Caring for your furniture

Caring for leather
Caring for fabric
Caring for fibre

Removing dust from your furniture, whether it is timber, leather or fabric, is essential to the care of it. Dust combines with humidity or body oils creating grime that can potentially deteriorate the finish or fibre of your furnishings.

The location of your furniture can affect its longevity. Placing your furniture against or touching external wall can create moisture build up and placing it too close to radiators heater and gas or wood fires can increase the risk of damage or discolouration. Sharp objects such as rings buckles even pets can tear scratch or break furniture. Protect from direct sunlight and rotate reversible cushions at regular intervals. Vacuum cushions weekly on low suction and take care with surfaces.

Leathers

Most leathers generally do not need much day to day maintenance. Periodic dusting with a soft, dry cloth should be enough. It is important to avoid placing leather sofas near heat sources or direct sunlight.

Oily stains are the biggest danger to leather surfaces. In the event of stains, oils, fats makeup chocolate or beverages remove any excess liquid by dabbing with an absorbent paper towel. Gently wipe the stain from the outside edges towards the centre with a clean cloth dampened with water and neutral soap. Dry the stain gently wiping with a dry cloth. When cleaning oily stains avoid hard pressure, as this may cause the substance to enter the pores of the leather.

Natural leathers are so called for the reason of their natural and uncoated nature. In this regard natural leathers may incur marks or discrepancy of colour where is has come into contact with belts or studding for example. This is a normal occurrence and forms the natural character and uniqueness of leather.

Aniline leather

Aniline leather is usually thicker and softer than coated leathers. Scoring and veins are natural characteristics. With more wear these characteristics become more enhanced resulting in the leathers appearance changing in to a richer patina.

Semi-aniline

The leather has a lighter colour and finish applied to the surface which reveals the hide to a less extent and increases the resistance to wear. The process balances out dye colour irregularities and allows a greater colour range.

Pigmented 

The surface of this leather has a pigment applied and a heavier protective coating, giving a limitless colour range and good wear characteristics. Pigment leathers are produced in two basic forms.

Wax effect /pull 

There are many variations of leather aniline leather typically been given a wax or oily impregnation .This gives the leather a nice feel and affords the hide protection and depth of colour. This cannot be achieved in any other way in surface colouring, this method of finish ages beautifully over time. They generally mark a little more easily but can be lightened by rubbing.

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Fabric

Fabric colour fastness

No fabric, even those tested to industry standards, is 100 percent colour-fast and it is impossible to prevent fading if the right precautions are not taken. Winter sun sitting low in the sky can have the largest impact, particularly when curtains are pulled back. However, any room with a lot of daylight can cause susceptible fabrics to fade

Fading and sun damage

Dyed fabrics, particularly those dyed in bright colours, are susceptible to fading. Constant exposure to the direct rays of the sun can break down the fabric fibres, causing them to become brittle and increasing the risk of a rip or tear during cleaning.


Oxidation

Fumes from fires of all kinds, car exhausts and kitchen stoves produce a sulphur compound which, when combined with humidity and oxygen, produces a mild sulphuric acid. This can cling to the fabric and over time contribute to deterioration and discolouration.
It is recommended that a regular professional cleaning by a dry cleaning service professional can help minimise the impact of this.

Yellowing

Tobacco smoke will cause a yellow or brown stain on most fabrics and is a particular problem on light coloured materials.

Pilling

This is often a result of wear and tear, but climatic conditions and air quality can also contribute. Fibres in some clothing can transfer pills to the furniture. Pilling is not a defect and can easily be removed using a battery operated pilling appliance available from most haberdashery stores.

Shrinkage 


Sufficient allowance should be made for shrinkage as all fabrics are prone to it. An allowance of three percent is an acceptable industry standard.

Spills and stains

Attend to stains and spills as quickly as possible after the incident. Mop up any spilled liquid and scrape away any dirt, then clean as recommended for the type of stain. Be careful about over saturating fabrics, especially with detergent, as this can create watermarking or other stains. There’s also a big difference in the approach for oil and non-oil based stains.

Oil based

Use warm water mixed with household soap (test first on a hidden part of the fabric). Rub gently and blot dry with a clean towel. Then use clean, cold water (rain or distilled water is best) repeat the blot drying process again. Complete the process using a hair dryer to dry off, hold at least 30cm from the surface, working outwards from the centre of the stain. Clean entire panels of fabric rather than specific spots as this will prevent the spot from standing out when the cleaning is done.

Non-oil

Use the same method as for oil but use a dry-cleaning solvent in place of the soap and water solution. The solvent is available from supermarkets and chemists.

