There’s really nothing worse than going through the time, trouble and expense of renovating or redecorating your home and then seeing your new things start to get dirty, come undone or lose their luster. Sometimes it’s just the living of life that does it, sometimes it’s the presence of young children as an accelerant, and sometimes it’s an ill-informed housekeeper. No matter the source, we all have a natural instinct to want to preserve our new things and protect them from ruin. This is where I pay homage to the old adage – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I was recently at a client’s home that I hadn’t been to in a while and I immediately noticed that the gorgeous, marble coffee table that is the centerpiece of the living room, and that we waited FIVE months for, looked off. On closer inspection I could see that the culprit was cleaning products and I’d bet my right eyeball that someone was using something acidic that was stripping the finish off and leaving it vulnerable to staining. I bought some Stone/Marble restorer and had a whack at buffing it through several layers and hoped for the best.
While I don’t always know the specifics on how to care for every piece of furniture I source, I do take the time to do some research and advise on things that are delicate, or unusual, and I usually travel with some lifesaving products like Goo Gone in my toolbox. The point is that you can never be too careful or too informed when it comes to cleaning and protecting your furniture and it definitely pays to be educated. A minute on Google can add years to your furniture and keeping your things in good condition is the difference between being able to sell them down the road or having to give them away, or worse, dump them. The truth is, a little maintenance goes a long way and a little research goes even further, and your furniture will have a much longer shelf-life if it gets some periodic TLC. Short of walling off your valuables with crime scene tape, this is the time very well spent.
So please. Cover any stored furniture, clean and condition your leather, dust, polish and wax your wood, vacuum your upholstery (and always have a good upholstery cleaner on hand), hand polish your silver, ONLY USE WINDEX ON GLASS, use acrylic cleaner for your Lucite, and dear sweet Jesus, please use coasters (see epic blog post rant on this). And if you’re not doing your own cleaning, be sure that your housekeeper knows the drill.