Friday, February 29, 2008

Wooden Chairs: Rules of thumb for buying chairs for every room of the house

Sitting down to a family dinner is one of life's basic pleasures. But the easy mood of a convivial meal can be marred if the chairs are uncomfortable or the table wobbles so much that you're afraid you may end up wearing the soup.

The strength of a table is largely determined by the way the top attaches to the base or legs. A pedestal or column base is unlikely to give as much support as four corner legs. This does not mean that a pedestal table is unstable, but a wide table supported only by a single central pedestal may wobble slightly. Legs can supply sturdy, wobble-free support if they are attached properly. The top generally rests on an apron frame, and the legs are joined to the apron. The frame and the joins should be corner-blocked for stability.

Expandable tables come in many different forms, but whatever the mechanism for enlarging the table, it should be solid and work smoothly. Leaves should be approximately 16"-22" wide. Many tables have a storage system that holds the leaves within the table itself. This is a great space-saver, and you'll never have to remember where the leaves are stored. However, table leaves, when stored away, do not receive the same exposure to light and sun, and frequently fade at a different rate than the rest of the table.

More rules of thumb:

  • Dining chair seats should be approximately 16"-19" high.
  • Breakfast counter height is approximately 33".
  • Break fast counter stools should be about 52"-26"high.
  • Bar counter height is approximately 42".
  • Bar stools are usually 29"-30" high.
  • Coffee table height usually ranges from 15"-19". This should correspond to sofa seat height.
  • End table (lamp height) is 18"-24". Figure on one to two inches higher or lower than the sofa or chair arm.
  • Console table height is approximately 26"-35". Figure between 1" and 6" below your sofa back.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Homemade Furniture Cleaners Recepies

Safer Alternatives: Reducing The Risk
One of the best means of avoiding exposure to house- hold hazardous materials is to use safer alternatives whenever possible. Included in this section are time- honored recipes and suggestions to help you make the switch toward safer household products. Ingredients followed by instructions will guide you through an array of easy-to-make, easy-to-use safer alternatives. Some ingredients recommended as alternatives are safer, but not nontoxic. These ingredients have been marked with an asterisk(*) to assist you in identifying their presence.

Making your own simple and effective products is fun and economical. We think you will be happily surprised with the results.

Air Fresheners

Most commercial air fresheners do not freshen the air at all. Instead, they mask one odor with another, coat your nasal passages with an undetectable oil film, or diminish your sense of smell with a nerve-deadening agent. For a safer alternative, you may wish to try one of the following.

Ventilation. Open windows or doors in the house for at least a short period every day. This will also help to reduce toxic fumes that may be building up indoors.

Vinegar. Distribute partially filled saucers of vinegar around the room or boil 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors.

Cinnamon and Cloves. Boil these spices for a fragrant smell. For ease of cleaning, make a cheesecloth bag to contain these spices, and boil the cheesecloth bag. An excellent alternative when entertaining is to steep spiced tea or cider.

Potpourri. Buy or make your own potpourri from your favorite herbs and spices. Place the potpourri in a small basket or jar or in small sachet bags.

Kitchen And Food Odors

Vanilla*. Place pure vanilla on a cotton ball in a small saucer. Place the saucer in the car or refrigerator to remove odors. It is reported to remove even skunk odors. Keep the cottonball out of reach of children; vanilla has a high alcohol content.

Baking Soda. Place a partially filled saucer of baking soda on the refrigerator shelf. Replace every two months and when you do, pour the contents of the used box down the drain to remove odors and keep the drain clean. Baking soda can also be used to deodorize bottles by filling them with undiluted baking soda and allowing the bottles to soak overnight. Then wash as usual.

Borax*. Empty the garbage frequently and clean the can as needed. To inhibit growth of odor-producing molds and bacteria, sprinkle 1/2 cup Borax in the bottom of the garbage can.

Vinegar or Celery Stalk. To avoid or remove onion odors from your hands, rub white vinegar on your hands before and after slicing. Rubbing hands with the end of a celery stalk will also remove the odor.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Vinegar and Salt. Mix together for a good surface cleaner.

Baking Soda. Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water for a general cleaner. Or use baking soda on a damp sponge. Baking soda will clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Carpet And Rug Cleaner (See also Spot removers)

IF YOU PLAN TO SHAMPOO YOUR CARPET, FIRST TRY A PRE- CLEANING TREATMENT. Sweep the carpet, which will make the nap stand up and loosen the imbedded din. Next vacuum. With this work alone, the rug should show a noticeable improvement, so much in fact that you may decide to delay the shampooing.

To neutralize odors: Borax* and cornmeal. Sprinkle the carpet with a mixture of 1 cup Borax and 2 cups cornmeal. Let this mixture stand for an hour before vacuuming.

Another alternative is Baking Soda. Making certain that the carpet is dry, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the entire carpet. Wait at least 15 minutes, or overnight if the odor is particularly bad, before vacuuming.

Decal Remover

Vinegar. To remove no-slip decals from the bathtub, saturate a cloth or sponge and squeeze hot vinegar over decals. Vinegar also removes stick-on hooks from painted walls. Saturate a cloth or sponge with vinegar and squeeze the liquid behind the hook so that the vinegar comes in contact with the adhesive. In addition, vinegar can be used to remove price tags and other decals from glass, wood, and china. Paint the label or decal with several coats of white vinegar. Give the vinegar time to soak in and after several minutes the decal can be rubbed off.


Soap. Regular cleaning with plain soap and hot water will kill some bacteria. Keep things dry. Mold, mildew, and bacteria cannot live without moisture.

Borax has long been recognized for its disinfectant and deodorizing properties. Mix 1/2 cup Borax into 1 gallon hot water and clean with this solution.

Isopropyl Alcohol*. This is an excellent disinfectant. Sponge and allow to dry. (It must dry to do its job.) Use in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves.

Drain Cleaners and Drain Openers

Prevention. To avoid clogging drains, use a drain strainer to trap food particles and hair; collect grease in cans rather than pouring it down the drain; pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain weekly to melt fat that may be building up in the drain; or weekly put some vinegar and baking soda down your drain to break down fat and keep your drain smelling fresh.

Plunger. A time-honored drain opener is the plunger. This inexpensive tool will usually break up the clog and allow it to float away. It may take more than a few plunges to unclog the drain. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD AFTER ANY COMMERCIAL DRAIN OPENER HAS BEEN USED OR IS STILL PRESENT IN THE STANDING WATER.

Baking Soda and Vinegar. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain if possible. Let set for a few minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it. The combination of baking soda and vinegar can break down fatty acids into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD AFTER ANY COMMERCIAL DRAIN OPENER HAS BEEN USED OR IS STILL PRESENT IN THE STANDING WATER.

Salt and Baking Soda. Pour 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Follow with 6 cups boiling water. Let sit overnight and then flush with water. The hot water should help dissolve the clog and the baking soda and salt serve as an abrasive to break through the clog.

Mechanical Snake (and Garden Hose). A flexible metal snake can be purchased or rented. It is threaded down the clogged drain and manually pushes the clog away. If used in conjunction with a running garden hose, it can even clear a blockage in the main drain to the street. First crank the snake and feed it into the pipe. Next withdraw the snake and flush the pipe by inserting a garden hose with the water turned on full. With some luck, it may save you the expense of a plumber.

Floor Cleaners and Floor Polishes

Vinegar. A few drops in the cleaning water will help remove grease panicles. Dull, greasy film on no-wax linoleum can be washed away with 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed into 1/2 gallon water. Your floor will look sparkling clean.

For Linoleum: Mild Detergent. Damp mop using a mild detergent and water for day to day cleaning. Keep water away from seams and edges to prevent loosening of the tiles. To preserve the linoleum floor you may wish to add a capful of baby oil to the mop water.

For Wood Floors: Vegetable Oil and Vinegar. Mix a 1 to 1 ratio of oil and vinegar into a solution and apply a thin coat. Rub in well.

For Painted Wooden Floors: Washing Soda*. Mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon hot water and wash the floor with a mop, sponge, or soft bristled brush. This solution can also be used to remove mildew.

For Rubber Tiles: Mild Detergent. Avoid oils, solvents, and strong alkalis as they will harm the surface. Wash with clear water, a mild detergent, and a clean mop.

For Brick and Stone Floors: Vinegar. Mix 1 cup white vinegar into 1 gallon water. Scrub the floor with a brush and the vinegar solution. Rinse with clean water.

For Ceramic Tile: Vinegar. Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar (more if very dirty) into 1 gallon water. This solution removes most dirt without scrubbing and doesn't leave a film. Washing ceramic tiles with soap does not work very well in hard water areas as it leaves an insoluble film.

Club Soda. Polishing your floor with Club Soda will make it sparkle.

Oil Soap. Use according to package directions.

Wax Remover

For Vinyl and Asbestos Tiles: Club Soda. Remove wax buildup by pouring a small amount of club soda on a section. Scrub this in well. Let it soak in a few minutes and wipe clean.

For Linoleum Flooring: Isopropyl Alcohol*. To remove old wax by mopping, mix a solution of 3 pans water to 1 pan rubbing alcohol. Scrub this in well and rinse thoroughly. Be sure the area is well-ventilated and wear gloves.

Special Problems

To remove black heel marks: Baking Soda. Rub the heel mark with a paste of baking soda and water. Don't use too much water or the baking soda will lose its abrasive quality.

To remove tar: Scrape up excess tar with the side of a dull knife. Rub again with your fingernail, a popsicle stick, or anything that won't scratch the floor. Finally, wipe up the tar with a dry cloth.

To remove crayon marks: Toothpaste. Crayon marks on the floor may be removed by rubbing them with a damp cloth containing toothpaste. Toothpaste will not work well on wallpaper or porous surfaces.

To remove grease from wood floors: Ice Cube or Cold Water. If you spill grease on a wood floor, immediately place an icecube or very cold water on the spot. The grease will harden and can then be scraped off with a knife. Then iron a piece of cloth over the grease spot.

Furniture Polish

The idea behind furniture polish for wood products is to absorb oil into the wood. Many oils commonly found in our kitchens work very well.

Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. Mix 2 parts oil and 1 part lemon juice. Apply and polish with a soft cloth. This leaves furniture looking and smelling good.

For Unfinished Wood: Mineral Oil*. Mineral oil is flammable. Apply sparingly with a soft cloth. For lemon oil polish, dissolve 1 teaspoon lemon oil into 1 pint mineral oil. CAUTION: Mineral spirits should never be substituted for mineral oil as it can be dangerous when inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

For Mahogany: Vinegar. Mix equal pans white vinegar and warm water. Wipe onto wood and then polish with a chamois cloth.

