How to Keep Your Outdoor Furniture Looking New

Your outdoor furniture can take a hiding. From bearing the heat of the sun to surviving heavy rains and maybe even hailstorms now and again. High quality, sturdy outdoor furniture will go the distance but requires some regular TLC to keep it looking its best.

Outdoor fabrics and finishes for designer furniture have improved in durability over recent years but an annual clean will ensure your garden furniture will look immaculate, year round.

Caring for cushions and upholstery

Today’s outdoor fabrics are weatherproof and durable but can get grimy and lose their bright and vibrant colours overtime. However, caring for your outdoor cushions and upholstered outdoor sofas is not a huge chore.

To clean modern outdoor fabric, dust off any surface dirt then dilute mild detergent in water and apply to the upholstery using a sponge or soft bristle brush. Rinse the fabric thoroughly to remove any detergent residue and allow it to dry in sunlight. Once dry, your cushions and upholstery should look as good as new.

Canvas cushion covers can be removed and washed in the washing machine. If the covers aren’t removable, give the canvas a scrub with soapy water and a soft bristle brush then rinse well. This method can also be used on items like deck chairs and canvas awnings to remove tough stains such as bird droppings.

Caring for wicker furniture

If your wicker furniture is in good condition, give it a quick vacuum and wipe with a cloth soaked in a mild detergent solution. Use a bristle brush to remove any really stubborn grime then wipe over with a cloth soaked in plain water to rinse off any suds.

Vintage wicker furniture can also be given a new lease on life with a quick coat of spray paint.

Over time, wicker can dry out and split. To prevent this happening, once or twice a year mist it with a garden hose on a sunny, breezy day then dry your wicker furniture in a shady place.

Maintaining teak furniture

If your teak furniture gets dirty and grimy it can tend to mildew. Once a year, give your teak furniture a good, thorough scrub with an equal dilution of mild detergent and water using plenty of elbow grease and a bristle brush. This should prevent the teak from rotting.

Regular oiling can keep your teak furniture looking great and prevent the grain from drying out and cracking. However, do be careful with the product you use. It’s best to get a product recommendation from the manufacturer or retailer at the time of purchasing your teak furniture.

Caring for metal garden furniture

Metal furniture intended for outdoor use generally has a protective coating to prevent rust, but this finish can wear over time.

Check over any outdoor metal furniture carefully each spring. If you spot any signs of bubbling varnish or the appearance of rust, use sandpaper on the area that shows damage then apply a rust prevention product. Finally, give the entire piece a new coat of paint or varnish.

Bird droppings should be removed from outdoor metal furniture as soon as possible. They are acidic and can damage the furniture’s protective finish. Inspect your garden furniture regularly and remove any bird droppings straight away using a soft cloth and mild detergent.

Designer furniture is all the rage for today’s sophisticated outdoor living and entertaining areas. Purchase the best quality outdoor furniture you can, care for it regularly, and it will continue to look brand new for many years to come.

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Revitalizing Your Furniture to its Former Shine

It’s a simple fact of life that, unless you cover your furniture with plastic covers, wear and tear will eventually make it look shabby and worn. With apologies to all of our dear aunts who still think that plastic-covered furniture is fine, you can use a few techniques to bring back the look of some furniture without the expense of restoration or the bigger expense of replacement.

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Of course, there are times that no matter what you do, a piece of furniture needs professional help, but until it reaches that point there are plenty of things that you can do to fix the small problems that make your furniture look shabby.

Alternatives to expensive restoration for wood furniture

When it comes to refurbishing furniture on your own, the first step is to clean the piece. No matter how small the problem is if it is not clean there is nothing you can do to make it look better. For wood furniture that means washing it with a non-abrasive cleanser and lightly going over it with very fine steel wool.

