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12 Common Cleaning Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Furniture

 Cleaning is a whole science, no doubt about it, and even the smallest misstep can leave you with damaged goods. And while replacing a cutting board or a few cushions as a result of poor maintenance is no big deal, furniture replacement can make a big dent in your budget, so it’s especially important to keep furniture in tip-top shape. To do so, you should certainly develop good cleaning habits while simultaneously avoiding a number of common mistakes, with the last being exactly what we’re about to discuss in this article.

1. Placing House Plants On Top or Too Close To Your Furniture

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes couch and plant
House plants can really spruce up any interior and clean the air in your home, but if you're not careful, they can also wreak havoc on your furniture and floors because you have to water them all the time, which can cause leakage, marks, and stains. Wooden or metal furniture is especially susceptible to damage, as metal elements can rust, and wood can start growing mold where it was stained with water.
To prevent this from happening, you should always buy leak-proof planters, as even coasters can sometimes get overrun with excess water. Alternatively, you can water your plants in the sink, let them sit in the sink for several minutes, and wipe the pots dry before putting them back on their spot. Finally, we recommend rotating the location of the plant from time to time to prevent discoloration and planter stains on furniture.

2. Forgetting to Rotate the Furniture and Flipping Couch Cushions Regularly

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes faded couch
Image Source: Reddit
Speaking of rotation, you should also make sure you move your furniture around at least occasionally, especially the couch, as not doing so can cause fading of your furniture and even floor. Having drapes and curtains that protect your furniture from the sun will help somewhat, but unless you rotate the furniture around from time to time, you'll still end up with one side of the furniture becoming lighter than the other, just as the weary-looking couch in the photo above.
For the same reason, you should also flip your couch cushions on a regular basis, since textiles and leather are more susceptible to fading, plus you sit on it all the time, so it's even more susceptible to wear and tear than the rest of your furniture.

3. Using a Feather Duster on All Surfaces

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes cleaning TV stand using a feather duster
Dusting with a feather duster is much easier than doing so with a cloth, but it's also underwhelming in terms of effectiveness. Don't get us wrong, feather dusters are an excellent tool for wiping down all those hard-to-reach places, such as ceiling lights, the corners of the room, and the spaces between a wall and furniture that tend to collect dust and cobwebs.
However, this contraption can't collect dust as well as a cloth, and all the dust ends up flying in the air, bound to settle down again onto the surfaces you tried so hard to clean. Instead, we recommend using a microfiber cloth slightly dampened with water to wipe away all the dust from tables, TV stands and all surfaces that are within your reach, and reserving a feather duster for those high-up and difficult-to-reach places in your home.

4. Overcleaning the Furniture in Your Home

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes cleaning a leather couch
It's true, you can go overboard with the cleaning, too, especially if you're dealing with a lot of natural materials like wood, textile, and leather in your home. For example, using a leather cleaner on the entirety of your couch can actually do more harm than good for the integrity of your couch, since leather can develop a natural glossy protective layer on it as it ages, and cleaning will disrupt this process.
The same kind of patina can develop on top of wooden furniture, and using harsh cleaning agents will not only hinder its development but will also eat through the polish. Textiles can similarly get damaged by intense rubbing and shrink and become moldy if dampened regularly, not to mention become discolored or stained. To prevent all of these mistakes, opt for regular dusting and spot cleaning over rigorous cleaning on a weekly basis.

5. Spraying Polish Directly on the Furniture

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes praying Polish Directly on the Furniture

Applying wood polish directly on the cleaning surface is a bad money-wasting habit, and here is why. First of all, this will nearly always result in over-application of the product, which is not only wasteful but can also result in streaks and stains on your furniture. Second, the excess polish can create a sticky surface on the furniture, which is not only difficult to wash off but also attracts a lot of dust and makes dusting more difficult.

For these reasons, we recommend applying the polish onto a cloth first and then spreading the product evenly onto the furniture.