Special Problems

For Grease Spots: Salt. Immediately pour salt on the grease spot to absorb grease and prevent staining.

For Scratches: Lemon Juice and Vegetable Oil. Mix equal pans of lemon juice and salad oil. Rub into scratches with a soft cloth until scratches disappear.

For Water Spots: Toothpaste. To remove water marks, rub gently with toothpaste on a damp cloth.

For Washing Wood: Mild Soap. Dampen cloth with a solution of water and mild soap, such as Ivory or Murphy's Oil Soap. Wring the cloth almost dry and wipe the furniture section by section, drying with a clean dry cloth as you go so that no section stays wet.

For Refinishing Old Furniture: Commercial Oil Soap. Before you set to work on an old piece of furniture with chemical finish removers, try Vegetable Oil Soap. This simple, nontoxic solvent may be all the help an antique needs. Follow label directions.

Hair Products

For Hair Gel: Gelatin. Dissolve 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in 1 cup warm water. Keep refrigerated and use as you would a purchased gel.

For Hair Spray: Citrus. Chop 1 lemon (or orange for dry hair). Place in a pot and cover with 2 cups of hot water. Boil until only half remains. Cool and strain. Add more water if needed. Refrigerate in a spray bottle.

Laundry Products

White Vinegar. Eliminate soap residue by adding 1 cup of white vinegar to the washer's final rinse. Vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics but strong enough to dissolve alkalies in soaps and detergents. Vinegar also breaks down uric acid, so adding 1 cup vinegar to the rinse water is especially good for babies' clothes. To get wool and cotton blankets soft and fluffy as new, add 2 cups white vinegar to a full tub of rinsewater. DO NOT USE VINEGAR IF YOU ADD CHLORINE BLEACH TO YOUR RINSEWATER. IT WILL PRODUCE HARMFUL VAPORS.

Baking Soda. 1/4 to 1/2 cup baking soda per wash load makes clothes feel soft and smell fresh.

Dry Bleach*. Dry bleaches containing sodium perborate are of low toxicity (unless in strong solution, then they can be irritating to the skin). Use according to package directions.

Baking Soda. You can cut the amount of chlorine bleach used in your wash by half when you add 1/2 cup baking soda to top loading machines or 1/4 cup to front loaders.

Vinegar. To remove smoky odor from clothes, fill your bathtub with hot water. Add 1 cup white vinegar. Hang garments above the steaming bath water.

Cornstarch. For homemade laundry starch, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 pint cold water. Place in a spray bottle. Shake before using. Clearly label the contents of the spray bottle.

Lime And Mineral Deposit Remover

Vinegar and Paper Towels. Hard lime deposits around faucets can be softened for easy removal by covering the deposits with vinegar-soaked paper towels. Leave the paper towels on for about one hour before cleaning. Leaves chrome clean and shiny.

For Plastic and Metal Showerheads: Vinegar. To remove deposits which may be clogging your metal showerhead, combine 1/2 cup white vinegar and one quart water. Then completely submerge the showerhead and boil 15 minutes. If you have a plastic showerhead, combine 1 pint white vinegar and 1 pint hot water. Then completely submerge the showerhead and soak for about one hour.

Metal Cleaners and Metal Polishes


Cream of Tartar. To remove stains and discoloration from aluminum cookware, fill cookware with hot water and add 2 tablespoons cream of tartar to each quart of water. Bring solution to a boil and simmer ten minutes. Wash as usual and dry.

Vinegar. To clean an aluminum coffeepot and remove lime deposits, boil equal pans of water and white vinegar. Boiling time depends upon how heavy deposits are.


Olive Oil. Brass will look brighter and require less polishing if rubbed with a cloth moistened with olive oil after each polishing. Olive oil retards tarnish.

Salt, Vinegar, and Flour. Dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste.

Lemon and Salt or Baking Soda. Make a paste of lemon juice and salt and rub with a soft cloth, rinse with water, and dry. Or use a slice of lemon sprinkled with baking soda. Rub brass with the lemon slice, rinse with water, and dry.

Vinegar and Salt. Pour vinegar over the surface. Sprinkle salt over the acid and rub in the mixture. Rinse with warm water and polish dry.

Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar. Make a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply, leave on for 5 minutes and then wash in warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.


Salt, Vinegar, and Flour. Dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste. Apply paste to bronze and let sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse with clean, warm water, and polish dry.


Vinegar. To clean chrome, wipe with a soft cloth dipped in undiluted white or cider vinegar.

Baby Oil. Apply baby oil with a soft cloth and polish to remove stains from chrome trim on faucets, kitchen appliances, vehicles, etc.


Vinegar and Salt. If copper is tarnished, boil article in a pot of water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar for several hours. Wash with soap in hot water. Rinse and dry.

Salt, Vinegar, and Flour. Dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste. Apply the paste to copper and let sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse with clean warm water, and polish dry.

Lemon and Salt or Baking Soda. Make a paste of lemon juice and salt, and rub with a soft cloth, rinse with water, and dry. Or use a slice of lemon sprinkled with baking soda. Rub copper with the lemon slice and rinse with water and dry.

Vinegar and Salt. Pour vinegar over the surface Sprinkle salt over the acid and rub in the mixture. Rinse with warm water and polish dry.

Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar. Make a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply, leave on for 5 minutes, and then wash in warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.


Soapy Water. Wash in lukewarm soapy water and dry with a cotton cloth. Polish with a chamois cloth.

Toothpaste. Clean with toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.


Salt, Vinegar, and Flour. Dissolve 1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup white vinegar. Add enough flour to make a paste. Apply paste to pewter and let sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse with clean warm water, and polish dry.


Polishing silver while wearing rubber gloves promotes tarnish. Instead, choose plastic or cotton gloves.

Baking Soda. Apply a paste of baking soda and water. Rub, rinse, and polish dry with a soft cloth. To remove tarnish from silverware, sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth and rub it on the silverware until tarnish is gone. Rinse and dry well.

Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, and Salt. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a pan, add 2-3 inches of water, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Add silver pieces, boil 2-3 minutes, making sure the water covers the silver pieces. Remove silver, rinse, dry, and buff with a soft cloth. This method cleans the design and crevices of silver pieces.

Toothpaste. To clean off tarnish, coat the silver with toothpaste, then run it under warm water, work it into a foam, and rinse it off. For stubborn stains or intricate grooves, use an old soft-bristled toothbrush.

Stainless Steel

Olive Oil. Rub stainless steel sinks with olive oil to remove streaks.

Vinegar. To clean and polish stainless steel, simply moisten a cloth with undiluted white or cider vinegar and wipe clean. Can also be used to remove heat stains on stainless steel cutlery.

Club Soda. Remove streaks or heat stains from stainless steel by rubbing with club soda.

Oven Cleaner

Prevention. Put a sheet of aluminum foil on the floor of the oven, underneath but not touching the heating element. Although this may slightly affect the browning of the food, the foil can be easily disposed of when soiled. Clean up the spill as soon as it occurs.

Salt. While the oven is still warm, sprinkle salt on the spill. If the spill is completely dry, wet the spill lightly before sprinkling on salt. When the oven cools down, scrape away the spill and wash the area clean.

Vinegar. Retard grease buildup in your oven by dampening your cleaning rag in vinegar and water before wiping out your oven.

Baking Soda and Very Fine Steel Wool. Sprinkle water followed by a layer of baking soda. Rub gently with a very fine steel wool pad for tough spots. Wipe off scum with dry paper towels or a sponge. Rinse well and wipe dry.

Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner. Consumers Union chemists declared this product nontoxic. Use according to label directions.

Paint Brush Renewer

Vinegar. Soften hard paintbrushes in hot vinegar for a few minutes. Then wash paintbrush in soap and warm water and set out to dry.

Pest Control

Helpful predators around the home include frogs, spiders, ladybugs, praying mantis, and dragonflies. Keeping these beneficial creatures around can help you reduce pest populations.


Vinegar. Wash countertops, cabinets, and floor with equal pans vinegar and water to deter ant infestations.

Flour and Borax*. Mix 1 cup flour and 2 cups borax in a quart jar. Punch holes in the jar lid. Sprinkle the contents around the house foundation. Keep borax out of the reach of children and pets.

Bonemeal or powdered charcoal or lemon. Set up barriers where ants are entering. They will generally not cross lines of bonemeal or powdered charcoal. If you can find a hole where ants are entering the house, squeeze the juice of a lemon in the hole or crack. Then slice up the lemon and put the peeling all around the entrance.

Pennyroyal*, Spearmint, Southernwood, and Tansy. Growing these plants around the border of your home will deter ants and the aphids they carry.


Vacuum. Vacuum, remove the vacuum bag, seal it, and dispose of it immediately outside your home.

Vinegar. A ratio of 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1 quart water (per 40 pounds of pet weight) in their drinking water helps to keep your pets free of fleas and ticks.

Fennel, Rosemary, Red Cedar Shavings*, Sassafras*, Eucalyptus*, or Pennyroyal*. Spread leaves or shavings of these plants under and around the pet's bed.


Prevention: Keep kitchen garbage tightly closed. Sprinkle dry soap or borax into garbage cans after they've been washed and allowed to dry; it acts as a repellent.

Orange. Scratch the skin of an orange and leave it out; the citrus acts as a repellent.

Cloves. Hang clusters of cloves to repel flies.

Mint or Basil. Mint planted around the home repels flies. A pot of basil set on the windowsill or table helps to repel fleas. Keep basil well-watered from the bottom so that it produces a stronger scent. Dried ground leaves left in small bowls or hung in muslin bags are also effective.

Sugar and Corn Syrup. Make your own fly paper by boiling sugar, corn syrup, and water together. Place mixture onto brown paper and hang or set out.


There are many strategies for controlling garden pests without unduly upsetting the local ecology of your garden. These strategies include cultural controls (nutrition, resistant varieties, interplanting, timed planting, crop rotation, mulch, trap crops, and cultivation), mechanical controls (handpicking, physical barriers, traps), biological controls (predatory and parasitic insects, microbes), and sprays and dusts. Because information is too varied to make suggestions in this limited space, we refer you to your library, colleges, and Extension Office for details on integrated and natural pest control. Extension offices can be found under local government in the phone book.


Mashed potato powder or buds. Place instant mashed potato powder or buds in strategic places with a dish of water close by. After eating the powder or buds mice will need water. This causes fatal bloating.

Mouse Traps. Use according to label directions.


