Furniture Care & Cleaning Guide

Whether you have kids, pets or are prone to spills, knowing how to clean your furniture is essential. Cleaning your couch or table with the wrong solution can damage it permanently, so we're here to tell you the correct way to clean different fabrics and surfaces so you have your furniture for years to come.

Contemporary fabric upholstery living room collection with block arms

General Furniture Care Guidelines

Be careful with harsh cleaners. Something you use to clean the bathroom or your kitchen with a lot of chemicals will be too harsh on your furniture and could damage it. You will mostly use gentle cleaners for your furniture. Leave those cleaners for the bathroom and kitchen.

Test your cleaner first. If you need to clean your furniture, don't rush to throw any cleaner on it or pour it all on the stain in a noticeable area. It's important to test the cleaner on a small area that isn't noticeable to see how the cleaner reacts with the fabric or surface.

Keep your furniture out of the sun. While we crave that warm sunshine, it could damage your furniture over time. Try to position your furniture out of direct sunlight. The UV rays from the sun will cause your furniture to fade and become damaged.

Flip your cushions. Over time, cushions can start to sag, have that comfortable dip in them and may have some wear and tear on them. Occasionally flip your cushions or move your furniture around to distribute wear.

Contemporary leather living room collection with block arms

How to Clean and Care for Leather Furniture

Fine leather is soft and luxurious making it an ideal choice for furniture. Because each piece of genuine leather is unique, each one will have individual surface marks, cuts, scars, and other variances indicating that the leather is real top-grain. Some areas will develop a patina or shine with age. With the right care, leather improves with age, providing many years of enjoyable use. To maintain the rich, natural look of your leather furniture we recommend the following:

  • Routinely dust or vacuum with a soft brush attachment.
  • Blot liquid spills with a clean dry cloth immediately.
  • Food spills should be removed with a damp cloth or sponge immediately.
  • Keep at a minimum of 12" away from direct heat sources. Keep out of any direct sunlight.
  • Avoid using or placing sharp objects on leather goods. Leather is very durable, but not accident or damage-proof.
  • Pre-test all care products in a hidden area to make sure they are compatible with the leather. Never use saddle soaps, oils, all-purpose cleaners or solvents. Use of these products could damage the finish.

Contemporary grey fabric sectional

How to Clean and Care for Fabric Furniture

Over time, quality cushioning conforms to your particular shape and usage pattern adding a personal look to your upholstered home furnishings. Your cushions may at first feel firmer than those in our showroom. They will become more comfortable with each use.

Today's relaxed and casual looks use fabrics that sometimes appear wrinkled or lived-in. Please don't confuse normal softening and flattening that may occur with actual loss of foam resilience.

Some manufacturers will ship upholstered furniture with the skirt up. It will fall to its proper place in a short period of time.

To keep your upholstery pieces looking their best...

  • "Fluff" pillows and loose cushions with each use. Seat cushions should be flipped occasionally. (Don't forget to vacuum underneath.) To extend the life of a piece, rotate cushions whenever possible. Some "pillow top" seating may develop comfort wrinkles which are natural and actually add to the overall casual comfort of the piece.
  • Vacuum all upholstery once a week with a brush attachment.
  • Pilling is normal for all fabrics when they shed their excess fiber. Using a fabric shaver will remove unwanted pills.
  • Direct sunlight, heat and moisture should be kept away from upholstery as fading and discoloration may occur.
  • Never sit on a recliner's footrest, the end of an open sleeper, or the arms of furniture.
  • Keep pets off furniture. Pet urine and pet body oil can be difficult to remove.
  • Arm rests are not designed to be used to assist in getting off of your furniture.
  • When moving your furniture, always lift it. Please do not drag or push your furniture. This could damage your furniture or your floor.
  • Professionally clean your furniture once a year.

Stain Removal in Fabric

As a general rule, when a spill occurs, it is important to clean the fabric immediately. The longer a spot remains, the harder it is to remove; it may even become permanent.

