Monday, 5 January 2015

Cleaning the Dining Room 

Dining areas are incredibly diverse, ranging from the formal to the chaotic. Use the same quick cleaning technique as the lounge room (see Cleaning the Lounge).

Cleaning Tables

If you have a valuable timber dining table, I strongly suggest using a table protector to guard against scratches. Use heat resistant placements and have extra mats for the centre of the table when serving. Using tablecloths will cut down on mess and speed up your cleaning.

Quick tip: Mixing beeswax, lavender oil and lemon oil on a cloth is a great timber cleaner. Antique stores often use this combination. 

What is French Polish?


French polish is created by layering very thin coatings of shellac either on timber or papier-mache. Clean it with a non-silicone-based furniture polish. Try not to use water near French polish because it will whiten the surface.

Quick tip: To repair a heat mark on a table

Heat marks appear as a white ring on your table. To repair  a French polish finish, use beeswax applied with a piece of lemon peel. If the table is very damaged, use a mixture of 1 part bicarb and 1 part olive oil, paint it onto the mark, leave it for a few minutes, then polish it off with a cloth. Polish normally.

Be very careful with polyurethane surfaces because if you scratch them, you'll have to reseal them. If you do scratch the surface of polyurethane, wipe it with Brasso in the direction of the grain. The mark will become worse before it gets better. Brasso works because it partially melts polyurethane. If the scratch has penetrated through the timber, you'll have to reseal the area which is a big job. If this is the case, seek the advice of a professional. 

If heat has bubbled the surface, for French polish, see a restorer. For a polyurethane finish, fill a syringe with 1 part Aquadhere to 20 parts water. The mixture should be the consistency of runny cream. Inject a small quantity into the centre of the bubble then press down. Place a weight, such as a heavy book, on it while it dries, using a piece of plastic wrap to protect the underside of the book.

Cleaning Chairs

Don't forget to wipe chairs because they are great dust collectors - and don't forget to clean the legs as well.

Vinyl: Clean vinyl with vinegar and water mixture then rinse with a damp cloth.

Fabric: Wash loose fabric covers or removable cushions regularly, either by hand or in the washing machine. If you can, have two sets of covers so you can replace them immediately. If you like, use different colours to change the whole mood of the dining area. Upholstered chairs should be vacuumed or brushed thoroughly with a lint - or clothes-brush. If they're stained, mix bran and white vinegar until it forms clumps and rub it over the stain. Leave to dry, then vacuum.

Leather: Leather should be treated with leather dew. For scratches, if the leather is brown., rub a cult walnut along the scratch. For other colours, use shoe cream along the scratch

Timber: Timber should be cleaned with a small amount of cider vinegar, water and a damp cloth. Shellac or French polish should be cleaned wit ha good non-silicone furniture polish.

Plastic: Plastic should be cleaned with a cloth wrung out in water. For stubborn stains, use dish-washing liquid applied with a cloth. Minor scratches can be treated with a small amount of glycerine on a cloth.

Stainless steel: The best way to clean stainless steel is with bicarb and vinegar. Mix them together on a sponge and wipe over the chair. Then wipe with a cloth that's been wrung out in water. For scratches, apply a dab of Gumption to a sponge and wipe over the scratch.
Then apply bicarb and vinegar and clean with a cloth.

Chrome: Clean chrome with a cloth and a little detergent and water or vinegar. 


Cleaning Mirrors

If you have mirrors in this room, clean them with a lint-free cloth dampened with methylated spirits and wrung out.

Quick tip: Place mirrors high enough on the wall so that they can be tilted. Mirrors should never be flat but rather sit with a 10 percent title forward. A tilted mirror also speeds cleaning because not as much dust will sit on top of the mirror's edge.

Quick tip: If you drop candle wax on carpet or fabric.

Put ice on the wax to harden it then scrape as much away as possible with a blunt knife. Wedge a metal comb underneath the wax and put a paper towel on top of the wax, then use a hairdryer over it. The paper towel will absorb the wax. Repeat until all the wax is removed. Never use an iron carpet as it can char natural fibres or melt synthetic fibres. 



Cleaning Ornaments

Brass should be cleaned using a proprietary cleaner or my choice of cleaner, bicarb and vinegar. If you're coating it, use shellac rather than brass coat because it can be removed more easily.Be aware that brass will tarnish even after being coated, but the coating will help it last a little longer.

Bronze can be cleaned with a damp soapy cloth but never rub bronze or you'll remove the patina.

China should be dusted with a hairdryer on a low setting and use a small paintbrush for those difficult-to-reach areas. Wash every six months in blood-heat water and dry thoroughly with a hairdryer, if very dirty, add a little detergent to the water except if the item has non-china elements, such as lace or paper. Never soak china.

Clay should be vacuumed and dusted regularly. Never soak because clay absorbs moisture. If you wash, do so quickly and dry thoroughly so you don't lift the glaze.

Cloisonne is enamel fused into small wire pockets on the outside of a bronze, brass or copper vessel. Clean it with vinegar and water. Never use soaps because it will tarnish.

Embroidery where possible, should be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep it covered and inside cabinets. Hand wash gently if its's colourfast. If not, take it to a restorer or a good dry cleaner.

Ephemera should be kept as flat as possible under glass or in cabinets. Spray fabric with surface insecticide spray to keep bugs away.

Fabrics can be treated as you would your best table linen. Keep them well dusted and, where possible, vacuum.

Ivory can be cleaned with sweet almond oil applied with a cloth.

Lace should be hand washed in pure soap and rinsed very well. Glue medical gauze underneath a hole to hold it until you're ready to repair it properly. Embroider over the gauze in the same pattern as the lace, trimming away any excess gauze when you have finished.

Paper must be kept dust free and away from direct sunlight. Wash carefully with a slightly damp cloth. Just dab rather than wipe the paper. If in doubt, use a restorer or conservator. 

Silver can be cleaned with a proprietary cleaner or bicarb soda and vinegar. Polish with bran.

Timber, it it's sealed, can be cleaned using a good silicone-free furniture polish, it it's unsealed, clean with furniture oil.

Tinware can be wiped with warm soapy water and dried thoroughly with a rag dampened with sewing machine oil. This will prevent rust. If tin does rust, apply WD-40 with a cloth. To stop bugs eating paper labels on tinware, wipe the labels with a damp tea bag.