Castor Oil* and Liquid Detergent. Whip together 1 tablespoon castor oil and 2 tablespoons liquid detergent in a blender until the mixture is like shaving cream. Add 6 tablespoons water and whip again. Keep this mixture out of the reach of your children and pets. Take a garden sprinkling can and fill with warm water. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil mixture and stir. Sprinkle immediately over the areas of greatest mole infestation. For best results, apply after a rain or thorough watering. If moles are drawn to your lawn because of the grubs feeding in the soil, you may be able to rid yourself of both pests by spreading milky spore disease to kill the grubs.


Prevention. Encourage natural predators such as dragonflies or praying mantises. Eliminate pools of stagnant water. Avoid wearing perfume, bright colors, flowery prints, and bright jewelry as these items attract mosquitoes.

Citronella. Burn citronella candles to repel insects.

Tansy or Basil. Plant tansy or basil around the patio and house to repel mosquitoes.


If you can see moths, these aren't the ones to worry about. Moths that cause damage to clothes are too small to notice. It is the larvae of these moths that eat fabric. Prevention. Store items in a clean condition; moth larvae especially like areas soiled with food stains.

Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Cloves, and Ginseng (optional). Chicago area weavers and spinners use 1/2 pound rosemary, 1/2 pound mint, 1/4 pound thyme, 1/4 pound ginseng (optional), and 2 tablespoons cloves. Mix and put in cheesecloth bags and place in closets or drawers.

Dried Lavender or Rosemary and Mint. Make sachets of dried lavender or equal portions of rosemary and mint. Place in closets, drawers, or closed containers to mothproof garments.

Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Dried Lemon Peel, and Cinnamon. Mix handfuls of first three ingredients. Add a little lemon peel and a pinch of cinnamon. Place in muslin bags.

Molasses, Vinegar, and Yellow Container. To trap moths, mix 1 pan molasses with 2 pans vinegar and place in a yellow container to attract moths. Clean regularly.

Clothes Dryer. Kill moth eggs by running garment through a warm dryer.


Prevention. Close off all gaps around pipes and electric lines where they enter the house by using cement or screening. Caulk small cracks along baseboards, walls, cupboards, and around pipes, sinks, and bathtub fixtures. Seal food tightly. Rinse food off dishes that are left overnight. Do not leave pet food out overnight.

Hedge Apples (Osage Orange). Cut hedge apples in half and place several in the basement, around in cabinets, or under the house to repel roaches.

Flour, Cocoa Powder, and Borax*. Mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 4 tablespoons borax, and 1 tablespoon cocoa. Set the mixture out in dishes. CAUTION: Borax is toxic if eaten. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Borax* and Flour. Mix 1/2 cup borax and 1/4 cup flour and fill a glass jar. Punch small holes in jar lid. Sprinkle powder along baseboards and doorsills. Caution: Borax is toxic if eaten. This recipe may not be for you if there are young children or pets in the house.

Oatmeal, Flour, and Plaster of Paris. Mix equal pans and set in dishes. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar. Mix equal pans and spread around infested area.

Slugs And Snails

Natural Predators. Gardener snakes, grass snakes, ground beetles, box turtles, salamanders, ducks, and larvae of lightning bugs all feed on snails.

Clay Pots. Place overturned clay flower pots near the shady side of a plant. Rest one edge on a small twig or make sure that the ground is irregular enough for the slugs and snails to crawl under the rim. They will collect there during the warmest pan of the day. Remove slugs and snails regularly and drop in a bucket of soapy water.

Sand, Lime, or Ashes. Snails avoid protective borders of sand, lime, or ashes.

Tin Can. Protect young plants by encircling them with a tin can with both ends removed. Push the bottom end of the can into the soil.

Porcelain Cleaner

Cream of Tartar. To clean porcelain surfaces, rub with cream of tartar sprinkled on a damp cloth. Works well on light stains.

Rust Remover

Peeled Potatoes and Baking Soda or Salt. To remove rust from tinware, rub with a peeled potato dipped in a mild abrasive such as baking soda or salt.

Aluminum Foil. Briskly scrub rust spots on car bumpers with a piece of crumpled aluminum foil, shiny side up. Also works well on the chrome shafts of golf clubs.

Scouring Powder

The amount of chlorine in scouring powder is not significant enough to cause harm, but if you want to totally avoid chlorine or are sensitive to it follow these recipes.

Non-Chlorine Scouring Powder. Several commercially available products.

Baking Soda or Dry Table Salt. Both of these substances are mild abrasives and can be used as an alternative to chlorine scouring powders. Simply put either baking soda or salt on a sponge or the surface you wish to clean and then scour and nose.

Shoe Polish

Cold Pressed Nut Oil, Olive Oil, Walnut Oil, or Beeswax. Apply oil to leather product and buff with a chamois loth to a shine.

Lemon Juice. Lemon juice is good polish for black or tan leather shoes. Follow by buffing with a soft cloth.

Vinegar. Remove water stains on leather by rubbing with a cloth dipped in a vinegar and water solution.

Petroleum Jelly. A dab of petroleum jelly rubbed into patent leather gives a glistening shine and prevents cracking in the winter.

Vinegar. To shine patent leather, moisten a soft cloth with white vinegar and wipe clean all patent leather articles. The color of the leather may be slightly changed.

Art-Gum Eraser and Sandpaper or Emery Board. Dirt marks on suede can be rubbed out with an art-gum eraser. Then buff lightly with sandpaper or an emery board.

Spot Removers

To remove grease from concrete flooring: Dry Cement. Sprinkle dry cement over grease. Allow it to absorb the grease, then sweep up.


General tips on stain removal: Clean up spills as fast as you can. Blot or scrape up as much of the spill as possible, blotting from the outside toward the center. Test the stain remover on an area under the sofa and wait 15 minutes to see if it damages the carpet color. After you clean the carpet, blot it dry and weigh down a small cushion of paper towels with a heavy object to soak up all the moisture. Don't panic!

General stains:

Borax*. Use according to label directions. Borax can be toxic if ingested.

Blood stains:

Cold water or Club Soda. Sponge stain immediately with cold water or club soda and dry with a towel. Repeat as necessary.

Ink stains:

Cream of Tartar and Lemon Juice. Place cream of tartar on the ink stain and squeeze a few drops of ice on top. Rub into the stain for a minute, brush off the powder with a clean brush and sponge immediately with warm water, being careful not to saturate the carpet backing. Repeat if necessary.

Isopropyl Alcohol* Be sure to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. Blot rubbing alcohol onto stain.

Non-oily stains:

Vinegar and Liquid Soap. Mix together 1 teaspoon of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon liquid detergent, and 1 pint lukewarm water. Apply this mixture to the non-oily stain with a soft brush or towel. Rub gently. Rinse with a towel dampened in clean water. Blot dry. Repeat this process until the stain is removed. Dry the carpet quickly using a fan or blow dryer. There is a chance that vinegar may bleach some dark, sensitive colors, so try it on an inconspicuous area first.

Soot stains:

Salt. Sprinkle the area generously with salt. Allow the salt to settle for at least 15 minutes before vacuuming.

Stains and odors:

Vinegar and Liquid Soap. Vinegar will kill the odor of urine and prevent staining if you can get to the spot right away. First absorb as much moisture as you can with dry papertowels. Next rinse the area with warm water and apply vinegar and soap solution into the stain using a clean cloth or paper towel and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse with a towel dampened in clean water and blot dry. There is a chance that vinegar may bleach some dark, sensitive colors, so try it on an inconspicuous area first.


De-yellow silk or wool:

Vinegar. Mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar in 1 pint of water. Sponge with this solution and rinse. Wash as usual.


Club Soda. Soak stain with club soda before washing.


White Vinegar. Apply undiluted vinegar directly to the stain within 24 hours. Wash as usual.

Perspiration stain:

White Vinegar or Lemon Juice. Sponge stains with a weak solution of white vinegar or lemon juice.

Grease on suede:

Vinegar. Sponge spot with a cloth dipped in vinegar. Dry and restore nap by brushing with a suede brush.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

IF YOU DO USE BLEACH TO CLEAN YOUR TOILET BOWL, NEVER MIX BLEACH WITH VINEGAR, TOILET BOWL CLEANER, OR AMMONIA. The combination of bleach with any of these substances produces a toxic gas which can be hazardous.

Baking Soda and Vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. This combination both cleans and deodorizes.

Borax* and Lemon Juice. For removing a stubborn stain, like toilet bowl ring, mix enough borax and lemon juice into a paste which can cover the entire ring. Flush toilet to wet the sides, then rub on paste. Let sit for 2 hours and scrub thoroughly. For less stubborn toilet bowl rings, sprinkle baking soda around the rim and scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub And Tile Cleaner

Baking Soda. Sprinkle baking soda like you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly.

Vinegar and Baking Soda. To remove film buildup on bathtubs, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe with vinegar first. Next, use baking soda as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Vinegar. Vinegar removes most dirt without scrubbing and doesn't leave a film. Use 1/4 cup (or more) vinegar to 1 gallon water.

Baking Soda. To clean grout, put 3 cups baking soda into a medium-sized bowl and add 1 cup warm water. Mix into a smooth paste and scrub into grout with a sponge or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and dispose of leftover paste when finished.

Window And Glass Cleaner

A few tips on window washing: (1) never wash windows while the sun is shining on them because they dry too quickly and leave streaks; (2) when polishing windows use up and down strokes on one side of the window and side to side strokes on the other to tell which side requires extra polishing; and (3) to polish windows or mirrors to a sparkling shine, try a natural linen towel or other soft cloth, a clean, damp chamois cloth, a squeegee, or crumpled newspaper. One word of warning about newspaper: while newspaper does leave glass lint-free with a dirt- resistant film, persons with sensitivities to fumes from newsprint may wish to avoid the use of newspaper as a cleaning tool.

Vinegar. Wash windows or glass with a mixture of equal pans of white vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth. Leaves windows and glass streakless. To remove those stubborn hardwater sprinkler spots and streaks, use undiluted vinegar.

Borax* or Washing Soda*. Two tablespoons of borax or washing soda mixed into 3 cups water makes a good window cleaner. Apply to surface and wipe dry.

Lemon Juice. Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice in 1 quart water. Apply to surface and wipe dry.

Baking Soda. To clean cut glass, sprinkle baking soda on a damp rag and clean glass. Rinse with clean water and polish with a soft cloth.

Scratches, Stains, And Discoloration In Windows And Glass

Toothpaste. Rub a little toothpaste into the scratch. Polish with a soft cloth.

Dry Mustard* and Vinegar. Mix 1 pan dry mustard and 1 pan white vinegar into a paste. Apply paste to the scratch. Polish with a soft cloth. AVOID EYE CONTACT; DRY MUSTARD CAN BE DAMAGING TO THE CORNEA.