Alcohol

Mop up excess liquid, dab at the stain with a rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth, then blot repeatedly with a solution of cool water and detergent. Repeat and blot dry with a clean towel.

Blood

Ammonia is the best solution for blood. Mix a solution with one teaspoon of ammonia in a cup of cold water and dab at the spot. Do not over rub. Blot with a clean towel and repeat the process. Once the spot is gone, continue to dab the stain area with water and blot. Repeat after fifteen minutes, this time with white distilled vinegar. Blot once again, using a dry towel.

Chewing gum

Rub an ice cube over the gum to harden it, then carefully scrape it up with a blunt knife. This should remove most of the gum. The remainder should clean up with dry cleaning fluid.

Coffee and tea

Sponge the stain with warm water then apply warm glycerin. Leave it for thirty minutes and blot with warm water, drying quickly.

Cosmetics

Sponge with warm water then apply warm glycerin. Wait thirty minutes then blot with warm water, drying quickly.

Fruit/fruit juices

Blot or wipe up as much as possible, leaving the stained area dry. Blot with cold water. If any trace remains, dab the spot with a mixture of liquid detergent, vinegar and water. Once the stain is removed blot with water to remove the vinegar and detergent traces.

Grease

Dry cleaning fluid is the best solution for grease, including hair grease. If any trace of stain remains after dabbing with the fluid, go over it with a mixture of detergent and warm water then finish with a clean slightly damp cloth.

Ink

Add some warm glycerine, then leave for at least ten minutes. Apply some liquid detergent and rub gently. Finally, use clean water and blot dry quickly.

Milk

Blot with a clean soft cloth, then use clean water on the area. Blot with a solution of water, detergent with a small amount of ammonia. Wait until dry, and then go over the area with some dry-cleaning fluid. To finish, blot lightly with a cloth that has been wet with some rubbing alcohol.

Ice cream

Wipe or scrape away the excess and blot with clean water mixed with liquid detergent. Make sure you do not saturate the cloth. Once dry, use dry-cleaning fluid for any remaining stain.

Soft drinks and confectionery

First sponge the stain with water, and then add some warm glycerin. Finish by blotting with water.

Iodine

Cut a lemon and apply to the area then sponge with warm water. Apply a small amount of detergent with a cloth then blot with a cloth wrung out in a solution of two thirds warm water and one third white vinegar.

Shoe polish

Apply liquid paraffin to loosen the stain then sponge with dry cleaning fluid.

Urine

Urine needs to be attended to before they dry, as urine can affect the dye and discolour it. Use a solution of water with white vinegar then blot dry. Then use another solution of liquid detergent with cold water. Finally dab the spot with cold water, making sure you blot it thoroughly.

Vomit

Same technique as for milk.

Water spots

Blot the area with a cloth and then apply some white vinegar. After a few minutes wet the area with cold water, blotting with a dry cloth. Always brush in the same direction of the pile when dry.

Sofa cushion and seating -inserts

All inserts require regular and ongoing maintenance. The easiest method is to regularly ‘fluff and puff’ and, if possible, flip them. Change cushions from one side of the piece to the other, or simply flip them in place. Some fabric may naturally ‘creep’ or ‘slide’ over time and with use. Flipping will minimise this, however sometimes it is necessary to unzip the cushion and pull or rub the fabric back into place.

Note that feather inserts can lose up to 10% of their feather fill over the period of use, this is a natural and unavoidable occurrence. It may be required, after many years of use and enjoyment, that the inserts are professionally re-filled.

Feather wraps/layers

Feather-filled ‘wraps’ or ‘feather layers’ have inserts filled with feather, or feather/fibre, wrapped around a polyurethane or foam core. These cushions require a little maintenance however they have all the benefits of full feather with less of the maintenance. Regular flipping or rotating of the cushions is recommended, along with fluffing or puffing of the seat cushion every few weeks or at least once a month. How regularly this is done is a matter of how much use

Note that feather inserts can lose up to 10% of their feather fill over the period of use, this is a natural and expected occurrence in the life of a cushion. It may be necessary, after many years of use and enjoyment, that the inserts require professional re-filling

Feather

Feather-filled cushions, especially when used as base cushions, require weekly or fortnightly ‘fluffing and puffing’ and flipping.
If this is not done they may lose their appearance and comfort level temporarily or sometimes permanently. These cushions may also lose some feathers over time. This should be minimal and is referred to as leaching.

Fibre

Fibre-filled cushions require minimal maintenance.

Polyurethane (foam)

Regular flipping and movement of polyurethane cushions is essential to maintaining its shape and volume. Polyurethane inserts may soften by ten to fifteen percent over the life of the insert.
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