Cabinet furniture care
With the right kind of care your furniture will retain its beauty and last a lifetime and beyond. In order to achieve this we have provided some information to give you a little more knowledge for you to care for your furniture.
Types of wood used in cabinet making: There are a huge amount of different materials and manufacturing techniques used in today’s furniture, here are some of the most common used in furniture from Newby House Interiors...
Solid Wood such as Oak
Oak is a prized material for furniture manufacture, thought of as being incredibly strong and hard wearing. There are many types of oak used from all over the world however all can be treated the same depending on the finish it has been given.
Lacquered finishes are popular as they can be finished in matt, satin or gloss and all simply wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Oiled finishes give a natural look however are more difficult to look after, specialist oil (such as Linseed oil) should be applied every so often to stop the wood from drying out. This finish is more likely to stain, as there is not much of a barrier to prevent it.
The great thing about solid oak is that it really can last forever, even soiled tops can be brought back to look as new by a skilled furniture restorer. Solid wood including oak can experience movement; this is due to natural moisture in the wood. The wood can slightly swell and shrink with the temperature of your room. The result can cause tight draws on cabinets, wider gaps in doors and table edging. To combat this, new manufacturing techniques are sometimes used to prevent excessive movement. A combination of solid wood and real wood veneers are used.
Real wood veneers
Veneers are thin layers of wood, which are stitched together in sheets and adhered to MDF or other surfaces. This technique not only saves wood, it also eliminates the risk of movement as explained above. When dealing with expensive wood such as Mahogany, Yew or Walnut, these woods are sometimes veneered onto less expensive hard woods or other materials to keep costs down.
This has a similar manufacture process to real wood veneers however instead of real wood, a printed laminate is used to give a wood effect. This material is much cheaper than real wood and as an added bonus is resistive to stains and can be easily wiped clean. The lifespan is not as long however, veneers which lift after years of use can’t normally be repaired.
Dents and Scratches
Although strong, solid wood is still prone to scratches, dents and other damage. Take care when handling your furniture and be careful not to use ornaments without felt protection pads. Avoid placing keys and other objects on your furniture, which can scratch the finish.
Cleaning and Dusting
When looking after your furniture a simple dust will suffice. With lacquered or laminate finishes, you may use a damp (not wet) cloth to wipe down surfaces, to remove grease, you may add a small amount of vinegar to water and wipe with a damp cloth. Always dust following the grain of the wood.
Furniture does not always need to be polished as this can change the finish from its original and also lead to a build up of polish, which can become uneven and unsightly. Never use an aerosol spray polish containing silicon, If you ever require expert repairs on your furniture it is extremely difficult to remove silicon from the finish and difficult to repair whilst it is present.
Dust and Scratching
Unfortunately dust is a common enemy and will always be with us. Minute micro-scratches caused by dust particles will normally not show under normal lighting conditions but can be seen in direct sunlight or under large areas of backlight. These micro scratches are by and large unpreventable and are not classed as a fault.
Always avoid subjecting your furniture to strong sunlight. Apart from the damaging effect that will be caused by the heat generated through glass, it will also fade your furniture. With this in mind try to change your furniture around occasionally; turn your table the other way round and alter the position of your chairs. If you have a separate leaf for your table, let it see daylight as much as possible in order to keep colours even, this applies when leaving ornaments in one place for long periods of time, you could end up with a light circle on your furniture. Real wood furniture will change shade over time as it mellows.
Do not stand your furniture near excessive heat or flame or stand anything hot on your furniture without proper protection. We recommend that for particularly hot articles such as coffee cups, teapots and hot tureens etc, good quality heat resistant place mats should be used to protect your furniture.
Excessive moisture is harmful to furniture, try to remove your furniture from a room where carpets are being cleaned or paper stripped from walls etc. Damp cups, glasses or vases can cause white rings on furniture; this is best avoided using a coaster. If white rings do appear they can usually be removed.
Remember to wipe up any spillages immediately, especially alcohol and foods known to stain such as chilli and curry. Lacquered and laminate finishes although not stain proof will hold up well to permanent staining, bare wood and oiled finished are less resistive as the stain can soak into the grain. Stains can usually be sanded off solid wood although the full tabletop would need doing, following the pattern of the grain. Seek advice from a professional furniture restorer before undertaking this type of work.
Glass & Mirrored Furniture
Glass is simple to look after, simply clean with a damp cloth or glass cleaner and avoid pulling objects across glass tables etc. Scratches from glass cannot normally be removed.
Avoid exposing your upholstery to prolonged strong sunlight, since this can cause excessive fading of colour fabric.
Always sit in the chair or sofa in the manner for which is has been designed. Do not sit on the arms of sofas, they are not designed to hold a lot of weight, the frame can be damaged by sitting on the sofas arms. Crushing of foam, fibre or structure can also occur as a result.
Try to avoid sitting on the edges of cushions too often, as this will cause uneven wear of the upholstery. Be careful to avoid snagging or plucking of pile or threads by sharp objects (e.g. children's toys, jewellery, buckles, pet’s claws etc.) if one of the loops has broken, don't try to pull it out, it is better to cut it short and save unsightliness.