Windshield Wiper Fluid

Vinegar. When you have to leave your car outside overnight in the winter, mix 3 pans vinegar to 1 pan water and coat the windows with this solution. This vinegar and water combination will keep windshields ice and frost-free.

This information comes from the Guide to Hazardous Products Around the Home, part of the HouseHold Hazardous Waste Project in Missouri.

Modern Shellac Finish

Care: Much old furniture may have a shellac finish, probably refinished at home. Keep moisture away from it; water or a damp environment, as in humidity, makes shellac sticky. Test in an inconspicuous spot with denatured alcohol; shellac will dissolve quickly.
Regular Cleaning: Vacuum and/or dust with a soft, dry cloth; do not use oiled or treated cloth.

Special Cleaning: Protect finish with a liquid furniture wax or cream polish that gives the desired gloss. If dirty, clean with either a cleaning/polishing wax for furniture. Following the directions on the label for cleaning; or use a solution of equal parts of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits. Moisten a soft cloth with cleaner and rub briskly, changing cloth when soiled. If surface is very dirty, process may have to be repeated. Use 3/0 or 4/0 steel wool to remove stubborn soil and smooth roughened places. If finish is in poor condition, use denatured alcohol to remove, and refinish with modern finish.

CAUTION: When using mineral spirits or other solvents, follow all label directions and warnings. They are flammable, so don't use near flame or spark or pilot light, and don`t smoke.

Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, and dispose of them afterward or wash with hot suds and let them air dry thoroughly before storing. Work in well- ventilated room and avoid breathing fumes. Air-dry cloths used to evaporate solvent before disposing.

Painting Metal Outdoor Furniture Refurbishing

Remove general soil and grit with detergent and water. With steel wool, or sandpaper, or wire brush, remove all loose, peeled paint and rust. Wipe surface using cloth dampened with turpentine, or vinegar.
No paint will stick to a greasy or wet surface. First coat should be a "metal primer" or "rust retardant" type paint. Second coat can be of enamel or paint suitable for place item is to be used, usually outdoor enamel. When painted surface is completely dry (a couple days) apply protective finish as if item were new.

Even small chips or scratches should be touched up immediately with primer followed by matching paint to prevent rust forming.

Upholstery Hot Water Extraction

A solution of hot water and special detergent is sprayed on the upholstery under pressure, to flush out soil. Then the vacuum action of the machine immediately extracts the dirty solution. This is sometimes called "steam" cleaning though there is no steam. This may be done professionally in the home or at a plant, or equipment may be rented, or even purchased. If done at home special detergents for this process must be used. It can get out heavy soil, and detergent residues from previous shampooing, The equipment is heavy and bulky, it is usually more expensive to do, and one has to be careful not to overwet the upholstery and padding, thus damaging it.

Upholstery Shampoos

Upholstered fabric furniture can be shampooed professionally by a dry-cleaning plant, or you may do it yourself with a commercial product or homemade detergent suds. Be careful to use only foam or suds and to avoid wetting the furniture padding. Occasionally shrinkage is a problem, especially with cotton and some rayon fabrics. Always test for shrinkage, fading or color bleeding on the back or in an area that doesn't show. See "Testing Cleanability". Also test cleaner you have not used before, before using, to be sure it does not leave a sticky residue which can hasten re-soiling. See "Testing Residue". Work quickly, doing a small area at a time. Blot the surface dry with a clean cloth or towel. The furniture may feel damp for several hours, depending on atmospheric conditions. To speed up the drying, set furniture outdoors in the shade, indoors with windows open or in front of an electric fan or heater.
Commercial shampoos in aerosol cans are easiest to use because they produce only suds and eliminate any danger of soaking the fabric. Residue and soil are usually vacuumed off after the upholstery has dried. Directions vary, so be sure to follow those on the label of the shampoo you are using. Shampoos which become powdery when dry are easily vacuumed off. If the dried shampoo is not powdery and still has a soapy feel, it may cling to the fabric and contribute to rapid resoiling. If you use this kind, do not depend on vacuuming to remove it. Instead, use a damp sponge as described under the detergent and water method.

You can make your own shampoo but it is more work. Use 1/2 teaspoon liquid handwashing detergent per quart of warm water. Make suds by squeezing a sponge in the solution.

Apply suds with the sponge or a soft brush, rubbing gently with the grain of the material. Work on a small area at a time, "rinsing" each area as you go with a clean damp sponge. Keep rinsing out the sponge to remove all shampoo. Avoid soaking the fabric. Move on to the next area, overlapping the last one to avoid spotting. Change rinse water frequently to keep it clean. Be sure all the suds are removed or it will re-soil faster.

Marble Stain Removal

Make a poultice from white absorbent material such as a napkin, blotter, paper towel or facial tissue, dampened with the chemical recommended to dissolve that stain; or mix whiting with that chemical to make a soft paste to cover the stain. The poultice should be left on the stain from 1 hour up to 48 hours, depending on the age and depth of the stain. Plastic wrap, held in place by masking tape, can be put over the poultice to keep it damp; otherwise it will have to be redampened with the chemical periodically. Mix only enough poultice for immediate use; mix a second batch if another application is needed.
Organic Stains Tea, coffee, colors bleached from paper, textiles or soft drinks. Make poultice soaked with 20% peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drop of ammonia.

Oil Stains Oil stains may include butter, hand cream or lotion. As soon as possible, spread surface with an absorbent fine powder such as whiting or even corn starch. After short time brush to remove and reapply more powder. Let stand 24 hours.

To remove: Scrub with hot, sudsy (detergent) solution and stiff brush. Or wipe with ammonia-dampened cloth. In either case, then rinse and wipe dry. If these alkaline solutions don't remove all the oil, you can try a solvent. Make a poultice dampened with acetone or amyl acetate (available at drug stores), or with home dry cleaning fluid. Use good ventilation with windows open to remove fumes, do not use near spark or flame, and do not leave on too long.

Rust Stains Usually the result of metal items such as a lamp, metal container in which plant is placed etc.

Use a commercial rust remover. Follow directions exactly and do not leave on surface very long as acid in many rust removers can etch the surface.

Acids Fruit juice, carbonated beverages or other acids will etch (remove shiny surface) if allowed to remain on marble. Wipe up acid spill immediately, and wipe surface with wet cloth. If surfaced is etched, polishing may be required.

Wood Furniture Yellow Spots on Light Wood

As bleached or blond furniture ages, the chemicals used to bleach out the natural wood color begin to lose their effect, causing a change in color. Often this change is so gradual that it is not detected until a new piece is purchased in the original shade. Exposing light furniture to direct sunlight can cause a change to occur in only a few days resulting in unattractive yellow spots. Since nothing can be done to remove these spots, it is necessary to keep furniture of this type out of the sun.

Wood Furniture White Marks

Some of the causes of white marks are liquids containing alcohol (perfume, medicine, beverages), heat and water. Your success in removing such marks depends on the amount of damage and its cause. The following treatments may be helpful in minimizing or removing such marks.
Many spots will disappear if rubbed with a solution made of equal parts of boiled linseed oil, turpentine and vinegar, or with a cleaning-polishing wax. If the mark is stubborn, rub with 3/0 or 4/0 steel wool instead of a cloth. Rub with the grain of the wood. Do not use steel wool on high gloss finishes. Turpentine is flammable so follow cautions for solvents: no flame or spark nearby, do not get on skin, do not breathe.

Rub spot lightly with a paste of powdered pumice or rottenstone and linseed oil.

Spots on all finishes except lacquer can be treated with a cloth dampened with spirits of camphor, essence of peppermint or oil of wintergreen. As these may make the surface tacky, do not rub. When dry, you may need to smooth the roughened spot by rubbing with a paste of powdered pumice or rottenstone and linseed oil.

Alcohol spots often respond to a quick exposure to ammonia. Rub lightly with a cloth dampened with non-sudsy water and a few drops of household ammonia.

Not all treatments will work on all finishes. When completed, wax/polish entire surface. If spots cannot be removed, refinishing may be necessary.

Wood Furniture Paint Stains

Never use paint remover or strong chemicals to dissolve paint. They may cause extensive damage to the finish. Wipe off water-thinned paints with wet cloth. Wipe surface immediately with dry cloth to prevent water damage to finish. Caution: water will make shellac finish sticky.

Remove fresh oil-base paint by rubbing the spot with a cloth saturated in liquid solvent-base wax.

For paint stains that have dried, cover the spot with boiled linseed oil. Let stand until softened; then remove with a cloth dampened with boiled linseed oil. If any paint remains, remove with rottenstone and oil, using the same procedure as prescribed for alcohol stains; or gently scrape off paint with stiff cardboard, a plastic bowl scraper, or a fingernail.

Wood Furniture Nail Polish

Do not apply nail polish remover to the stain; it will quickly damage finish. Instead, soften the nail polish by rubbing it with a cloth saturated in mineral spirits.
CAUTION: Dry-cleaning spot remover and mineral spirits are poisonous and flammable. Follow caution on labels. Use in well-ventilated area. Do not use near flame, spark, or pilot light. Do not smoke. Do not get on skin or clothing. If the finish is hard, apply paste wax with fine 0000 steel wool in the direction of the grain. Apply a small amount of oil to an oil finish.

Wood Furniture Grease Stains

Removing grease stains on furniture is at best a very difficult procedure. If the stain is very deep or old, it may be impossible to remove. One of the methods described below might aid in removal of less severe stains. They may also damage the finish so that refinishing is required.
Method 1: Place a blotter over the greasy spot. Press with a warm iron. Repeat until the spot is removed. Heat of iron may soften and damage the finish.

Method 2: CAUTION: Dry-cleaning spot remover and mineral spirits are poisonous and flammable. Follow caution on labels.

Use in well-ventilated area. Do not use near flame, spark, or pilot light. Do not smoke. Do not get on skin or clothing. Make a thick paste of Fullers Earth and liquid dry cleaning spot remover. Apply to the spot and allow the paste to dry. Brush away dry residue. Repeat several times if necessary. Solvent in spot remover may soften and damage finish, so test before using.

Method 3: Saturate the area with mineral spirits. CAUTION: Dry- cleaning spot remover and mineral spirits are poisonous and flammable. Follow caution on labels. Use in well- ventilated area. Do not use near flame, spark, or pilot light. Do not smoke. Do not get on skin or clothing. Place Fuller's Earth, talcum powder, sawdust or an old cloth over the spot to absorb the grease as it is drawn out by the first application. Continue until the spot is removed. The mineral spirits will remove most finishes so that refinishing is needed.

