This post was originally published on September 25, 2013.
While it may seem silly or tedious to give your items a thorough clean only to store them away, doing so can ensure proper preservation.
You may be thinking—what’s the worst that could happen? Furniture that is simply left alone may contain bacteria or other elements that make these items more prone to mold or mildew accumulation during long-term storage.
To avoid this from happening, give your furniture a proper clean. Below, we outline common cleaning techniques for three types of furniture pieces: upholstered, wooden and plastic.
1. Protect Upholstered Items
Upholstered furniture pieces are those that contain stuffing, springs and cushions, with fabric that covers it all. To clean, consider the following steps:
- Know your fabric. It’s important to note that different fabrics will react differently toward certain chemicals and processes. Knowing the fabric type can help guide you toward the best way to clean and protect.
- Brush the dust off. Use your vacuum or a duster to eliminate particles or moveable materials from your furniture. Remove cushions, and look for spare change, food particles or other objects that may have fallen between the cracks.
- Work in a cleanser. With a smooth surface and knowledge of your furniture fabric ready, select a cleaner that pairs well with the fabric type. Then, wash your fabric with a fabric cleaning brush. After applying the cleaning solution, let the piece sit and soak in the cleaning chemicals for a few minutes—longer if you are working with tough stains. Wash the cushions separate.
- Let it sit. After your work is complete, let it dry completely before reassembling the furniture pieces.
2. Sustain Wooden Objects
A great piece of wooden furniture can be a real showstopper—an item that pulls a room together with an air of sophistication. You’ll want to keep it that way.
Cleaning methods can be dangerous to temperamental wood, and the wrong method can ruin the entire piece. Select a cleanser of your choice and test a small area before committing to cleaning the whole object. As with upholstered items, four main steps apply to clean:
- Know the wood type.
- Dust off the item.
- Select a cleanser that works best.
- Once clean, seal with a protective finish. (This will be a clear coat seal made to help with preservation.)
Cleanser tip: Use the weakest solution you can find and only move on to stronger solutions if dirt or stains remain. The stronger the chemicals are, the greater the risk that the solution will damage your wooden furniture. A simple mineral water solution or water with light soap solution may be all you need.
3. Preserve Plastic Pieces
Plastic furniture items can be simple, auxiliary or unique touches to a room. When it comes to cleaning plastic furniture, there are a variety of solutions available.
Did you know that some of these common household items can actually be used as a solution to clean your plastic furniture?
- Baking soda
- Common tub or tile cleaners
- Vinegar or apple cider vinegar
As with other furniture items, dust the item off, give it a good clean using the solution of your choice, and let the item dry.
4. Consider Complete Coverage
Once your items are clean and ready for a self-storage solution, we recommend investing in furniture covers as an added layer of protection.
Want full control over the environment your piece lives in? Consider a climate-controlled storage unit to help prevent warping, distress, discoloring or other kinds of harm that can come from an item being left in a place too warm.
How do you keep your furniture pieces clean? Let us know in the comment section below.
Image Credit: Di_An_h via Unsplash