take good care of good furniture

take good care of good furniture
TAKE GOOD CARE
OF GOOD
FURNITURE
“Take good care of good furniture” is published by
the Danish Furnituremakers’ Quality Control, whose
objective it is to promote the manufacturing of high
quality furniture in Denmark.
Dansk Møbelkontrol
Søren Frichs Vej 50
DK-8230 Aabyhøj
www.dansk-mobelkontrol.dk
© Dansk Møbelkontrol 2002
IMPORTANT ADVICE ON
FURNITURE MAINTENANCE
Warning! Never use solvents (e.g. methylated spirits, white
spirit, thinner, benzine, acetone etc.) unless the manufacturer’s instructions explicitly state that this is allowed. Solvents
are inflammable, dangerous to inhale, and can damage surface
treatment on wood, leather and other materials. They can also
damage upholstery materials if they are used to clean textiles.
THE FOLLOWING RULES MUST ALSO BE OBSERVED:
1. Always follow the instructions provided with
the furniture.
2. Always start by using the mildest cleaning
agent, i.e. demineralised or cold, boiled water.
3. Candle wax and chewing gum are most easily
removed after careful freezing with a carbon
dioxide freeze spray (available at most electronics retailers).
4. Never use abrasive cleaning agents such as
scouring powder and metal polishes or
cleaning agents that contain ammonia.
5. Remember to tighten knock-down fittings
where necessary.
6. If there are no washing instructions provided, then the furniture textile cannot be
washed. Cleaning of furniture textiles must
only be done according to the manufacturer’s instructions. NB! To facilitate fitting,
furniture coverings often have zippers, but
this does not indicate that the coverings can
be washed.
7. Cushions with loose stuffing such as down
and feathers need to be beaten at regular intervals.
8. Always protect tabletops against heat,
damp or coloured objects (for example
saucepans, vases, candles and plant pots)
with doilies. Always protect the surface
when using sharp tools.
9. To preserve the colours of the materials
they should as far as possible be protected
from direct sunlight. It is recommended
that surfaces should not be partly covered,
for example by tablecloths etc.
10. Please note that chair and table legs in
particular can leave stains (especially in
connection with washing floors or cleaning
carpets).
11. Never place furniture directly up against radiators or heaters.
12. Indoor furniture should never be used outdoors.
13. Sweat can cause damage to wood and
leather surfaces. Certain types of medicine
can alter the composition of sweat and
subsequently increase this effect.
14. If furniture is accidentally damaged, ask for
advice at the retailer’s where you bought
the furniture.
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CLEANING SOLUTIONS
Soap solution is made with 1 part soap flakes
to 40 parts hot water. Cool before use.
Soft soap should not be used unless this is
explicitly recommended in the manufacturer’s
instructions.
Solution with washing-up liquid: Follow the
manufacturer’s instructions. Use no more than
1 tsp. washing-up liquid per litre water. When
using concentrated liquids, a few drops per litre
water will suffice.
TAKE GOOD CARE OF GOOD FURNITURE
All good things that are made to last need
care. Even a piece of furniture that is produced
to satisfy customers’ expectations for a long
time needs looking after.
This leaflet offers advice on correct furniture
care so as to extend its life. Modern furniture
production includes so many different materials
that it is not possible to deal with all of them in
a leaflet of limited size. This leaflet includes the
most commonly used materials and surfaces.
The leaflet contains advice on the maintenance of furniture made of wood and other materials, furniture textiles and furniture leather.
It also contains illustrations of the distinctive
marks found on genuine leather.
CHOICE OF FURNITURE
When choosing furniture it is important to keep
in mind the wear and tear it will be subject to.
For example, furniture for a family with children
and a dog must be stronger, more hard-wearing, and have a more resistant surface than
furniture for a person who lives alone.
Surface treatment, textiles and leather are
features that immediately characterize a piece
of furniture, and it is therefore extremely important that they are chosen on the basis of the
correct requirements. The strength and durability of the furniture must naturally also be chosen on the basis of the correct requirements.