Wood Furniture Burns

Light cigarette burns which have not penetrated the finish may be removed with a thin paste of rottenstone, soda or cigarette ashes mixed with mineral oil or linseed oil. Rub lightly in the direction of the grain. Wipe with plain linseed oil. Repeat as necessary, then polish. Another remedy for minor burns or blemishes is to dip a cotton swab in paint remover and rub the damaged area gently to remove charred material. Scrape the area if needed. Use one to two drops of clear fingernail polish to fill the depressed area. Let set and repeat until you build up the area to the same level as the wood around it. If the burn is too deep to be restored by this method, consult a professional.

Wood Furniture Alcohol Stains

Alcohol stains are caused by spilled drinks and by many medicines, lotions, and perfumes. Since alcohol dissolves many finishes, it is important to react quickly. Wipe up the spill quickly and rub the spot vigorously with your palm or with a cloth dipped in a small amount of furniture polish.
For older stains use a paste of rottenstone, baking soda or cigarette ashes mixed with mineral oil, linseed oil, or lemon oil. Rub lightly in the direction of the grain. Then wipe with plain linseed oil. Rub briskly with the grain of the wood, using a clean soft cloth. Wipe frequently to compare and match gloss of the repaired area with the original finish.

Powdered pumice (from paint store) is a harsher abrasive than rottenstone. Test to be sure it will not damage finish.

Rottenstone is a very fine abrasive, found in some hardware and paint stores.

Outdoor Wood Furniture Care and Cleaning

Redwood Care Redwood naturally resists weathering and rot. However it should be coated with a sealer to keep out moisture and thus retard cracks. Colored sealers restore redness to grayed redwood. Scrub with detergent and water, rinse, and dry thoroughly before sealing; sometimes sanding is also necessary.
In winter, cover and store in a sheltered area.

Cleaning Wipe with a sudsy sponge, followed by a damp sponge.

Before storing, and when needed, scrub with detergent suds, rinse, and dry.

For grease and soot stains as from outdoor cooking, wash with solution of 1 cup trisodium phosphate in 1 gallon water, and rinse.

Reseal as needed.

Finished White Wood This is used for camp stools, directors chairs, parts of some metal frame chairs.

Care Seal completely with penetrating sealer for exterior use. May also coat with exterior varnish. If cracks develop in finish, refinish to prevent mildew from moisture getting in. Store indoors when not in use outdoors. Do not leave out in rain.

Cleaning Wipe with damp cloth and dry, when soiled, and before storing. On painted wood, can wash with mild detergent solution, rinse, and dry.

Unfinished White Wood Used for "rustic" furniture, tables, benches, etc.

Care Treat with exterior penetrating stain containing wood preservative and mildew inhibitor. Soak bottom 4 inches of legs that touch ground in wood preservative, or shield with thin aluminum covering. Cover and store in sheltered area in winter.

Cleaning Wash with detergent solution rinse and dry when soiled, and before storing.

Outdoor Furniture Cushions Care and Cleaning

Most new cushions are covered with coated or treated strong synthetic fabrics that are not damaged by summer weather and can be left outside all season. Polyacrylics that feel like cotton but are water repellent and mildew resistant, and open-weave polyesters (like tire cord fiber) coated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or vinyl are easy care.
Fillings are polyester which resists mildew and doesn't hold water. Seams should be stitched with polyester thread, and have buttons that allow water to drain out bottom.

Care Cover cushions with towel if you have on suntan lotion. The fabric, and sun lotion, when hit by sun's ultra-violet rays create a chemical reaction that stains the fabric.

If wet by a heavy rain, dry cushions faster by taking out of frames and standing up on sides.

If you have cushions filled with urethane foam, these are not completely weather proof. Neither are covers or cotton or fabrics other than those listed above. So protect such cushions from rain.

Cleaning Wash with mild detergent suds and rinse. Follow label directions for other procedures. Some manufacturers recommend a flushing with a hose to remove soil. Be sure cushions are completely dry before storing for winter. Never wrap in plastic for storage. Store in dry place.

Some manufacturers recommend "deep cleaning" cushions at the end of the summer with a solution of 1 cup liquid chlorine bleach and 1 cup powdered laundry detergent to 3 gallons warm water. Flush cushions with solution on paved driveway or patio, and let soak 30 minutes so bleach can destroy any mildew inside.

Scrub any stains with a plastic scrub brush on coated polyesters, a synthetic sponge on the acrylics. Then rinse thoroughly with cold water. Dry several days in sun until thoroughly dry all the way through before storing. Follow this process ONLY IF recommended by manufacturer of your new synthetic cushions. And NEVER put undiluted chlorine bleach on cushions; dilute in water as directed.

Sun Umbrellas Care and Cleaning

Care Close during heavy rain and high wind, but open after storm so dirt won't collect in folds. Store for winter clean and dry.
Cleaning Clean either coarse fabric (sun protector) or vinyl with mild detergent and water solution, and rinse with hose. Dry completely before storing. Dry in open position.

Vinyl umbrellas that will not come clean with detergent, may be cleaned with an auto vinyl-top cleaner. Protective vinyl finishes for auto tops or upholstery may be applied when clean. This is easier to do if umbrella is spread on a clean flat firm surface such as driveway or garage floor.

Cleaning Plastic Outdoor Furniture

Most plastics can be washed with solution of mild detergent (hand dishwashing liquid) and water, rinsed, and can be wiped dry to prevent water spots if that is a problem. Never use strong alkalis on plastic. Never use scouring powders or other abrasives as plastics scratch easily.
Some new plastic furniture is finished with lacquered resins that protect the surface against ultraviolet rays, rain, and salt spray, with a special resin for plastic tabletops that gives touch ceramic-like finish. For others, waxes or special protective finishes for plastics will give extra protection.

Polyvinyl Chloride Frames and Tops Not affected by weather, but mat finish on frames soils easily and should be cleaned when soiled. Easily scratched so do not use abrasives. Auto wax protects it.

Wash with mild detergent solutions and rinse

Polyvinyl Chloride Coated Polyester Mesh Fabric Wash during the season when soiled with mild detergent (hand dishwashing liquid) solution and brush, and rinse. Wash before storage at end of season. Fabric sheds water and dries quickly.

Nylon Webbing Seats Wash with mild detergent solution and brush and rinse when soiled, and again at end of season before storage.

Vinyl Strapping Seats Protect from tanning lotions with large towel as some can stain. Never use abrasives or strong detergents.

Clean regularly as buildup of soil, oil, lotion can lead to fungus growth. Wash with mild detergent solution and brush, and rinse, when soiled, and before storage. Some may have mildew inhibitors.

Painted Metal Outdoor Furniture Care and Cleaning

Baked-on enamel surfaces such as used on automobile exteriors are the most durable. Metal having had a metal primer applied first to a spotless, grease free surface, and dried, with a second coat of paint or enamel is next in durability. Paint or enamel applied directly to a metal surface is least durable, and more subject to bubbling, peeling and chipping than either of the above methods.
Care Handle painted metal items with care to avoid hitting one against another which will chip paint, just as stones and gravel will chip paint on an automobile. Painted metal card table chairs are often banged against each other in storage and soon paint is chipped badly. Painted metal furnishing for the patio need inside storage for severe winter weather.

Moving metal furniture on a cement surface will scrape paint from legs of patio furniture. If it is left out in rain, rust spots can develop on both the furniture and the cement patio.

Cleaning Wash surface with warm water and a heavy duty liquid detergent. A brush may be needed to clean grooves during cleaning process. An old toothbrush gets into tiny grooves.

Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove any detergent residue.

Wipe dry, or allow to air dry in sun or heated room.

Apply automobile liquid or paste wax and polish. (Follow manufacturer's directions). Auto wax is more durable than wax made for wood surfaces. Two thin coats of wax are more satisfactory than one very heavy coat. Wax protection is especially important for table tops.

Seasonal Care Use cleaning-waxing care method before storing metal furniture for the winter. In spring spray with garden hose for immediate use. (Usually people are too busy with other garden and yard chores to take time to clean and wax furniture in the spring.)

About midway through summer, a thorough cleaning and waxing will help maintain general appearance of metal patio furnishings.

Aluminum Outdoor Furniture Cleaning

Aluminum does not rust, but it will discolor and develop a pitted or rough surface. Aluminum is affected by air pollutants. The surface will appear to have fine grit stuck to the surface, but it will not wipe away easily. If you observe aluminum storm windows and screens which have been exposed to weather for a couple years you will see what happens to aluminum outdoor furniture; the surface has oxidized.
Care will depend on the condition of the aluminum:

Regular Cleaning If surface is only mildly discolored, wash with soap and water, to which some mild household acid has been added; lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar. Most water is slightly alkaline, so do not add ammonia, TSP or soda. Wash as needed during the season; wash at end of season. (Remember the darkening of aluminum pans when low acid or alkali foods are blackens. When acid foods such as tomatoes are cooked in aluminum, it will become shiny.)

Special Cleaning If surface is pitted, polish with a soap-filled steel wool pot cleaner, rinse and dry. All steel wool must be removed or it will rust and stain the aluminum. Wash and dry.

There are also a variety of commercial cleaners used for aluminum surfaces on boats and automobiles which may help clean extremely dirty aluminum.

Do not use commercial cleaners on anodized aluminum.

A coat of auto wax, or a silicon spray will protect aluminum from corrosion and pitting.

Colored Anodized Aluminum: Use only mild detergent and water to wash anodized aluminum. Rinse well. The anodized finish resists corrosion.

Slipcovers Cleaning

Vacuum slipcovers while still on furniture, and shake outdoors after removing. If washable, wash in warm water and laundry detergent. Wash one large slipcover and two small pieces at one time in average machine; do not crowd. Use soak cycle before wash cycle to remove extra soil. Use cold rinse at end and don't let them spin too much. Take out of washer while still quite wet, and either hang over clotheslines or put in dryer. Take out of while still a little damp.
Smooth over furniture and pull all seams and cording into place. Pinch pleats into sharp creases and smooth any ruffles. Open the window in good weather and/or use an electric fan near the window or furniture to speed drying. Or use a dehumidifier if windows are closed. Do not use furniture until slipcover is completely dry.

Cleaning Leather Upholstered Furniture

Because leathers vary, always consult manufacturer's care instructions. Frequent dusting is the only way to clean most leathers with limited surface protection. An art-gum eraser may remove ordinary dirt. The uncoated surface readily absorbs liquids and oily substances. Stains may be impossible to remove. For the same reason, leather creams may create blotches.
Coated leathers, on the other hand, resist staining. They can be occasionally washed with a mild soap (such as castile) and water, wiped with a slightly damp cloth and buffed dry. If desired, use leather cream once or twice a year.

