Kim Komando, America's Digital Goddess

Wood Furniture Products

General Information :
Wood furniture cleaning products fall into a few basic categories.

Polishes: either aerosol or liquid; generally contain wax – usually carnuba – silicone agents for dust repelling and detergents. These products are mainly effective fro dust control and mild cleaning. Any surface enhancement – a glossier finish – is mainly cosmetic. Newer, well -finished furniture will not gain any luster, in fact, polishes can inhibit appearance with build-up, yellowing or faster re-soiling due to a tacky residue. The exception is for antique or older pieces, which cannot be re-finished properly. A regular program of waxing with carnuba/non silicone products will keep the wood properly conditioned.

Wood Cleaners: Mild soap based products designed especially for wood. Used in accordance with directions wood cleaners will effectively clean wood furniture of dust, lesser stains, fingerprints etc. Be careful to avoid over-wetting, vigorous rubbing and over-mixing.

Oil-Based Wood Cleaners: Containing high amounts of oil these products will clean and condition the wood. Some may also contain wax. Oil-based cleaners are most effective when the original finish has worn thin and bare wood is exposed.

Oil Refinishing: For teak, mahogany etc. some wood furniture is treated – rubbed – with oil on bare wood. These surfaces need a re-infusion of oil to keep them conditioned properly. Consult an expert – a furniture dealer – for the best product and program for your specific wood surface.

Using coaster, placemats, tablecloths is the best defense for your wood furniture. Wiping up any spills – especially liquids – right away is of paramount importance. Wood furniture needs to be dusted frequently and cleaned regularly. Mild detergent and a damp cloth are as effective as almost any commercial product. Commercial polishes, wood cleaners are necessary in only some cases. If in doubt, consult an expert.

Environmentally Friendly Solution :
Mixing a small amount of vinegar with an equal measure of olive oil is an effective cleaner for most wood surfaces.

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Beer out of Leather Furniture

This question was submitted from C.J.

“How do I clean beer our of a leather sofa? Keep in mind, the cushions are sewn into the couch.”

There are a variety of leather cleaners on the market, that is really your only option other than professional cleaning.
If the leather is pigment dyed you can try to clean it, if it is Aniline dyed leather (softer and very porous) you really have no option but to professionally clean it.
Many leather removers will actually remove some of the dye. If this happens there are products which restore color to the leather.
Be sure to use a leather conditioner after cleaning.

Burn Marks on Wood Table

This question was submitted from Eric C.

“My coffee table was burnt on the top. How do I repair and and re-varnish it ?”

Depending on how deep the scorch marks are you may very well be able to sand off the damage and refinish the table. Be certain that it is a solid wood table and not particle board covered with veneer.

Try these techniques :

Start by sanding the surface of the table in the area of the damage.

Using a 60 grit sandpaper will remove a lot of material quickly. The first few pieces of sandpaper may get gummed up with the existing finish, so if you notice the sandpaper getting smooth, get a new piece.

In theory, you should go over the entire surface equally. However, as long as you remove the finish from the entire surface, if slightly more material is removed where the burn marks are, no one is likely to notice the imperfection.

Once the blemish is removed, move to a 150 grit paper, and sand the entire surface. If you are uncertain of matching the existing finish (colour and gloss) you should sand the rest of the piece as well (legs, sides, etc.) and refinish the entire table. Before finishing, and usually between finish coats, sand with a 220 grit sandpaper. This should leave a perfectly smooth finish.

Wipe the table with a tack rag to remove all of the dust, and refinish in a well ventilated and dust free environment.

There are dozens of different finishes, many with different application techniques, so follow the manufacturers directions. Almost universally they call for many thin coats, instead of a few thick coats. Trust me on this one, it will take more time but it is worth it!

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