Before you try to remove a stain or soil from your upholstery, you should determine the type of fabric involved. Some manufacturers make this easy for you by placing cleaning codes on furniture. (You’ll find the code either on the furniture hang tag or on the manufacturer’s label.) These codes indicate the type of fabric involved – cotton, wool, polyester, etc. and suggest the best methods of cleaning and spot removal.

Upholstery Cleaning Code Guide:

  • WS: Clean with water-based cleaning agents and foams, as well as with mild, water-free dry cleaning solvents. If you purchased the Gardner-White Protection Plan, use the cleaning agent provided in the box at the time of delivery.
  • W: Use water-based cleaning agents or foams only.
  • S: Use only mild, water-free dry cleaning solvents.
  • X: Vacuum or brush lightly to remove soil.

Couple putting out wine, fruit, and snacks for a dinner party over their wood, counter-height dining set with walnut veneer

How to Clean and Care for Wood Furniture

Wood breathes, expands and contracts. Each piece of furniture is one-of-a-kind and will respond to changes in humidity levels in your home. Any expansion of joints or seams will revert to original shape and size as seasons change.

Because each piece of wood is unique, you can expect variations in grain appearance and stain coloration. Random distressing applied by hand adds a distinctive heirloom appearance to the finish of some pieces. Ask your sales consultant if your furniture has this feature.

When it comes to cleaning your wood furniture, stick with non-abrasive cleaners so that you will not damage your finish.

The following tips will help keep your wood furniture in good condition for years to come.

  • Drawer guides should be treated with paraffin or candle wax for smooth operation.
  • Leaning chairs back on two legs must be avoided at all times, not only to preserve structural integrity but for your personal safety.
  • Veneers and engineered finishes are easily taken care of by light dusting and periodically applying a quality furniture polish that is silicone-free.
  • Do not leave wet dishes, glasses or spills on your wood furniture. Immediately wipe up any spills. Water will cause permanent damage to your beautiful wood furniture.
  • Do not leave newspapers or magazines on wood because the inks can bleed onto the finish and then into the wood.
  • Avoid placing furniture in direct sunlight, as the UV rays in sunlight causes fading.
  • Use pads, cloth or felt to protect furniture surface from plastic, rubber, hot dishes, beverages, bookends, flowerpots and vases.
  • A home humidifier for winter use is highly recommended for wood furniture.

Cleaning Solid Wood Furniture

While you might want to reach for the good smelling spray polishes, after a while it can build-up and leave a residue. If you're looking to dust and clean your solid wood pieces, start with a microfiber cloth. It will pick up any loose particles instead of pushing them around. To fully clean, dilute a few drops of white vinegar in water and dip your microfiber cloth in the liquid. Do not soak the wood surface.

Cleaning Wood Veneer

Veneers are delicate so you'll want to avoid harsh and abrasive cleaners. Start with simple soap and water. Do not let spills sit on the surface. Moisture can affect the glue holding the veneer down which will result in your veneer peeling.

A collection of marble side tables

How to Clean and Care for Marble Furniture

Marble and marble veneers are natural products formed thousands of years ago. Each marble piece will vary in color, texture and pattern. You may even feel inconsistencies on the surface. These indentations are not flaws, but nature's guarantee of authenticity.

Nothing comes close to the beauty, character and uniqueness of real marble. This shiny, polyurethane/polyester coated sealed marble can be maintained by following these tips:

  • To clean, wipe the stone with a solution of warm water and a small amount of mild soap.
  • Water or spills should not affect the polished marble unless it is left uncleaned.
  • Do not put a porous pot or planter on the finish for any length of time. It can release moisture, causing the finish to leave a mark or ring.
  • Use a quality polish to help keep the luster of the natural stone.