Do not use oils, furniture polishes, or varnishes on leather because these products may contain solvents that might make the leather sticky.

Vinyl Upholstery Cleaning

Regular Cleaning Wash with mild detergent and water. Use a soft bristle brush for stubborn soil. Rinse and dry. Some household cleaners and solvents remove plasticizers from vinyl, making them brittle. Abrasive cleaners scratch the smooth surface.

Sometime letting detergent solution stand on surface and "soak" a few minutes loosens soil.

Special Cleaning Vinyl cleaners sold in furniture stores or auto stores help clean stubborn soil on vinyl upholstery. Vinyl upholstery will absorb stains and dye from fabrics that crock or bleed (like crocking blue jeans on white vinyl or bright prints that bleed). A vinyl protective finish, sold at same stores, helps protect upholstery and resists or retards absorption of stains.

Act at once to remove stains from vinyl. Use a white cloth or paper towels. Keep solvents away from wood or metal parts. When solvents other than water are used to remove a stain, wash the area with detergent and water, rinse and dry.

1. Nail polish and polish remover will cause permanent damage if left on the surface. Wipe off quickly. Blot; do not spread the liquid. Sponge lightly with synthetic turpentine or mineral spirits. While nail polish remover or amyl acetate will remove polish, both may affect the vinyl. Use them only if necessary at you own risk.

2. Ballpoint pen marks may respond to alcohol. If not, cover area with a white cloth soaked in a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide and leave from 30 minutes to overnight.

3. Felt tip markers may respond to treatment with mineral spirits.

4. Remove substances such as oil paint, shoe heel marks, ink, tar, crayon, grease, shoe polish, ointment and cosmetics with synthetic turpentine or mineral spirits. Use hydrogen peroxide bleach treatment if necessary (see #2 above).

5. Chewing gum should be hardened with ice and chipped off. Remove residue with synthetic turpentine or mineral spirits.

When using solvents suggested in No. 1, 3 and 4 (turpentine or mineral spirits) use only in a well- ventilated room and avoid breathing fumes or getting on your skin. Be sure there is no flame, spark, pilot light, or cigarette in area, as they are flammable. Air out cloths used, to evaporate solvent before disposing.

Upholstery, Testing Cleaner Residue

Determine the residue of the detergent or shampoo before applying it to the upholstery. Excess will remain in the upholstery fabric to attract and hold soil. Use a clean glass pie plate. Add approximately 1/4 inch of the detergent water mixture or shampoo mixture. Allow liquid to evaporate; to shorten time of evaporation, place pie dish in the sun or in an oven set no higher than 150 F. After all liquid has evaporated, examine the remains to see what is left in the pie plate. Has it dried to a powder which can be vacuumed. To determine whether the residue is sticky, oily, or waxy, run a finger over the inside of the plate, and rub the fingers together. If the residue is sticky it will hold onto soil at an accelerated rate and make the upholstery fabric soil faster.

Once the sticky or waxy residue gets on the fibers, it usually remains until the residue is flushed out with a lot of warm water. Another cleaning with the same solution will only build up the residue. If it is suspected that a residue is already present on the upholstery fabric, place a tablespoon of warm water on a spot and work it in with the fingers. A foam or a slippery feeling will indicate a detergent residue. The best way to remove it is by the hot water extraction method using clear water.

Upholstery Stain Removal

Basic Process: Remove excess soil promptly, by scraping off residue with dull knife or spoon, and/or blotting up spills with absorbent materials.
Be sure to pre-test in an inconspicuous spot. Basically fabrics are cleanable if they don't fade or shrink. See "Testing Cleanability".

Do not remove cushion from the cover.

General cleaning is done with 1 pint cool or warm water and 2 teaspoons of mild dish detergent (except rayon which will shrink use dry-cleaning fluids.

Never soak use the foam from the solution. Use sparingly.

No harsh rubbing use soft white cloth or a sponge.

Rinse with a damp sponge.

Rapid drying is essential.

Symbols and their meanings found on upholstery labels or tags, read tag on furniture.

W Spot clean with the foam only of a water-based cleaning agent such as mild detergent or upholstery shampoo.

S Spot clean using solvent only. Use sparingly in a well-ventilated room. Use of water-based solvent cleaners may cause spotting and/or excessive shrinkage. Water stains may become permanent.

S-W Spot clean with solvent or water based foam.

X Vacuum only.

Upholstery Soil-Resistant Finishes

Anti-soil and anti-stain finishes are available for upholstery fabrics. The best results are obtained when these finishes are applied at the factory. They are not permanent and will be removed by several cleanings. These finishes do not take the place of routine care. The following are the most common anti-stain and anti- soil finishes used on fabrics.
Zepel is a fluorochemical finish that is applied at the mill, when the fabric is processed, to prevent soiling and staining. Therefore, the finish is only applied to the upholstery before the sale.

Scotchgard is another fluorochemical finish applied to fabric to prevent staining and soiling. If an upholstery fabric does not already have this finish on the fabric, then Scotchgard can either be purchased in hardware stores or be applied by professional upholstery cleaners. Scotchgard can be applied to new, unsoiled upholstery with no problems. However, for older upholstery, the fabric should be thoroughly cleaned and all the residue from the cleaner removed from the upholstery before the Scotchgard is applied. Otherwise, the Scotchgard will bond the residue in the upholstery fabric.

Teflon is the newest fluorochemical finish for upholstery, either put on the fabric, or applied to the furniture by professional upholstery cleaners. A fabric spray treatment to prevent soiling and staining should be reapplied after each cleaning due to the cleaning agent breaking down the stain resistant chemical. Water will not dissolve the stain resistant chemical but upholstery cleaning agents will.

Upholstery Fabric Cleaning Code Labels

Some manufacturers have adopted the voluntary uniform standards for furniture cleanability developed by an industry committee. If used, each fabric will be marked with a code which indicates the appropriate cleaning method. The code may be printed on fabric samples, on a label under seat cushions and/or on hand tags. Use as a guide for spot removal, and for overall cleaning.
W Use Water-Based Cleaner. Spot clean this fabric with the foam only of a water-based cleaning agent such as a mild detergent or commercial upholstery shampoo. Use sparingly. Avoid overwetting.

S Use Solvent Cleaner. Spot clean this fabric with a mild water-free dry-cleaning solvent available in local stores. Use sparingly in a well-ventilated room with no sparks or flame in the room.

CAUTION: Use of water-based solvent cleaners may cause spotting and/or excessive shrinking. Solvent cleaning agents will not remove water stains.

S-W Use Water-Based or Solvent Cleaner. Spot clean this fabric with a dry-cleaning solvent, mild detergent foam or upholstery shampoo, depending on the stain.

X Vacuum Only. Clean this fabric only by vacuuming or light brushing to prevent accumulation of dust and grime. Water-based foam or solvent-based cleaning agents of any kind may cause excessive shrinking, fading or spotting.

Cleaning Upholstery

General Cleaning Methods Dust settles on upholstered furniture just as on hard surfaces, and should be removed regularly, about once a month, depending on environment and use, with vacuum cleaner attachments the upholstery nozzle and crevice tool. A brush will remove some dust if you do not have a vacuum, but will also scatter dust around. However, down-filled cushions that are not lined with down-proof ticking should be brushed as vacuum may draw out down. Reduce greasy soil in air by use of range hood when cooking; clean furnace filters reduce soil in air.
Arm and headrest covers of matching or harmonizing fabric protect those areas against early build-up of soil from skin and hair. In summer, if people will be sitting on furniture in shorts, cover with washable throws, sheets, or large pieces of terrycloth to protect from body soil.

Most upholstered furniture sold today has a label or tag telling how it should be cleaned as explained under "Fabric Cleaning Code Labels". Follow those instructions for best results! Four basic methods shampoos, solvents, hot water extraction, and dry powders are explained generally below. Pretest on small hidden area as explained under "Testing Cleanability", before starting overall cleaning.

Wicker Furniture Care and Cleaning

"Wicker" refers to a variety of vines, grasses and plants that are woven into furniture. There are four major types of wicker: rattan, reed, willow and bamboo.
Care Dust regularly with small brush or vacuum. Spills should be taken care of immediately before they harden or stain, by wiping with a sponge wrung from sudsy water.

Wicker likes humidity but it is not outdoor furniture. Rain, direct sunlight, and dew are damaging. Dry indoor heat dries wicker causing it to crackle and creak under pressure. Wiping occasionally with a damp (not wet) sponge may help.

Regular Cleaning To clean periodically, vacuum away loose dirt. Prepare a solution of detergent and water. Skim the suds off into a damp sponge and apply to furniture, working on a small portion at a time. Use a small brush in crevices. Do not wet wooden parts of furniture. Wipe off suds with clean damp sponge.

Special Cleaning Perhaps once a year or every other year, raw wicker may need complete washing. Dust with a vacuum brush. Scrub with warm water and detergent using sponge or soft brush; spray rinse with a garden hose outside, or put under the shower. Dry chair as fast as possible by putting in the hot sun, using hair drier, or directing a fan onto it to keep air circulating. A windy day is good to aid drying. On painted wicker only wash and rinse as you would painted wood; wetting as above may crack and peel the paint. If furniture has wooden parts, do not wet them; use only periodical cleaning method as described below.

Never use or sit on wicker until it is completely dry. Allow several days. After wicker is thoroughly dry (several days after washing), check all surfaces for sharp strands or fuzzy places. Sand them smooth with fine sandpaper.

A coating of clear varnish, shellac or lacquer can be applied. If a spray can is used, spray furniture outside. Painted wicker can be freshened with a new coat of paint. Allow several days for drying before using.

A thin coating of liquid furniture wax applied after the new finish is completely dry will help maintain the gloss finish. If sealed and waxed it can be kept clean by regular cleaning and should not need the complete washing.

CAUTION FOR BAMBOO: Wipe with sponge dampened with sudsy water, wipe with clear water and dry. Do not rinse by hosing. A thin coat of liquid wax will restore shine.

Glass Furniture Parts Care and Cleaning

Care Glass is used for some table tops, and doors of cabinets and bookcases. It resists most chemicals and stains. It can be permanently scratched, so do not move rough objects across it, and do not use abrasives on it. Though table tops are heavy and strong, glass can be broken or cracked by hard blows.

Cleaning Clean with mild alkaline solution, such as 2 tablespoons ammonia to 1 quart water, and polish dry with paper towels. Or a commercial glass cleaner may be used. Be very careful that no glass cleaner gets on the wood surrounding the glass as this can damage the wood finish; if using spray cleaner bottle, spray only center of glass panel, and spread to edges with cloth, sponge or paper towels.

