The Best Ways to Clean Every Type of Furniture

Our experts share tips on how to clean the furniture and upholstery. Maintain investment pieces and prevent future damage on a variety of surfaces including hardwood, veneer, leather, painted finishes, and even the most durable, outdoor furnishings.

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December 18, 2018

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How to Clean Polished Wood Furniture

Cleaning wood furniture requires tackling buildup of old polish, dust and scuffs. Always start with the gentlest of cleansers, such as a cloth lightly dampened with water and a touch of dish soap. If necessary, you can then work your way up to heavier-duty cleansers, such as some of these DIY wood cleaning and polish options. Always wipe down with a microfiber cloth to prevent soap residue from remaining on the surface. Learn more about cleaning hardwood furniture.

How to Clean Veneer Furniture

Veneer surfaces are more delicate and difficult to repair than solid surfaces, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look nice for a long time. Maintain veneer furniture by dusting it often, applying gentle cleaners using microfiber cloths, and importantly, monitoring for loose veneer edges that may worsen, snag and splinter. You can repair damaged areas with the help of adhesive. Get inspired by these beautiful veneer furniture finishes.

How to Clean Leather Upholstery

Your leather upholstery will be long-lasting if cared for, so follow these simple leather cleaning tips to help keep it looking new (we even have bonus info for maintaining white leather). If you properly nourish the leather, keep stains at bay with simple spot-treating cleansers, and keep it out of direct sunlight, you’ll be happy with leather as a long-term investment.

How to Clean Fabric Upholstery

Big claps to the engineers who have mainstreamed easy-to-clean upholstery; despite advancements, it’s always best to follow manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning any fabric. You'll want to adhere to a diligent vacuuming routine to lift the dust, pet fur, and other dirt that lands on the fibers, so that it doesn’t get too embedded. Rather than spot-cleaning, tackle larger areas with soap and water to avoid leaving clean "spots," and only gradually increase to fabric cleaners if necessary. Lastly, know that lotions, hair conditioners, and oils from our skin can contribute to staining, so keep these cleaning tips in mind if you have a fabric headboard. If you're ready to learn more, this article shares more tips on knowing how to clean fabric upholstry.

How to Clean Vintage Fabric Upholstery

Cleaning delicate fibers is always tricky, so proceed with some caution if you’re trying to clean vintage furniture upholstery. Opt for a blotting technique, and avoid rubbing and scrubbing, which can damage the fibers. Always choose the most gentle of cleansers, such borax diluted in water or water with a touch of dish soap. Best to test on a hidden area first (and allow it to dry completely before beginning to clean the majority of the vintage fabric, so that you can monitor how the fabric responded to your cleanser and technique). Learn more about cleaning fabric upholstery.

How to Clean Painted Furniture

A painted finish can be quite easy to clean with a gentle solution of white vinegar and water. Apply it using a microfiber cloth to remove scuffs and dirt, and wipe down again with a dry cloth. Considering painting your furniture to give it new life? Follow these tips for success.

How to Clean Wicker

It’s always a good idea to vacuum wicker regularly to gently lift dust that settles into the weave. If dirty, soap and water can be applied with a sponge or a soft bristled brush to agitate and cleanse dust in the hard to reach areas. See how your approach should vary if you're cleaning wooden rattan vs. synthetic rattan.

How to Clean Plastic Outdoor Furniture

Plastic outdoor furniture (be it molded or simulated wood) is among the easiest to maintain. Keep it out of the sun while not in use to prevent fading, and use soapy water and a hose to clean off pollen and dirt throughout the spring and summer. Use a cloth to dry it off or allow the plastic to air-dry. Learn how to maintain your outdoor furniture.

How to Clean Outdoor Patio Cushions and Canvas

Outdoor cushions are often just as coated with pollen and dirt as the furniture that surrounds them, but they’re also prone to mildew, so don’t forget to properly maintain these accessories if you expect your furniture to last more than a season. Outdoor fabrics are usually treated to stand up to heavier-duty cleaning, so you can reliably use a sponge soaked in warm water and dish soap to scrub dirt and mildew. With heavier canvases, you can also opt to pressure wash the fabric with soapy water to deep clean. Get all of the details you need in this article about cleaning outdoor cushions.

How to Clean Wrought-Iron Furniture

Outdoor metal furniture such as wrought iron is quite possibly the most durable option for outdoor furniture, and it can easily be rinsed of dirt and pollen with a gentle garden hose. Use a toothbrush dipped in soapy water to tackle tough spots or detailed areas. Monitor the condition of the surface paint, because the iron will rust more quickly and obviously in areas where the finish is damaged. If much of the finish is chipping, it may be time to pressure wash and refinish the surface. Learn more about how to clean wrought iron.

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