Once it is clean, check the piece over for nicks, scratches and stains. There are a few tricks to take care of those:

  • Stains can be taken out of wood with a mixture of canola oil and vinegar. Mix ¾ of a cup of vinegar to ¼ cup of canola oil and rub it into the wood with a cotton cloth. The mixture will lift the stains out of the wood and begin restoring its natural luster.
  • Scratches on wood can be covered by applying a layer of coffee grounds – for dark furniture – or by rubbing it with a walnut – for light wood – and then wiping it off after letting it set for a few minutes.
  • Water rings, caused by glasses left sitting on a table, can be removed with mayonnaise. All you have to do is spread a thin layer on the damaged surface and let is sit for a half an hour. All you have to do is wipe them mayo up and the ring goes with it.
  • If you have a dent in your wooden furniture you can pour water on it then place a towel or shirt over the water and set a hot iron on the cloth. The heat from the iron will cause the water to be absorbed by the wood and within a few minutes the dent should be gone. If it doesn’t disappear after a couple minutes, set the iron back down on it and continue until it has.

You can stop there, but on advice from the experts at Eastern Suburb antique restoration once you have cleaned the piece, give it a light rub of furniture oil – it doesn’t matter which brand – and let it soak in. You might have to repeat this step a couple of times to see a difference, but once the oil soaks in it will really bring out the pattern in the wood. Go over the piece again with fine steel wool and then seal it with Tung oil. Once the Tung oil has dried, give it a light coat of wax and polish it.

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Different materials require different solutions

What works with hardwoods, won’t work with other materials. Damage to plywood and veneers can be a lot more difficult than hard woods while damage to plastic furniture can be quickly and easily fixed. When it comes to plastics, for example, the best way to clean any piece is with bleach. If you can’t get it clean using a mix of ¼ cup bleach to a gallon of hot water, it probably won’t get clean. Bleach is a very caustic chemical and gloves should be worn when cleaning with it. After it has been cleaned remember to wipe the entire piece with a dry, white cloth to get all of the bleach off. From there, the new plastic-formulated paints make it easy to give plastic furniture a brand-new look.

Every material has its own peculiarities and there are plenty of places that will show you the best ways to clean and refurbish any material. The most important thing to remember is that you like the piece of furniture – for whatever reason – and if you want to restore it, have a ball.

How to know if something is worth saving

Knowing when you need help is what separates the amateurs from the professionals. Some furniture restoration projects need more than just cleaning and a fresh coat of oil or paint. Sometimes a piece needs expert care or at least expert advice on fixing a problem.

Modern technology is bringing that expert advice into your home in a very personalized manner. More and more restoration companies are willing to work off of photos or streamed video to give potential customers an idea of the scope of projects and whether it can be done at home or if professional help is needed. The best part of that is you don’t have to wait for your local shop to get the time.

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How to choose perfect upholstery vinyl for your home

Upholstery vinyl Vinyl is a type of plastic that is made from ethylene and chlorine together and is durable and easy to care for fabric. Vinyl comes in a wide range of colors and textures and so a homeowner can easily match these to their existing setup. The texture of leather and vinyl is almost similar and a naked eye can get confused by looking at it. Although, these are a bit less expensive than leather, but still the pricing of vinyl depends on the quality. Vinyl products come in a wide variety and this is the reason why we can use this great material in almost any home setting. One of the most commonly sought after option is the upholstery vinyl. Vinyl can complement any setting whether traditional or modern interiors, but the main problem is choosing the right upholstery vinyl. The points mentioned below will help you make this decision.

Vinyl Upholstery

  • You need to consider the location of furniture because the durability of upholstery vinyl will depend on where you have placed the furniture. Vinyl, in general, is less prone to abrasions and high wear and tear. In order to prolong its life, you can also get it coated with a protective finish.
  • Consider the kind of mood that you want to portray for your room. In this case, brighter colors will make the room lively and vibrant at the same time. On the other hand, the lighter tones of color will add warmth and a relaxing ambience in the home.
  • Upholstery vinyl comes in many patterns and textures. High quality vinyl makes it difficult for people to differentiate between vinyl and leather. You can choose a variety of patterns that will compliment the interior of your room.
  • Consider the amount of efforts it will require for cleaning the upholstery. Vinyl is easy to clean and maintain and so it will be one of the best options when it comes to the upholstery. You will need to regularly clean the upholstery to maintain a neat and attractive look and so it is good to have something that is easy and less time consuming to clean like upholstery vinyl. You can simply wipe the upholstery with a damp cloth regular to maintain its shine and cleanliness. However make sure that that cleaning agents that you use do not dry up the vinyl upholstery as it will reduce its lifespan.