Coffee table and matching side table with glass tops and chrome bases

How to Clean and Care for Glass Table Tops

Just like with any glass surface, grab your trusty glass cleaner (like Windex) and wipe clean with a soft cloth or paper towel. You can also make your own window cleaner my mixing 1 part vinegar with 4 parts water.

Pair of beige chairs on a Mid-century style geometric patterned rug in cream, black, grey, and mustard colors

How to Clean and Maintain Rugs

With proper maintenance you can maximize your area rug investment.

To keep your rug looking great use the following tips:

  • Once each year turn rugs 180 degrees to even out sun exposure and alternate wear patterns.
  • Frequent vacuuming benefits all rugs, but please do not vacuum rug fringe, or use beater-bar attachments on hooked rugs.
  • Spot clean all spills with soda water, blotting with a white cloth. Quick reaction helps minimize the chances of a stain 'setting.' All stubborn stains should be treated by a professional rug cleaner.

Please ask you Gardner-White home furnishing consultant for more specific information on the rug you have purchased. Care may vary by material and manufacturer.

Dining room set with counterheight table and matching stools with metal bases and wooden tops

How to Clean and Care for Metal Furniture

Metal is best cleaned with a cloth or sponge using water and mild, non-detergent soap and then wiped dry. Avoid abrasive scrubbers or cleaners because they can scratch the finish and potentially expose the metal to rust-inducing moisture.

Pair of beige chairs on a Mid-century style geometric patterned rug in cream, black, grey, and mustard colors

How To Care for a Mattress

It is important to care for your new sleep surface so that it lasts for years to come. Here are suggestions to help you protect your investment.

  • Ensure proper center support is used for queen and king-sized bedding. This is required to validate your warranty. You can ensure you have the proper center support by purchasing a new bed frame or bedroom set with your bedding. This will ensure that you get the maximum benefit from your new sleep set.
  • Allow your new bedding to air out. Residual odors from the manufacturing process may be present at first. They are not harmful and will dissipate with time.
  • Use a high-quality washable mattress pad to keep your mattress clean and stain-free.
  • Expect body impressions to form in the surface padding. They are normal and indicate layers are molding to your body contours.
  • Take time to adjust to your new mattress. It often takes up to 60 days for your body to adjust to a new mattress.
  • Do not remove the law label from your mattress. This is needed to identify your appropriate warranty coverage.
  • Single-sided innerspring mattresses are designed for rest on one side only and cannot be flipped. An occasional rotation will equalize wear and extend the comfort life.

Outdoor sectional and side tables

How to Clean and Care for Outdoor Furniture

Cleaning Plastic Outdoor Furniture

When it comes to cleaning plastic outdoor furniture, no need to use a heavy-duty cleaner. Spray it with your basic all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a damp sponge or cloth and it'll look good as new! Using abrasive cleaners can scuff the surface.

Cleaning Outdoor Fabric

Outdoor fabric on seating and umbrellas are made from a variety of materials to make it durable. The safest way to clean this fabric is a mix dish soap and warm water. You should also refer back to the manufacturer's instructions for recommended cleaning instructions.

Cleaning Wicker Furniture

Wicker is a natural product, so it needs to be cared for. For general care, use a simple microfiber cloth or feather duster for dusting. For a deeper clean, use a damp microfiber cloth and warm water and gentle rub the surface. If you still have dirt and stains on your wicker furniture, mix warm water and mild soap. You can also use a 25% white vinegar and 75% water mixture, then rinse with plain water.

Do not use a stiff brush, steel wool pad or any abrasive tool to clean wicker. You can severely damage the wicker and affect the protective finish on it.

If you're unsure of what to use to clean your furniture or you're worried about damage, ask about our Furniture Protection Plan. When you purchase our protection plan, we will repair or replace your items for the life of the plan. We will also supply you with a care kit that includes an endless supply of leather and vinyl protector, wood polish, and upholstery stain remover for the length of the plan that you can use to keep your investment looking its best for years to come. Many customers tell us that they care kit alone is worth the plan's modest price.

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