One thing that often causes problems is the
change in colour that takes place during the
lifetime of a piece of furniture. All materials
change colour to a lesser or greater degree
when they are subjected to light – and to sunlight in particular. Especially wood, coloured lacquers (paints), stains, textiles and leather
change colour. For all these materials it is a
well known and perfectly natural property that
they will alter colour when exposed to light.
It is therefore important to protect furniture
from sunlight, but it is also recommended that
new furniture is not left partly covered by tablecloths or doilies because this can lead to differences in colour between the covered and the
uncovered areas.
The furniture retailer will be able to advise
the customer on the basis of information that is
provided with the individual types of furniture
and the types of furniture textiles and leather.
In the case of mattresses, they should always
be placed on a surface that provides sufficient
ventilation, e.g. on slats, springs, or a board
with a sufficient number of ventilation holes.
WOODEN FURNITURE
Due to its many properties wood has always
been the preferred material in the production
of furniture all over the world. Each individual
tree is a piece of nature that, even after felling
and cutting, retains its own character in its
strength, structure and sensitivity – particularly
its sensitivity to light. There will therefore always be natural differences in the appearance
of wood. Knots are a characteristic of wood.
They are not faults, but the natural consequence of branches growing out from the tree
trunk.
Through time, all wooden furniture will, as a
consequence of the effect of light and use,
change colour.
Moisture in the air, the relative humidity,
varies with the seasons – indoors as well as
outdoors. Wood is sensitive to these changes
in relative humidity and expands and shrinks.
This causes solid tabletops to become slightly
uneven which is perfectly natural.
Moisture is the worst enemy of all wooden
furniture. All spilt liquids should be wiped up immediately. Water should be used only sparingly
– preferably in the form of a damp cloth – and
be wiped off with a dry cloth straight away. This
also applies when cleaning/treating with soap
solution and solution with washing-up liquid.
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MAINTENANCE OF WOODEN
FURNITURE SURFACES
UNTREATED AND SOAP-TREATED
SOLID WOOD SURFACES
General maintenance: Wipe with a clean dry
cloth. Soiled surfaces should be wiped with a
cloth wrung out in soap solution (see Cleaning
Solutions). Soft soap should only be used on
pine (soft woods) where it leaves a light grey
patina. On oak and other woods with a high percentage of tannic acid the use of soft soap can
result in a strong dark colour.
Thorough cleaning: Wash the entire surface
with a brush and then wipe the surface with a
cloth wrung out in soap solution (see Cleaning
Solutions). Difficult grease marks can be removed with benzine. Caution – fire risk! Provide ventilation!
If the wood fibres have risen due to the use
of liquids, they can be sanded down – always
along the grain – with grade 180 or 220 sand
paper. Never use steel wool. It can cause discolouring! Frequent sanding renders the surface less resistant to dirt. Frequent treatment
with soap solution will lessen the fibre-rising
tendency and increase surface resistance.
SURFACES TREATED WITH WAX
General maintenance: Wipe with a clean dry
cloth. Never use a damp cloth! Spilt liquids etc.
should be wiped up immediately.
Thorough cleaning: Remove stains caused by
liquids after they are completely dry. Clean the
surface thoroughly with a dry clean cloth moistened with white spirit. Caution – fire risk! Provide ventilation! If the wood fibres rise due to
the use of liquids, they can be sanded down –
always along the grain – with grade 180 or
220 sand paper. Never use steel wool. It can
cause discolouring!
When dry, apply a thin coat of furniture wax
suitable for the wood in question. Polish off after 15 minutes with a piece of sackcloth or
hessian. Always follow the instructions provided
by the wax manufacturer. Wax-treated surfaces
can also be brushed along the grain with a
clean brush with close-set bristles, for example
a clean shoe brush.
SURFACES TREATED WITH OIL
General maintenance: Wipe off with a clean dry
cloth. If the surface is stained, wipe the whole
surface with a cloth wrung out in soap solution
or water and washing-up liquid (see Cleaning
Solutions). Wipe off with a clean dry cloth.
