Easy DIY care solutions for your furniture

Are you frustrated by a living room full of furniture that's showing its age? Rather than taking your scuffed or dirty furniture to the cleaners or the curb, breathe some new life into it with these DIY solutions.

Easy DIY care solutions for your furniture

Natural fibre furniture

Natural fibres such as wicker, cane and bamboo make for excellent furniture, but they require regular care to keep them in good shape.

  • To keep wicker, cane or bamboo furniture looking its best, dust it regularly. Or better yet, vacuum it with a brush attachment.
  • You can remove most surface dirt with a damp, soapy cloth. Add washing soda for extra cleaning power.
  • Untreated cane and wicker benefit from an annual moisturizing treatment. In the shade, spray the furniture lightly with a garden hose, scrubbing with a soft brush if necessary. Leave outdoors to dry thoroughly.
  • Try scrubbing bamboo with a solution of warm soapy water mixed with a little borax. Rinse with salt water and allow to dry thoroughly.
  • Rub cleaned and dried furniture with a little linseed or citrus oil. This is especially important for moisturizing natural, unfinished fibres, which are prone to drying out.

Fabric and leather furniture

With a little care and regular cleaning, fabric and leather furniture can last for years. Bearing in mind any specific instructions for cleaning your furniture, here are some general tips for keeping fabric and leather items in tip-top shape.

  • To keep upholstery dust-free, vacuum it regularly. Dusty furniture eventually becomes dirty.
  • Clean fabric without over-wetting it. Using an electric beater, combine one part mild dish soap with four parts warm water. Brush the foam onto dirty areas or stains. Blot dry with a clean, white cloth.
  • Clean very dirty or stained leather with a solution of 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) of vinegar per half bucket of warm water and dry thoroughly with a soft towel. Alternatively, work saddle soap (available from saddleries and hardware stores) into a rich lather and use this to buff leather furniture with a soft cloth.
  • Polish and nourish leather by rubbing it with a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts linseed oil. Buff to a gentle shine with a soft cloth.
  • Remove grease spots on leather furniture by rubbing them with eucalyptus oil, then finish with leather polish.

Reviving a cane chair

As it ages, cane furniture can be prone to sagging. However, rather than throwing away a sagging cane seat, why not try extending its life with this simple procedure.

  • Turn the chair upside down.
  • Cover the seat bottom with a towel wrung out in a solution of 250 grams (one cup) of salt dissolved in 250 millilitres (one cup) of boiling water. Leave for about 30 minutes.
  • As it dries, the cane will shrink and tighten. Don't sit on it for 24 hours.

Furniture often represents a significant investment and it may also hold considerable sentimental value, so its worthwhile to take good care of it. Fortunately, with regular cleaning and easy DIY fixes using items you may already have around the house, your furniture should be able to last for many years to come.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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