In a world where the mantra of re-use, reduce, recycle is gaining traction, to be able to clean up a piece of pre-loved furniture that you’ve either acquired or want to move on is a useful skill to have.
So, imagine you’ve found just what you need – or you know that the item you hope to offload is just what someone else needs – how do you make it look as good as you possibly can?
Well, one of the legacies of little children (or indeed the price sticker) is having residual sticker (and sticky) marks on the furniture. And we know how tacky residue will attract dust and dog hair like nothing else. You could spend a fair bit on a dedicated product that you’ll undoubtedly use a tiny proportion of then leave in a cupboard for years. You could try and scrape it off with a sharp implement but that’s quite likely to put scratches where you don’t want them. Or you could just wipe or spray on a bit of vodka, vinegar, WD-40 or surgical spirit, wait a few minutes then wipe it off. The chances are pretty high that you’ve already got at least one of these in the home – the real question is which one you’re willing to use…
Despite our good intentions, real life means that new upholstery neither stays new, nor looks new, forever. No matter how hard you try, upholstery stains will occur so why not mix up a solution of about 240ml warm water, 60ml of white vinegar, and 15ml (1 tablespoon) of washing up liquid can treat small stains. Dab on the solution, rub it in with a soft brush then use a damp towel to absorb the liquid. Spray or dab the liquid on the area you want to clean, work it into the fabric with a soft-bristled brush, and sponge up the stain with a damp towel. Just be aware that some textiles such as leather or silk need specialist attention, so check the cleaning instructions carefully.
If your item has a bit of rust evident, make a paste with bicarbonate of soda and layer it on the rust spots. Leave for a quarter of an hour then rub it with an abrasive cloth. You could also try vinegar or even a mixture of salt and lemon juice.
Whilst the thought of mildew or mould can be a bit off-putting, if you vacuum the area on wood or upholstery, then clean it with a solution made of equal parts water and surgical spirit, or water and vinegar then sponge it up, rinsing out the sponge each time, then dry the patch properly.
If you want to remove any residual smells, just rub bicarbonate of soda into soft item, leave for a few hours then vacuum it up. If the surface is hard, just wipe the powder away with a mixture of water and vinegar.
Whilst these are specific tips for specific problems, remember that it’s always a good idea to give any pre-loved items that you bring home a thorough clean before you use them.