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Follow these practical tips for cleaning and maintaining your furniture, whether it's a gleaming new addition to the bedroom, living room, or dining room set, or to preserve the beauty of heirloom furniture for years to come:

Basic furniture care

upholstered chairKeep furniture from extremes of sunlight to help preserve your furniture's color and luster.

Also keep all furniture including leather, wood and upholstered furniture away from extreme temperatures. This may seem obvious, but you can often extend the life, beauty and value of any piece of furniture by simply moving it away from heat ducts, baseboards or air conditioning units.

Avoid wood scratches or upholstery tears by consciously keeping sharp objects away from furniture. That includes tools, jewelry, or even the family pet. Keep your dog's claws trimmed, or invest in a scratching post for the cat to ward off any temptation to sharpen its claws on your new couch.

When entertaining, always serve drinks with coasters to avoid water marks or wine stains. Clean up any spills by dabbing immediately (do not wipe to avoid spreading the stain) with a dry cloth or paper towel.

For everyday avoidance of permanent staining, always keep newspapers, magazines, pens, magic markers, and crayons away from leather or upholstered furniture.

Furniture cleaning & restoration tips

• Hide scratches in wood furniture by rubbing with a walnut kernel (works like magic.)

• Remove mold easily from wood furniture with a sponge soaked in white vinegar.

• Unstick cabinet drawers by coating both sides with bar soap. Repeat every couple of months to keep them sliding easily in and out.

• Use a stiff piece of plastic (a credit card works great) for gently scraping wax from wooden surfaces. Dissolve any remaining wax residue by cleaning with furniture polish or lemon oil.

• Sagging wicker chair? Turn it upside down and place a wet towel underneath the seat. Leave the cane to soak for several hours until it is good and wet. Remove the towel, and when dry the wicker will be good and taut again.

also see in Shopping -> Buying furniture online

More tips about furniture cleaning and stain removal around the Web:

Around the Web, get more expert advice on furniture maintenance, along with tips on getting rid of water marks, cleaning up spills, and removing stains and grime from wood furniture and all types of upholstery:

Wood Furniture Cleaning
Check out a complete library of advice and how to's for furniture cleaning and polishing, removing scratches, water stains, wax and crayon marks, and general care of interior and exterior wood furniture.

Polishing and Removing Wood Furniture Stains - Including how to get rid of scratches, heat marks and cigarette burns, with wood stain and water mark treatment tips.

How to Repair Wooden Furniture Surfaces
- Here's an extensive guide to removing scratches, repairing dings and dents, getting rid of discoloration, burn marks and stains with additional tips for repairing veneer and furniture hardware.

How to Clean Leather Furniture - Get a good overview with instructions on determining the type of leather upholstery to be cleaned with step-by-step cleaning instructions, including tips on getting rid of inks stains, grease, and newspaper stains and related do's and don'ts of leather cleaning.

Wicker Furniture Care and Cleaning - Find basic tips on maintenance, protection and cleaning with related tips and warnings about bamboo and special cleaning of wicker furniture.

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