Vinyl Upholstery

  • Stain protection is one of the crucial aspects that most people want in their home. So when you go for the upholstery vinyl you can be sure to benefit by installing this. This fabric is easy to protect from stain and as a result you can always keep your home clean and stain free.
  • Upholstery vinyl also comes in a low cost and so you are able to save on this aspect. So make sure that you compare your options well in order to choose the best one. While researching about different vinyl’s make sure to take out time and compare durability, maintenance and other such vital aspects in order to choose the right one.
  • Apart from buying upholstery for your home, you need to also make sure that installation is done correctly. Installation is an important aspect that ensures durability, comfort, elegance and aesthetic value at the same time. While purchasing vinyl upholstery it is best to get the entire set changed or refurbished together in order to avoid wasting time doing it yourself.

So make sure to consider the above mentioned points when you want to give the perfect look to your furniture and your interiors with Upholstery vinyl.

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Your Healthy Home Checklist

It’s strange how we often fear the pollution and other harmful influences outside, and never even stop to think of the safety of our homes. You instantly assume that the very fact that you call your house a ‘home’ makes it a healthy and a safe place to live in, but that is far from being true. Nothing good ever comes without effort, and in order to clean your house of toxins and other dangers, you have to invest some time and work. Since there are different health hazards lurking from different areas of your home, you have to devote special attention to each of them. Here is a short checklist, so that you don’t miss out any of them.

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Clean Up Your Cleaning

You think that your house is actually clean after cleaning? Think again. Most of the products contain pesticides and other dangerous chemicals that pollute the indoor air and worsen (and perhaps even cause) various health problems, such as asthma. Get rid of all of them, and use organic products or homemade cleaners. Baking soda, lemon, essential oils and vinegar can replace most of the conventional cleaners.

Is Your Furniture Safe?

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Your furniture may be baby-proofed when it comes to covering the edges, but does it contain any toxins? Plastic chair can add a modern charm to your dining room, but they can emit polybrominated diphenyl ethers and other toxins. Stain-resistant fabrics might be very useful, but they can contain perfluorinated compounds. The best materials for furniture are certified sustainable wood, reclaimed wood, and bamboo. Look for materials that are treated only with natural substances, like naturally tanned leather and natural wood finish. If you own any foam stuffed furniture, make sure you keep it well-covered.

Another View on Healthy Cooking

Healthy cooking includes preparing organic and nutritious produce, but that is only one side of the coin. The pots, saucepans and other cookware will also impact the quality of what ends up on the plate. It doesn’t matter how handy non-stick or Teflon cookware can be, if overheated, it can release dangerous toxins into your meals. Don’t take that chance and replace it with glass, stainless steel or cast-iron whenever possible.

Purify the Air

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Indoor air is burdened with many pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can be found in wall paint, dust mites, mold and mildew, carbon monoxide and radon. First test your home for radon and carbon monoxide and take steps to reduce them. After, get rid of carpets (since they collect dust mites), and steam clean the furniture and the drapes. Mold is a common problem in households and it can lead to allergies and troubles with respiratory system. To resolve it, find the best air purifier for mold, while keeping in mind the air quality in the room and the price range.

Check Water Quality

Water is another essential resource that can be contaminated with various toxins. City water may contain led if the pipes are older and well water can be exposed to impurities from the soil. Bottled water isn’t always the best solution, as there are no special regulations determining whether it’s healthy enough or not. Your best way to healthy drinking water is installing water filtration systems.

Minimize Sound Pollution

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Noise is annoying, there is no denying, but it can also be very harmful. In fact, it can seriously impact the mood and increase stress levels. Although there are no ways to fully eliminate noise from your surroundings, you can do your best to minimize it. Turn off the electronics when you’re not using it, soundproof your home (sealing window frames, putting furniture against the walls, use rugs to dampen the sound) and mask the noise by running a small water feature or a white noise machine.