Metal Furniture Cleaning

Most indoor furniture made of metal is chrome, wrought iron or painted steel. Dust with dry or slightly- dampened cloth, or vacuum cleaner brush. If soiled, wash with cloth or sponge wrung out of mild-detergent (hand dishwashing liquid) and luke-warm water. Wipe with clean sponge or cloth wrung out of water. Wipe dry with cloth or paper towel to avoid water spots. Check label whether it may be waxed or not (some metal finishes should not be waxed). If OK, may be waxed if desired with furniture wax recommended for metal on label. Or if label on furniture does not recommend otherwise, may be cleaned with cleaner-polish for furniture.

Cleaning Furniture with Painted Finishes

Dust with a water-dampened cloth. When very soiled wash with a solution of mild, non-abrasive detergent and warm water. Wring a cloth nearly dry and work on a small section at a time, then rinse with clear water. Dry the surface quickly before continuing.
Waxes and polishes are usually not needed. If waxes are used, use white creamy type on light painted items to avoid discoloration. Never use oil, oil polishes, or oil- treated cloths on painted furniture. Hand rubbing with polishes may remove painted decorations.

Although painted surfaces can be carefully touched up with matching paint, the results may look patched. Whenever possible try to remove spots and scuff marks by washing or cleaning with all-purpose household cleaners. Sanding with even a fine abrasive may change the luster of the sanded spot, especially if the finish has been antiqued. If extensive damage has been done, the piece will need repainting. A very old piece with its original finish should usually not be repainted or refinished. By doing so you remove the indications of its authenticity and thereby destroy its antique value.

Varnished Wood Furniture Care and Cleaning

Care Protect finish overall with a furniture wax. Also protect surfaces from water, alcohol, other liquids, foods and cosmetics.
Regular Cleaning Vacuum and/or dust with a soft dry cloth. If finish is waxed, do not use oiled or treated cloths, as they may make it sticky. Occasional rubbing of surface with clean, dry, soft cloth removes smudges and dust and leaves a sheen. Some varnish finishes may be wiped with a damp (not wet) cloth to remove fingerprints and light soil, followed at once by rubbing with a clean dry cloth. Test first on inconspicuous spot to be sure this does not damage varnish. Do not get varnish wet, or allow damp cloth to stand on it.

Special Cleaning Clean with a solvent-based furniture cleaner polish, or wax. Use one that gives desired gloss compatible with varnish gloss high shine or low luster. Most polishes and waxes leave a layer of wax on surfaces to protect finish. In cleaning, do only a small area at a time and wipe dry with clean cloth. Waxed surface may be buffed occasionally to restore shine, only re-waxing when buffing does not restore shine. A small electric polisher saves lots of arm-energy.

If excess wax has accumulated or oily polish has been used, remove with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits or synthetic turpentine. (Natural turpentine may leave a sticky residue.) Should the furniture be badly soiled due to neglect, use very fine 3/O or 4/O steel wool instead of a cloth and rub with the grain of the wood. As some finishes can be damaged by prolonged contact with mineral spirits, clean small areas at a time. Wipe each area with a clean cloth before going on to the next. Discard steel wool as it becomes soiled.

When using mineral spirits, turpentine, or other solvents, including solvent-based cleaners, follow all label warnings. They are flammable, so don't use near any flame, spark, pilot light, and don't smoke. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, and dispose of them afterward, or wash in hot suds and air dry. Air-dry cloths used in cleaning to evaporate the solvent before disposing.

Some varnish finishes may be washed if badly soiled. Test method first in inconspicuous spot; if it streaks, or turns white and hazy, do not wash! If OK to proceed, use solution of mild detergent (hand dishwashing liquid) and lukewarm water. Use clean sponge or soft cloth. Wash, rinse and dry only a small area at a time, working fast to avoid over-wetting finish. Avoid excess water, especially around joints. When completely dry, polish or wax. In most cases, it saves time and energy to clean with furniture polish/wax in the first place.

Oil soaps may clean satisfactorily on some varnish finishes; test first in inconspicuous spot.

Cleaning Oil Finish Wood Furniture

To clean oiled wood, use a solution of 1 cup boiled linseed oil, 1 cup turpentine, and 1/3 cup white vinegar. Turpentine is flammable so do not use around flame or spark; do not get on skin; do not breathe fumes. Wipe the surface with a soft cloth that has been dipped in the cleaning solution. Never pour the solution directly onto the wood. Let the solution stand for a few minutes to loosen the soil; then wipe off the excess. All excess oil must be removed or it will attract dust and get sticky. To finish, rub with the grain.
DO NOT USE wax or furniture polish on an oil finish.

Re-oil yearly with boiled linseed oil, tung oil, or a product recommended by the manufacturer. These oils harden when exposed to air and seal the wood. Never use non-drying oils like mineral oil for wood finishes for furniture. Avoid using an oil dressing too often or too liberally as it will cause a hardened oil build-up. If this happens, use mineral spirits (paint thinner) to dissolve the residue.

CAUTION: When using mineral spirits or other solvents, follow all label directions and warning. They are flammable, so don't use near flame or spark or pilot light, and don't smoke. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, and dispose of them afterward or wash with hot suds and let them air dry thoroughly before storing. Work in well-ventilated room and avoid breathing fumes. Air-dry cloths used to evaporate solvent before disposing.

Wood, Modern Lacquer Finish Care and Cleaning

Care Lacquer is hard and glossy but may be dented or chipped so avoid hard blows. Avoid use of water unless furniture label recommends it. Much new furniture has a durable lacquer finish. Older lacquered pieces or imported items may have finishes affected by some solvents, so test products first on an inconspicuous place.
Cleaning Vacuum and/or dust with a soft, dry cloth; do not use oiled or treated cloths on waxed finishes. Some finishes can be wiped with a damp (not wet) cloth, followed at once by rubbing with a dry cloth,(test first in inconspicuous spot) to remove fingerprints and smudges. A solvent-based furniture cleaner can be used on most finishes (test first).

Special Cleaning Use a solvent-base furniture cleaner. Apply with soft cloth in one hand, and wipe at once with soft cloth in other hand, doing only a small area at a time. An oil soap may be satisfactory on some finishes but test first in an inconspicuous spot to be sure it is OK with finish. Protect with liquid wax or polish to maintain gloss.

Resin Lacquer Protection: 3-M has introduced a "Scotchgard" wood protection which is synthetic resin looking much like a traditional lacquer finish. But it is claimed to resist stains, chips, scratches, heat; spots or rings from water- alcohol, and oil-based liquids, and damage from solvent- based products such as nail polish and polish remover. It can be cleaned with soap and water, and a damp cloth. Waxing is not needed but can be used. It is claimed to not wear off during the life of the furniture under normal use. Currently it is first being used on dining table tops.

Re-Gluing Wood Furniture Veneer

Small pieces of loose veneer or blisters in veneer can be reglued. Large veneer repair jobs should be taken to a professional furniture repairer.
If a piece of veneer has come off the surface, lay the veneer on a flat surface and scrape off the glue. Do not wet veneer. Remove the old glue from the piece of furniture not the veneer. Put glue on both pieces and put the veneer in place, add a paper pad, and clamp down with C-clamps or lay weights on it. Be sure the pressure covers all parts of the piece of veneer and don't remove the pressure until the glue is dry.

If veneer is still attached but has loosened from an edge or corner, use a hypodermic needle or thin knife blade to insert wood glue into the area. Proceed with clamping as described above.

If you have a blister in the veneer, cut a slit with the point of a sharp thin knife at the side of the blister where the veneer is still glued. Be sure to follow the grain of the wood. Hold the slit open with the knife. Fill the blister with warm white vinegar and let it stand for several hours to dissolve the glue. Wipe away any vinegar that remains with a damp cloth. Let the blister and the surrounding wood dry thoroughly before adding glue. Then work plenty of wood glue under the blister, using a hypodermic needle or thin knife blade to get the glue in the blister. Apply pressure to flatten it. Leave it under pressure until the glue is completely dry.

Re-Gluing Wood Furniture Joints

Buy a glue that says on label it is made for wood. Remove all old glue from both parts to be re-glued with sandpaper or steel wool. Sometimes vinegar will soften some old glues, but be sure wood is clean and dry before re-gluing. Check fit of parts before gluing. If joint is loose, put narrow strips of cloth over ends of loose- fitting piece to fill space, and check fit again. (Vis. 1)

Traditional wood glues call for a priming coat of glue on each part, to set until tacky, and then a second coat of glue before joining parts at once. Follow directions exactly on glue you use as there are many different types. Spread glue evenly as directed, and join parts. Apply pressure on joint for time specified on glue label. Use a C-clamp, or tourniquet of rope of clothesline for pressure. Pads of folded cloth, paper towels, or magazine pages may be placed at points of pressure to prevent marring wood. (Vis. 2)

Weak corner joints may be braced with angle irons, and triangles of wood.

Wood Furniture-Repairing Dents

Dents are depressed layers of wood caused by hard impacts. They can be raised back to original level by steam. Place several layers of damp fabric or damp, brown wrapping paper over the dent. Touch the fabric or paper with a warm iron. The steam will cause the wood fibers to swell back into place. It may be necessary to repeat this process until the dented area is level with the surface around it. Allow the area to dry.
Since the steam opens the wood pores, sand the area thoroughly to "repack" the grain. If you don't, the area will absorb more stain and have an uneven color.

NOTE Don't use this treatment on veneers. The steam can soften the glue under the veneer and cause it to come loose. Also, be careful when applying steam near joints because the glue there can soften, also. When an impact has been great enough to cut through the wood fibers, steam and heat will not repair the damage. Fill the dent with a wood filler to make it level. Follow directions on the package.

Wood Furniture-Finish Repairs

Most oil-rubbed or penetrating seal finishes can be easily repaired. Touch up jobs on varnished, lacquered or painted surfaces are likely to appear patched. Extensive damage in these finishes should be repaired by a professional.
If spot removal changes the luster of a finish, rub the entire surface with a mixture of pumice or rottenstone mixed with boiled linseed oil. Rottenstone is finer and will give a higher polish. Always rub in the direction of the wood grain. Use the palm of your hand or a soft cloth. If mixture becomes sticky, add a few drops of mineral spirits. Finish by wiping off the mixture and buffing with a clean cloth. Oil should be almost completely buffed off. If wax desired, wait for 48 hours.

