains.
Don't...
  • Vacuum fringe trim to prevent accidental fraying.

Spot Cleaning Rugs

  • Check the cleaning instructions tag on the bottom of your rug to make sure it can be spot cleaned
  • If a spill occurs: Blot with a clean, absorbent white cloth. Do not rub. Many stains can be gently removed by using club soda and a small amount of carpet cleaning detergent
  • To remove candle wax: Place a piece of blotting paper or brown paper bag over the spot. Place a hot iron over the blotter (move constantly and don't let the iron stay in one place). Wait a few minutes until the wax is absorbed into the blotter. Repeat if necessary.
  • To remove chewing gum: Press ice cubes against the spot. Wait until the gum becomes hard and easily breaks off. Use a spot remover to eliminate remaining pieces of gum. Saturate the spot with cloth soaked in vinegar or alcohol.
  • To remove ink: Saturate the spot with hairspray. Allow it to dry. Blot lightly with a solution of water and vinegar.
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