Related Article: Removing Water Stains from Any Wooden Surfaces

6. Using Cleaning Products on Furniture Every Time You Clean

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes woman in gloves cleaning table with rag and spray
There's no need to use a cleaning spray or polish every week unless you have encountered a fresh stain or a scratch that requires a dedicated cleaning product. These sprays do cause buildup over time, which can cause a white coating on mirrored and glass surfaces, or a sticky layer on your leather and wood items. Regular dusting with a damp cloth and a careful and targeted use of cleaning products will keep your furniture in tip-top shape.
Of course, the products you use matter as well, and you should always patch test any new cleaning product before applying it all over the furniture. You should also stay away from so-called universal cleaners, as these can often cause stains, especially when you're using it on leather or textiles.

7. Not Protecting Outdoor Furniture in Wet and Cold Weather

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes outdoor couch
It's clear that your outdoor furniture is the most susceptible to wear and tear, as it's always left out in the elements. This is especially true when it comes to the cushions, which can start to mildew or lose their shape even if they have 'waterproof' covers on throughout the fall rains and winter colds. It's safest to just take them indoors, to make sure they're 100% safe from humidity.
We also typically move our outdoor furniture under a roof for the winter to protect the wood from the water as well, which works perfectly. Lastly, we recommend using those protective covers to shield the outdoor furniture from fading and drying out in the sun as well, especially if you're not using it on an everyday basis.

8. Storing Your Furniture in the Attic, Garage or Basement

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes furniture in cluttered attic
If you think that you can safely store your furniture in the garage, attic, or basement, think again. Of course, doing so is better than just leaving them out in the open, but because all of these environments are not climate controlled and cleaned as often as your living spaces, furniture tends to deteriorate and collect dust much faster. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this mistake, it's just best to rehome old furniture instead of storing it in the basement for years.

9. Having a Favorite Spot on the Sofa

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes man sitting on the sofa
Surely, I can't be the only one who is guilty of this mistake, the creature of habit that I am. It turns out that constantly sitting on the same spot on the couch is bad because it crushes the foam fibers and deforms the springs. Luckily, fixing this problem is easy - simply get in the habit of sitting in a different spot of the couch every time. This will ensure the wear and tear is more evened out, so to speak, which will make it less noticeable.

10. Forgetting to Vacuum the Couch

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes woman vacuuming a couch
Vacuuming your sofa is equally as important as doing so with a rug or carpeting. The truth is that we rarely notice how much dust and dirt gather on the couch (until we remove the cushions in search of keys or the remote, that is). All this dirt and dust gets lodged in-between the fibers of the couch, which can cause discoloration and unpleasant smells.
Vacuuming will help you keep your sofa cleaner, longer. Start by removing the cushions and cleaning the frame, where a lot of grime collects. After that, using upholstery attachment, start vacuuming the cushions and the surface of the couch.

11. Even Natural Cleaners Can Result in a Cleaning Fiasco

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes a cup of white vinegar

Just because you choose to use a natural or DIY cleaning solution, it doesn't mean you can use it on any surface without doing any damage. This is because we often underestimate natural cleaning products, thinking they're very mild, which is rarely the case, as even seemingly harmless pantry ingredients, such as baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar can pack a punch, often too much of a punch, in fact.

For one. vinegar can be too acidic and can strip the protective seal of waxed furniture or cause discoloration on textiles and leather. At the same time, it's very effective at removing buildup from wooden furniture, if diluted and used sparingly. The bottom line is that you should use natural products as sparingly and carefully as you would any other cleaning solution, and don't forget to patch test in an inconspicuous area before using it on any item of furniture.

12. Using Wood Polish on Furniture That Isn't Wood

Furniture Cleaning Mistakes applying wood polish onto cloth
Wood polish can be an excellent tool in your cleaning arsenal, as it can restore the shine and vibrant color to wooden furniture, if used once in a few months. However, polishing sprays and liquids contain a lot of waxes and silicones that create a protective coating over all items they're applied on, and this isn't always good.
If you have laminate or veneer furniture in your home, which most modern furniture is, cleaning it with wood polish will only make it sticky, as the waxes and silicones that usually get absorbed by hardwood can't to so with these two materials, as they already have an impenetrable coating intended to protect the material. Wax on these kinds of surfaces can attract extra dust and rub off on your clothes, so it's best just to use a damp cloth to clean laminate and veneer furniture.
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