Cleaning Wood Furniture

Regular Cleaning Vacuuming with a dusting brush attachment gently removes dust from furniture surfaces, preventing buildup. If no vacuum cleaner, use a clean soft cloth, turning it often, or soft paper towels to pick up dust. Dust furniture before vacuuming floors. If the finish is water resistant, a barely dampened towel or cloth will pick up dust.
Changing filters in furnace and/or air conditioner before they get too dirty traps dust that would otherwise settle on furniture. Portable air cleaners may be used in rooms with dust problems, especially during the heating season.

Effective range hood systems can trap grease from cooking that otherwise settles on furniture in other rooms.

Pads, mats and coasters on furniture, mats under vases, glasses, cups etc. protect them from spills and stains, and from heated objects. Do not use plastic or rubber on natural wood surfaces; may soften and damage finish. Use felt under objects set on top of furniture that could scratch it.

Mattress Care and Cleaning

Care Occasionally turn non-foam mattresses end for end, and turn over so former bottom side is on top.
Covering the mattress will protect it from stain and soil and avoid having to clean it as described below. The cover should be washable, and easy to remove and put back on.

Cleaning Periodically remove dust from the surface of your mattress and box springs with the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Unenclosed metal springs can be dusted with the vacuum dusting brush or with a small brush like a bottle brush.

If the mattress fabric does become soiled or stained, it can be cleaned with an upholstery shampoo, following directions exactly. Or use dry suds, made by beating up mild detergent in warm water with an eggbeater; apply only the dry suds to a small area at a time using a soft brush or sponge; wipe with sponge wrung out of warm water. Do not get padding inside mattress wet. Dry area completely before covering or using mattress. Drying is faster with either dry outdoor air (in warm weather) or dry heated air (in winter);an electric fan blowing across the dampened area hastens drying.

Cleaning Mildew From Mattresses, Rugs, Upholstery

First, remove loose mold from outer coverings of upholstered articles, mattresses, rugs, and carpets by brushing with a broom. Do this outdoors, if possible, to prevent scattering mildew spores in the house. Wash broom before re-using.
Run a vacuum cleaner attachment over the surface of the article to draw out more of the mold. Remember that the mold spores are being drawn into the bag of the vacuum cleaner. If the vacuum has a disposable bag, remove and dispose of it immediately. If not, empty the bag carefully (preferably outdoors) to avoid scattering mold spores in the house.

Do everything conveniently possible to dry the article use an electric heater and a fan to carry away moist air. Sun and air the article to stop mold growth.

If mildew remains on upholstered articles or mattresses, sponge lightly with thick suds of soap or detergent and wipe with a clean damp cloth. In doing this, get as little water on the fabric as possible so the filling does not get wet.

Another way to remove mildew on upholstered furniture is to wipe it with a cloth moistened with diluted alcohol (1 cup denatured or rubbing alcohol to 1 cup water). Dry the article thoroughly.

Sponge mildewed rugs and carpets with thick suds or a rug shampoo. Then remove the suds by wiping with a cloth dampened with clear water. Dry in the sun if possible.

Use a low-pressure spray containing a fungicide to get rid of mildew. Respray frequently, especially in localities where mildew is a major problem.

If molds have grown into the inner part of an article, send it to a reliable disinfecting and fumigating service. Such services are often listed under "Exterminating and Fumigating" or "Pest Control" services in the yellow pages of the telephone directory.

Care of Flood Damaged Upholstered Furniture

Upholstered furniture that has been submerged in flood water may be impossible to salvage if it has been badly soaked. If the piece seems worth the effort, however you will need to clean and oil the springs, replace stuffing, and clean the frame.
Stuffing and covering 1. Remove furniture coverings using a ripping tool, hammer, or tack puller, screwdriver, or chisel.

2. Remove all tacks from the frame.

3. Wash coverings as described for carpets.

4. Throw away all cotton stuffing. You can dry, fumigate and reuse padding made of materials other than cotton.

Springs and frame

1. Wipe off springs and frame. Dry all metal parts and paint them with rust inhibiting paint. Oil springs.

2. Store wood frames where they will dry out slowly.

Mildew Mildew may have developed on damp or wet furniture. Mildew is a gray-white mold that leaves stains and rots fabric unless it is removed promptly. To remove mildew or mildew spots:

1. Brush with a broom to remove loose mold from outer covering. Do this outdoors if possible, so you won't scatter mildew spores (which can start new growth) in the house.

2. Vacuum the surface to draw out mold. Dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag outside to avoid scattering mold spores in the house.

3. If mildew remains and fabric is washable, sponge lightly with thick soap or detergent suds. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth. Get as little water on the fabric as possible, so the padding doesn't get wet.

4. If mold remains, wipe the furniture with a damp cloth dipped in dilute alcohol (1 cup denatured alcohol to 1 cup water) or a chlorine bleach solution (1/4 teaspoon bleach to a cup of water).

5. Dry the article thoroughly.

6. Use a low-pressure spray containing a fungicide to get rid of must odors and remaining mildew. Moisten all surfaces thoroughly. Respray frequently if mildew is a continuing problem. Spraying rooms with an aerosol material will not eliminate mildew problems.

7. If molds have grown into inner parts, send furniture to a dry cleaning or storage company for thorough drying and fumigation. Fumigation will kill molds present at the time but will not protect against future attacks.

Repairing Flood Damaged Wooden Furniture

Wooden furniture damaged by floods can best be salvaged through slow drying and proper repair.
Submerged furniture 1. Take furniture outdoors and remove as many drawers, slides and removable parts as possible. Drawers and doors will probably be stuck tight. Do not try to force them out from the front. With a screwdriver or chisel, remove the back and push out the drawer from behind.

2. After you have removed movable parts, clean off mud and dirt, using a hose if necessary.

3. Take all furniture indoors and store it were it will dry slowly. Furniture left in the sunlight to dry will warp and twist out of shape.

4. When furniture is dry, reglue it if necessary. You will need equipment and clamps to reglue some pieces. Before you start, decide whether you have the time, equipment and ability to do the work. Consult an experienced carpenter if necessary.

To reglue loose joints or rungs, scrape out old glue so the area will be as clean and free of glue as possible. Use a white all-purpose glue, following directions on container. Hold part together with rope tourniquets or C-clamps. To prevent damage from ropes or clamps, pad these areas with cloth.

Damp furniture removing white spots White spots or a cloudy film may develop on damp furniture that has not been submerged. To remove white spots:

1. If the entire surface is affected, rub with a damp cloth dipped in turpentine or camphorated oil, or in a solution of 1/2 cup household ammonia and 1/2 cup of water. Wipe dry at once an polish with wax or furniture polish.

2. If color is not restored, dip 3/0 steel wool in oil (boiled linseed, olive, mineral or lemon). Rub lightly with the wood grain. Wipe with a soft cloth, and re-wax.

3. For deep spots use a drop or two of ammonia on a damp cloth. Rub at once with a dry cloth. Polish. Rubbing cigarette ashes, powdered pumice, or a piece of walnut into spots may also help remove them.

4. If spots remain after all efforts to remove them, the piece should be refinished.

Veneered furniture If veneer is loose in just a few places:

1. Press veneer back in place.

2. Wrap area with a strip of cloth so as not to damage finish.

3. Dry for about a week in warm, dry, well-ventilated place. Do not dry in direct heat or sunlight.

4. When piece is thoroughly dry, remove cloth. If veneering doesn't stay in place, apply a good quality glue and wrap again.

Repairing badly damaged veneered furniture requires special skill and tools. Unless you are an experienced woodworker don't attempt the job yourself. Take the furniture to a cabinetmaker, or have your dealer return it to the factory for repair.

If insurance allows part value on flood-damaged furniture, it may be financially worthwhile to apply the money to new articles, rather than pay for extensive repairs.

Cleaning Wood Furniture After A Fire

If burns are not too severe, they may be sanded and the furniture refinished. The furniture should be thoroughly dry before restoration. When there is only smoke damage, use a solvent to clean furniture. For most finishes on furniture, denatured alcohol or paint thinner will help to clean smoke from furniture.
These and other solvents are very flammable. Work outdoors if possible, or in a well-ventilated room with open windows. Be absolutely sure there is no flame or spark anywhere in the area where it could ignite vapors from solvents no flame, pilot light, spark, and no smoking. Discard cloths in tightly closed metal can, in trash. You don't want to start another fire! Also avoid breathing vapors while working. Read labels on solvents and follow directions.

Do a small section at a time. Apply solvent to a rough surface cloth, such as a hand towel and rub thoroughly. Use 3/0 steel wool for carvings. After cleaning, go over surface with a damp cloth. Dry with another cloth.

After furniture dries, wax or polish it with a recommended wax or polish. Several commercial products can clean smoke from furniture. To clean, do not use a product that contains wax or polish.

Cleaning Upholstery and Mattresses After A Fire

Any piece of upholstered furniture heavily coated with soot should be cleaned by a professional service. If attempting to clean at home, vacuum the surface to remove spotty deposits of soot; then sponge with a turkish towel dipped in cleaning fluid. These and other solvents are very flammable. Work outdoors if possible or in well- ventilated rooms with open windows. Be absolutely sure there is no flame or spark anywhere in the area where it could ignite vapors from solvents no flame, pilot light, spark, no smoking. Discard cloths in tightly closed metal can, in trash. You don't want to start another fire!
Also avoid breathing vapors wile working. Read label on solvent and follow directions! The solvent will loosen oily soil so it can be wiped off with a dry cloth.

If the upholstery is washable, the next step is to "shampoo" the entire surface with "dry"suds made by beating a handful of dampened detergent to make thick lather with no extra moisture to soak into the fabric. Or use upholstery shampoo. Use this dense lather on a sponge or soft brush to lightly scrub one section, and scrape the soiled suds off with a spatula or knife. Repeat with clean suds, then wipe that section with a clean damp cloth. Continue shampooing and rinsing until all the upholstery is clean.

Wind a strip of clean cloth around a ruler, dip it into "dry" suds, and use it to wash between the seat and the arms or back of a chair or sofa. Wrap a clean damp cloth around the ruler to rinse those crevices the same way. Use only clean suds, clean water, and clean cloths. If a professional steam extraction service is hired to clean carpet, have them also clean upholstery and extract water.

For quick drying, open window, and turn on an electric fan. If windows are closed, turn on air conditioner if you have one, and also at same time use dehumidifier in the room with upholstered furniture to pull out the water.

Clean mattresses and foundations as for upholstery starting with dry cleaning solvent to reduce smoke odor but observe all the cautions and warning listed for use of these products. Before washing, let the solvent dry for a day or longer. Observe caution in using cleaning fluid. Read the label carefully and follow precautions suggested.