Thorough cleaning: Thin layers of oil can be removed with white spirit. Caution – fire risk!
Provide ventilation! Wipe off and apply a thin
layer of the recommended oil. Always follow the
manufacturer’s instructions. If necessary, the
surface can be gently sanded in the wet oil – always along the grain – using grade 320 or 360
sand paper. Fine ScotchBrite can also be used.
Wipe off thoroughly with clean dry cloths
Warning! Cloths with furniture oil can self-ignite and should therefore be soaked with water,
wrapped in aluminium foil and disposed of after
use.
LAQUERED SURFACES
(DOES NOT APPLY TO FRENCH-POLISHED
SURFACES)
General maintenance: Wipe with a clean dry
cloth or a cloth wrung out in clean water. Wipe
off immediately with a clean dry cloth. Wipe
soiled surfaces with a cloth wrung out in soap
solution or water and washing-up liquid (see
Cleaning Solutions). Wipe off immediately with
a clean dry cloth.
Thorough cleaning: A wide range of polishes for
cleaning and maintaining glossy and matt lacquered finishes is available for various types of
wood. Products for dark wood can cause
changes in the colour and lustre of light wood.
Products with silicone are resistant to moisture
and dirt, but can penetrate the lacquer and hinder future treatment with lacquers. The sanding of lacquered surfaces should always be left
to an expert. Always follow the manufacturer’s
instructions for the product in question.
Scuffmarks from shoes etc. on chair and
table legs can easily be removed with benzine.
Caution – fire risk! Provide ventilation!
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TREATMENT OF OTHER
FURNITURE SURFACES
METAL FURNITURE
The most common metals used in furniture
production today are aluminium and chromiumplated, lacquered or stainless steel. All these
surfaces are resistant to dirt as well as liquids.
However, water can stain aluminium and stainless steel as well as cause damaged chromiumplated and lacquered steel surfaces to rust.
General maintenance: Wipe with a cloth wrung
out in water and washing-up liquid (see Cleaning Solutions).
Thorough cleaning: Aluminium, chromium-plated and stainless steel can be wiped with a cloth
moistened with methylated spirits. Caution –
fire risk! Provide ventilation! Clean lacquered
metal in the same manner as lacquered wood
surfaces.
PLASTIC FURNITURE
Plastic surfaces on furniture are usually
melamine (e.g. plastic laminate), various types
of foils, surface-coatings on metals and plastic
coverings on upholstered parts. Upholstery
covers are usually made from PVC, polypropylene (PP) or polyurethane (PUR). These can
have either a glossy, matt or leather structure
surface.
General maintenance: Wipe with a cloth wrung
out in hot water with washing-up liquid (see
Cleaning Solutions). Soap flakes are not suitable because they leave a film on the surface.
Thorough cleaning: Melamine surfaces (e.g.
plastic laminate) can be cleaned with a cloth
moistened with methylated spirits.
LINOLEUM
Linoleum is manufactured from oxidised linseed
oil mixed with fillings and dyes. To maintain the
appearance and performance of linoleum, never apply oil or lacquer.
General maintenance: Wipe with a clean dry
cloth or a cloth wrung out in clean water and
wipe off immediately with a clean dry cloth.
Wipe soiled surfaces with a cloth wrung out in
soap solution (see Cleaning Solutions) or with a
cleaning agent especially made for cleaning
linoleum. Wipe the surface dry immediately using a clean dry cloth. Stains can usually be removed by carefully wiping with white spirit. Caution – fire risk! Provide ventilation!
Thorough cleaning: Clean very dirty linoleum
surfaces with linoleum cleaner and linoleum
maintenance treatment agents. Always follow
the instructions. Once a year, or twice at the
most, linoleum surfaces may be treated with a
very thin layer of liquid wax. Wipe off thoroughly after 15 minutes. This can leave the surface
glossier, but it is also more resistant to dirt.