Follow these tips and your home will become your safe haven, instead of a source of constant threats for you and your family. A healthy home will show its worth by contributing to sustainability, minimizing waste and optimizing the use of resources.

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How to Properly Vacuum Your Furniture

Everyone knows carpets need to be vacuumed regularly. But if you want your furniture to remain fresh, new and clean, it must be cleaned often too.

In this article, we’ll go through the five steps to keeping your furniture looking as good as new. While we focus on sofas, the same steps can be used for other types of furniture – including mattresses and chairs. The process takes less than 15 minutes but can make a big difference to the appearance and lifespan of your furniture.

Start with the Upholstery Brush

One of the most common vacuum attachments is the upholstery brush. The form of this often-overlooked tool varies depending on the brand of vacuum, but it is usually a wider attachment than crevice or dusting brushes. Some upholstery brushes also come with a strip of fabric to remove dust from fabric covers.

Start vacuuming the furniture with a side-to-side motion and short strokes. Each stroke should overlap the last, as this removes dirt ingrained into materials such as velvet and suede. Don’t be afraid to apply some pressure to the tool either, as this helps the vacuum provide a more thorough clean.

Spend a few minutes with the upholstery brush until you’ve vacuumed the entire piece. This is probably the most important step in the process and should be repeated at least once per week.

Clean Under Cushions

Next, use the vacuum’s hose to quickly clean underneath cushions and along edges of the furniture. Dust and dirt can quickly build up unnoticed in these areas, but they only take a few minutes to clean.

If you can’t remove cushions from your furniture (some sofas have them built-in), use the crevice tool to remove dust and dirt that’s fallen down the sides.

Get Rid of Pet Hair

Dog and cat hair can be frustratingly difficult to remove from cushions – especially if your pet has a habit of sleeping on the sofa. A typical upholstery brush or hose may struggle, which is why pet vacuums tend to come with a motorised attachment. These provide more power and are almost essential for removing stubborn hair.

After going over your furniture with an upholstery brush, clip on the pet hair attachment and complete another pass with short strokes. If you don’t have a pet, you can skip this step – although using a motorised tool can remove much more dirt and dust.

It’s recommended that pet owners clean sofas and carpets at least every other day, with a more thorough clean once per week. If you don’t have time to vacuum this often during sociable hours, consider getting a quiet vacuum cleaner you can use in the mornings or evenings without waking the neighbours.

If someone in your household suffers from pet allergies, however, then you may want to clean daily. Regular vacuuming can keep pet dander to a manageable level while relieving allergy symptoms.

Note: make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions before using a motorised tool. While these are safe to use on most furniture, they may scratch materials such as leather.

Don’t Forget Underneath and Behind Furniture

Once you’ve vacuumed the furniture itself, it’s a good idea to clean underneath and behind. The amount of dirt and hair that can build up is frightening, and in extreme cases these areas can be suitable locations for mould.

This step is usually easier with a cylinder vacuum, as the floor heads have a larger range of motion. There are, however, upright vacuums with a low profile and handles that can tilt almost to the floor, allowing you to vacuum under furniture more conveniently.

The good news is you can use a regular floor head for these areas, so this job doesn’t take long. You also don’t need to clean behind furniture every week – once a month is probably fine for most houses.

Tackle Stubborn Dirt Sports

Vacuums are great for quickly getting rid of the majority of hair, dust and dirt from furniture. But what if there’s a stubborn area your vacuum is unable to remove?

The easiest way to get rid of dirt spots is to use a soil release product. These are sprinkled onto the affected area and rubbed into the fabric to help loosen dirt. Once the product has done its job, you can use your vacuum to suck up the dirt. Make sure you test the product on a small hidden area of your furniture first though.

Summary

Vacuuming your furniture doesn’t take much time, but can have a dramatic effect on the longevity and attractiveness of the piece. While the exact methods vary depending on the shape, size and material, the five steps in this article can be applied to almost any type of furniture. Give them a try and let us know in the comments if you have any questions.