Protect your furniture from damage

The living and dining room furniture should blend and match your personality to give you satisfaction. Photo by Rachel Mabala

Apart from natural hazards such as fire or floods, the way you handle your furniture will determine how long it stays in good functioning condition. Each type of furniture whether made from metal, glass, sisal, bamboo or wood needs proper care to remain in perfect condition.

Wooden furniture
This is the most common type of furniture found in our homes. It is usually made out of trees like Mahogany, oak, maple, walnut cherry and birch. Dickson Rwendeire, an interior designer with Affinity Impressions Limited Uganda, says one of the best ways of keeping wooden furniture from damage is ensuring that it is dusted and wiped with a clean moist duster regularly.

After wiping the surface clean, it is advisable to polish with quality furniture oils and cleaners which ensure wood is protected by making the surface more slippery.

Avoid exposing the furniture to items that have high oil content because they leave smears. Abstain from cleaning with unadulterated olive oil, which smears and holds dust.

For a more high gloss look, try restoring soiled wood furniture with a blend of equally measured strained lemon juice, diluted liquor, olive oil, with a soft fabric to apply and buff with clean material. In case your furniture has scratches that dent the wood, there are fillers available in hardware stores and supermarkets.

Choose a color that closely resembles the shade of your furniture piece, applying in a few thin coats instead of in one thick coat until the scratch is no longer visible.

Glass furniture
This is the one of the most delicate type of furniture a person may have in their home. Just like wooden furniture, this kind of furniture too requires being dusted and wiped with soapy warm water. However, this is not the only way to keep glass furniture safe.

Rwendeire urges homeowners to keep glass furniture away from little children. “Children can be too destructive if you do not keep a keen eye on them,” he says. He however says that most of the time it is not advisable to have this kind of furniture when one has young children. To avoid more accidents and breakage Rwendeire advises against placing and dragging heavy objects on the surface of the glass furniture.

“There is always a limit to how much weight glass can take. It is better to be careful and not place anything heavy on your glass furniture. Even if the object is light, make sure it does not have a pointed base or a rough on as it can break or scratch the surface of your glass table,” he adds.

Metal furniture
Metal furniture is one of the most durable materials that can be used for furniture but it is also the easiest to get damaged. Exposure to elements such as moisture can easily cause rust and destruction.

Therefore, the best way to keep your metallic furniture in tip top shape is to keep it from this kind of exposure. “Have your furniture painted or oiled to protect it from rust,” Micheal Mukisa advises. Give your furniture a thorough cleaning at least twice a year. Choose a clear sunny day to wash the furniture with a mixture of warm water and liquid detergent.

Apply the solution with a sponge and with an old toothbrush scrub any hard-to-reach areas. Use a hose to rinse away all traces of the detergent, then dry the metal with a rag and leave it to dry in the sun.

“In case you find rust, thoroughly clean the area except work fine-grit sandpaper into the procedure. Lightly sand the rust away, and then wipe off all residual grit before touching up the surface. Use metal primer first, once it has dried completely follow up with a paint that is specially formulated for metal,” Mukisa advises.

Leather furniture
Leather is a highly resilient natural product that is durable and develops a layer over time that increasingly enhances its appeal.

To get the most out of your leather furniture, protect it from direct sunlight, as this will otherwise accelerate the natural ongoing discolouration process.

Dust should be removed by wiping with a slightly damp cloth, using a mild soap if there is any indication of grease, followed by buffing with a soft, dry cloth. Protect your furniture from sweat and oils; clean regularly where hands, arms or heads rest on the leather.

Do no rub to remove spillages as this will cause staining. Instead use absorbent paper towels and then dab the area lightly with clean towels to remove spilled liquids.

Wicker furniture
This may not be very different from wooden furniture. The only difference between wooden furniture and African furniture is that African furniture has a unique African design and may be made from bamboo or rattan.

African furniture can be maintained easily by ensuring that is dusted and wiped. This keeps it shining and in good condition. That aside, this kind of furniture, just like wooden, is most likely to be in a good condition if sprayed with pesticides. This prevents it from getting damaged by pests like cockroaches or even termites.

The placing of this furniture is also a crucial aspect to put into consideration if this kind of furniture is to be in a good condition. Some places in house for instance near the window exposes the furniture to scorching sun which in the long run could lead it into cracking.

How to choose the right furniture polish

With so many choices of furniture polish available on the market today how do you know which one is right for you? There are several factors to weigh up when you are deciding which furniture polish or beeswax to use on your furniture and other wooden objects.

One critical factor is that the ingredients in commercial polishes and cleaning products are rarely disclosed. Moreover, these ingredients can be, and frequently are, changed without warning or notification.

These ingredients may be harmless or harmful to the furniture (and to you) and you have no way of knowing in advance.