Aggressive cleaning agents such as strong
cleaners, soft soap and washing-up liquid
should never be used.
STONE
(E.G. GRANITE, MARBLE, SLATE)
Stone is not resistant to acids, e.g., lemon
juice. Wine, lemon juice and similar stains can
be virtually impossible to remove. Polished
stone and plastic-coated stone can be damaged by abrasive cleaning agents.
General maintenance: Wipe with a cloth wrung
out in hot water with washing-up liquid (see
Cleaning Solutions).
Thorough cleaning: Because of the many different types of stone surfaces, it is recommended
that the furniture manufacturer’s instructions
be followed in each individual case.
FURNITURE TEXTILES
Natural fibres, synthetic fibres and mixtures of
these are all used for textiles. Many different
weaving methods are also used, which results
in a great diversity with regard to wear resistance, colour fastness, shrinkage, resistance to
dirt, flammability etc. The retailer can advise
on these matters on the basis of the information supplied by the manufacturer with each
piece of furniture.
Wool is one of the best materials for furniture textiles because of its elasticity, wearability and resistance to dirt. For example, a cigarette ember that is quickly removed will only
leave a small mark that can easily be brushed
or sanded away.
Cotton is hardwearing, but is not as elastic
as wool. It is also easily soiled, and is therefore
often impregnated to increase resistance to
dirt. A cigarette ember that is quickly removed
usually leaves a small hole. Brushed cotton
should only be used for furniture that is subject
to a minimum of wear and tear.
Flax used on firm upholstery is very hardwearing, whereas wrinkling that can eventually
cause cracking can occur on soft upholstered
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© Dansk Møbelkontrol 2002
seats. Flax is sensitive to dirt and is easily
stained. A cigarette ember that is quickly removed usually leaves a small hole.
Synthetic fibres such as polyamide and polyester (including micro fibre materials and Trevira CS) are generally hardwearing and easy to
clean. A cigarette ember that is quickly removed usually leaves a small hole.
FURNITURE TEXTILE MAINTENANCE
General maintenance: Vacuum clean often, at
least once a week. Non-greasy stains are removed by rubbing gently with a clean non-fluff
cloth wrung out in soapy water or water with
washing-up liquid (see Cleaning Solutions).
Wipe the surface with a clean soft cloth wrung
out in warm water. Warning! Do not rub or
brush micro fibre materials while they are wet.
Stain removal: Stain removers should only be
used after testing the reaction on a small inconspicuous spot. Discolouration is avoided by
rubbing gently towards the centre of the stain
using circular movements. Never use stain removers if there is latex-foam filling under the
upholstery. Foam cleaners can be used if the
instructions provided are followed. Removable
covers can very often be dry-cleaned. If in
doubt, ask the retailer.
Warning! Never use solvents. Solvents can
dissolve underlying upholstery materials.
FURNITURE LEATHER
Leather is a natural material. It is therefore
perfectly natural that the finished furniture
leather is marked by events that affected the
animal during its lifetime. The following marks
in a sample of finished furniture leather (see illustrations) are characteristic for genuine
leather as opposed to artificial leather (plastic),
which has a regular structure.
Healed and open wounds are the result of
scratches and cuts caused by thorns, barbed
wire or fights.
Dung damage is caused by dung corroding
the hide.
Insect bites are small marks caused by insect stings.
Neck wrinkles are caused by growth and provide an extra charm in genuine leather.
Ringworm is caused by a fungal infection in
the live animal.
Sorting and tanning
Processing and sorting takes place at the tannery before the final delivery to the furniture
manufacturer.
Processing primarily consists of tanning where
two distinct methods are employed: vegetable
tanning and chromium tanning.
Chromium tanning is by far the most common process. Chromium-tanned leather is softer and more supple than vegetable-tanned
leather. It is used for both firm and soft upholstery.
Vegetable-tanned leather is more frequently
used for firm upholstery.
Dyeing and coating
There is a distinction between aniline-dyes and
surface coatings.