The general cleaning of upholstered furniture is a skilled job and is best left to experts. If a proprietary upholstery shampoo is to be used, great care must be taken to follow the maker's instructions.
Please note that only the minimum of water necessary should be used to avoid tidemarks, always test a small area before proceeding with further cleaning.
Remember that when cleaning a small area this could make the rest of the cushion look dirty, as it will leave a clean patch, it is therefore better to clean full panels.
Removable sofa covers may be washed or dry cleaned however please check washing instructions first. Be careful not to exceed temperatures of 30°C. Washing agents must not contain any brightening agents as this may affect the colour. Remember if you tumble-dry covers use a cool setting only, and always dry individually.
This is a term used if a change of surface texture appears on certain covers usually inherent in washable fabrics. In order to delay this effect we advise you to clean on a regular basis. Change cushions positions regularly.
Creasing/crushing is prevalent with most fabrics and will occur more profusely on velour upholstery. This is regarded as a natural feature of the fabric and is not a fault, nor does it affect the fabrics wearing qualities.
Slubs are small knots used in the manufacturer of flat weave fabrics. These tie the fine pieces of threads together in order to produce the final product. This is regarded as a natural feature of the cloth and will not affect the wearing qualities.
Leather is a natural product with its own unique characteristics, style, comfort and durability. There are different types of leather which can be broken down into categories and require their own type of care. Some common types are;
So called as it has been dyed using aniline dyes, it has little or no protective coating applied which give the leather a soft luxurious feel. It is the most expensive type of leather available and is subject to natural scars, bites, and differences in grain and shade variation, adding to its character. Aniline requires more care than other leather types as it can stain more easily, specialist care packs can be purchased to care for the leather and keep its soft feel by applying creams to clean, moisturise and protect the leather.
This leather is designed to bring the natural feel and appearance of Aniline leather but with greater protection. A light protective coating is applied to offer some degree of resistance to staining but makes the leather a little firmer to the touch than Aniline.
This is dyed leather which has had a pigment applied to the surface offering good protection, a grain pattern can be embossed into the skin. Pigmented leather has a solid colour and less shade variances and natural marks which are present in Aniline leather. This leather is stiffer than the above leather but is easier to care for.
This has two layers, a natural one on the underside and a heavily protective top coating. These are bonded together to give a high resistance to soiling and very good wear performance, they are stiffer and less prone to stretching.
Split Leather is the bottom portion of the hide as opposed to top grain which is the upper section. It is created by melting together several pieces of leather. Typically split leather is not as durable as top grain, it has more dye so it feels stiffer and cracks more easily. Split grain is not as high quality as top grain leather and therefore it’s less expensive.
During its life, leather will have been subjected to many environments and will always bear natural marks and blemishes as a result of how and where the animal lived. These blemishes may appear as scars, growth lines, brands, bush marks, creases or bites. In addition, each individual hide may exhibit surface grain variation, which in turn may result in areas of your upholstery differing in grain appearance and colour variation. These natural features are the hallmark of an authentic leather product and in no way detract from or weaken its wearing qualities and should be seen as the character of the leather. These markings are more apparent in Aniline and Semi Aniline Leather.
All types of leather used for upholstery will stretch from use (think of your leather shoes stretching from wear to become more comfortable). The most common area for stretching is on the seat so it is common to notice stretching of the leather in this area first. Stretching is a normal, inherent quality of leather furniture.
Leather upholstery can be permanently stained by continuous contact with non-colourfast clothing such as jeans. Staining can also be caused by chemicals, food and bodily fluids so take care to keep anything like this away from the leather. Different types of leather require different care when it comes to staining.
Aniline and Semi Aniline Leathers are more prone to staining, if you spill food or liquids onto this leather there is a higher risk of it staining the leather as it soaks in. In the event of spillages try to absorb the spillage with an absorbent cloth, taking care not to spread the stain further. Do not rub the leather as this can damage the finish. We recommend purchasing a specialist cleaning kit formulated for your specific type of leather and, in the event of a stain, follow the kits instructions to try and remove it.
Pigmented, Bi Cast and split leather is much easier to care for, spillages can generally be removed with a slightly damp cloth. Specialist kits for these leather types can also be purchased giving a better chance of removing tough stains. As the finish of this leather is tougher, stronger cleaners can be used, however, never use abrasives such as household cleaners and polish. These may damage the treated surface of your leather.
Sunlight & Heat
Sharp objects including studs on jeans can scratch or puncture leather. Do not sit on the arms of sofas, they are not designed to hold a lot of weight, the frame can be damaged by sitting on the sofas arms. Crushing of foam, fibre or structure can also occur as a result. Leather can be repaired to a certain extent, contact a leather care specialist in the event of damage.
We hope this guide helps you with your furniture care. Different furniture styles, types and finishes may require individual advice. If you have any other questions please contact us