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.

Recommendation:
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!

Cedar Chests

This question was submitted from Rosemary

“How can I get rid of a mothball smell from a cedar chest ? ”

Cedar chests are often times lined with Tennessee cedar. Which may explain how they came by the name. The Tennessee cedar emits an odor naturally, and the odor has proven helpful in keeping the moths and other bugs away. It’s the same material used in animal bedding and is often sold in chips to line cages etc. As the interior of the chests are often unfinished and the wood is very porous, it is not uncommon to have other odors such as mothballs, perfume etc. permeate the wood. The difficulty often times is that the odors penetrate so deeply they are very difficult if not impossible to remove.

Try these techniques :

First I would recommend you keep the chest open with the lid up. This will enable the air to circulate and some of the smell will diminish. This may take some considerable time depending on how strong or intense the smell is and how frequently the air circulates inside the chest.

You might also try to wipe down the interior with a solution of detergent and water. Be careful not to get the wood too wet as this will warp the wood and could do some serious damage. This might take several applications to achieve the desired results.

If these methods fail, then I can only suggest that you consider sanding the interior wood with fine sand paper, thus removing the surface in the hope that it will remove the mothball odor. This really may be the best resolve to your problem.

You can also try to apply another scent to the wood, such as a perfume or other fragrance. unfortunately, this will only result in “masking” the mothball odor and may in fact make the problem worse by adding another odor to the one you already have.

Chocolate Off Leather Couch

This question was submitted from Susan W.

“A chocolate chip melted on my leather sofa as I sat on the sofa. The leather is not a polished type. There is now a dark stain on the leather.”

While leather is beautiful, it is hard to spot clean. If your sofa is aniline dyed or a soft leather there is nothing you can do with the exception of professional cleaning.

There just is not the proper equipment or chemicals available for the do it yourselfer to spot clean this type of stain.

Crayon off Sofas

This question was submitted from Rachelle W.

“My daughter took a green crayon and scribbled all over my beige couch. Is there anything I can do to get it out or do I need an upholstery cleaner to come in?”

This will be a two step process.

Try these techniques :

Use the same procedures as removing “Wax from Carpet”. Remove as much of the surface crayon as possible.

Next use the steps on removing “Crayon from Carpet” (techniques for upholstery stain removal are the same as for carpet).

Dark Stains from Wood Furniture

This question was submitted from Ray

“I have removed all the varnish from a Victorian wash stand – all is well except dark stains deep in the wood on the top surface – can they be removed?”

It depends on how deep the stains are. You didn’t specify, but if the stains were made AFTER you removed the protective finish, it is possible that they are very deep. Without a protective finish wood is very porous and absorbs liquids and stains well past the surface. You can try sanding them out, start by sanding the surface of the table in the area of the stain.

Try these techniques :

Using a 60 grit sandpaper will remove a lot of material quickly. In theory you should go over the entire surface equally. However, as long as the finish is removed from the entire surface, if slightly more material is removed where the stain marks are, no one is likely to notice the imperfection. Mind you they may, if the stains extend well below the surface.

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 wash stand.

Before finishing, and usually between finish coats, sand with a 220 grit sandpaper. This should leave a perfectly smooth finish.

Wipe the stand 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.

If you are concerned with starting to sand, and not knowing how deep you might have to go, check with your local home centre, or antique restoration company for products that can lighten the stain before re-finishing the piece. A darker finish stain may even conceal the blemish. Best of luck, and remember if all else fails, a strategically placed soap dish will always do the trick for you!!

High Chair Safety Straps

This question was submitted from Robin S.

“I have a little tykes high chair. I cleaned everything except the safety straps; they are brownish from a build up of everything. How can I clean them?”

I assume the straps are not removable.

Try these techniques :

I would recommend mixing a solution of hot water and any general purpose detergent, even laundry soap, in a plastic container. Soak the straps for a while, use a scrub brush and rinse the straps. You may have to use a cutting board for stability. Do this as many times as necessary to loosen the built up dirt and dry with a towel.

I suspect by the sounds of it you will be rinsing and washing the straps a few times before you completely remove the build up. That’s why its great for the makers of kid’s stuff to make it so you can take it all apart to clean. Our kids don’t really don’t make it easy on us when it comes to cleaning.

Highchairs

General Information:

Keep high chairs clean by wiping them with mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge after every use.

Occasionally, for obvious health reasons, give the chair a more thorough cleaning and afterwards a good wipe down with a mild bleach solution to kill germs. Mix a 1:20 parts water, let sit for a few minutes and rinse with a clean cloth and water.

Human Urine Smell Out of Upholstery

This question was submitted from E.S.E.

“How do I remove HUMAN URINE SMELL from upholstery?”

Urine removal can be a very tricky business from absorbent materials such as carpet and upholstery. I have seen many carpets & upholstered pieces, that have become urine contaminated, cause the occupant much grief in their attempts in trying to rid the area of the offensive odor.

Urine contains salts that act as a desiccant. That is to say, it can attract and hold moisture better than most materials. If you pass a moisture meter over a urine infected area, even if it has been left to dry for months, you will find that the area where there is urine will have a much higher moisture content in relationship to the surrounding unaffected area.

This is the reason urine odor is stronger when the humidity in the air is elevated (rain outside, shower running etc). This ability to attract and retain high moisture in fabric creates ideal conditions for bacterial, viral and mould growths. Removing urine salts from your living area is strongly recommended from health and indoor air quality perspectives.

Try these techniques :

If the upholstery is of covered with a non-absorbent material cleaning it with household cleaners should readily take care of the problem.

If the upholstery is of covered with an absorbent material with a non-absorbent barrier between the exterior fabric and the foam than having the upholstery professionally cleaned or steam cleaning the upholstery yourself should take care of the problem.

If there is no barrier between the fabric and the foam, than the urine would have saturated beyond the surface fabric into the foam. Surface cleaning the exterior fabric will not remove the salts in the foam.

As an example, if this were carpet we would be pulling the carpet back, treating the back of the carpet, replacing the under pad and treating the sub-floor, as well as clean the face of the carpet. If the urine contamination has gone past the face fibres of the carpet into the carpet back and under pad, cleaning the carpet fibres will not solve the problem. Applying deodorants to the carpet face will only add a scent to the odor but will not eliminate it.

Unless there is a way for you to remove the urine infected materials from inside the upholstery and thoroughly cleaning the inside structure of the upholstery I would suggest you throw it away and get a new one.