Aniline-dyes soak into the grain of the
leather, and retain its original structure. Surface coatings are coatings of pigmented lacquer sprayed onto the aniline-dyed leather surface. The coloured layer lies on top of the
leather surface.
Furniture leather is divided into four main
groups:
1. Pigmented leather (leather with a protective
surface coating) is, depending on the characteristics of the coating, well protected
against external influences. It has greater
colour fastness as compared to aniline-dyed
leather, and the protective surface coating
renders it resistant to water and dirt etc.
Pigmented leather can also be sanded and
embossed with a pattern (called grained) in
order to conceal faults.
2. Semi-aniline leather has a thinner surface
coating than coated leather. The surface is
reasonably resistant to external influences.
Semi-aniline leather becomes darker in use.
3. Leather with no protective layer – anilinedyed leather and vegetable-dyed natural
coloured leather – is untreated or has only a
very thin surface protection and is therefore
extremely susceptible to dirt, liquids and
grease.
Vegetable-dyed
natural
colour
leather becomes darker in use.
4. Split is the flesh side of the hide and is
rough on both sides. Split can be either untreated or sanded, embossed, and surface
coated in the same manner as pigmented
leather, but it is not as strong.
MAINTENANCE OF LEATHER
FURNITURE
Avoid exposing leather furniture to direct sunlight or strong heat.
PIGMENTED LEATHER
General maintenance: Wipe with a clean soft
cloth. When slightly soiled, wipe with a clean
soft cloth wrung out in demineralised or cold,
boiled water.
Thorough cleaning (only when absolutely necessary): Wipe or gently rub the whole surface
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© Dansk Møbelkontrol 2002
with a clean soft cloth wrung out in soap solution (see Cleaning Solutions). Spilt liquids etc.
must be wiped off immediately. Do not vacuum
as this may scratch the surface.
Removal of spots is not advisable! Washingup liquids and solvents should not be used.
Leather cream or leather oil should only be
used when absolutely necessary. Warning! If
the surface is damaged or worn, leather cream
or oil can cause blotches or discolouring.
sary): Wipe the whole surface with a clean soft
cloth wrung out in soap solution (see Cleaning
Solutions). Spilt liquids etc. must be wiped off
immediately. Do not vacuum as this may
scratch the surface. Removal of spots is not
recommended. Washing-up liquids, solvents
and fats (leather cream and oil) should not be
used.
SEMI-ANILINE AND UNPROTECTED
LEATHER SURFACES
General maintenance: Vacuum or brush frequently, with e.g. a clothes brush.
Thorough cleaning (only when absolutely necessary): Wipe the whole surface with a clean soft
cloth wrung out in soap solution (see Cleaning
Solutions). Spilt liquids etc. must be wiped off
immediately. Removal of spots is not recommended. Washing-up liquids, solvents and fats
(leather cream and oil) should not be used.
General maintenance: Wipe with a clean soft
cloth. When slightly soiled, wipe the whole surface with a clean soft cloth wrung out in demineralised or cold boiled water. Wipe the whole
surface over quickly to avoid blotches.
Thorough cleaning (only when absolutely neces-
UNTREATED SPLIT
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CHARACTERISTICS OF GENUINE LEATHER
HEALED WOUNDS – usually caused by cuts
from barbed wire, thorns or fights. They do not
reduce the strength of the leather.
INSECT BITES – small circular marks or holes
in the leather. They do not reduce the strength
of the leather.
OPEN WOUNDS – causes as for healed
wounds. They can reduce the strength of the
leather and should therefore not be used where
there is a risk of significant wear and tear.
NECK WRINKLES – coarse surface structure
caused by growth. They do not reduce the
strength of the leather.
DUNG DAMAGE – rough and/or open structure caused by dung corroding the hide of the
live animal. This can reduce the strength of the
leather and should therefore not be used where
there is a risk of significant wear and tear.
RING WORM – resembles a blotch and is
caused by a fungal infection in the live animal. It
does not reduce the strength of the leather.
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© Dansk Møbelkontrol 2002
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