Glass loses its sparkly shine.
Wood suffers unsightly deep scratches.
Upholstery can’t escape red wine stains and ingrained pet hair forever.
When your furniture begins to lose its appeal and look noticeably worn, these four quick routines can revive its beauty. But with a bit of work, your furniture will look brand new again!
For Glass Furniture
Glass is one of the easiest household surfaces to clean if you have a Windex bottle and a microfiber cloth.
But what happens when that once-shiny glass table or vase becomes hazy, filmy, or cloudy? Or a spritz and wipe no longer does the trick?
The most common culprit is hard water. It leaves behind a mineral residue after it evaporates, embedding magnesium and calcium in your glass.
Don’t hide those relentless streaks with a tablecloth or table runner.
How to Clean Cloudy Glass
There are a few ways to de-fog cloudy glass, including:
For mild stains: Soak a clean microfiber cloth in hot water, squeeze a drop or two of dish soap onto the glass, scrub, and wipe it clean.
For more stubborn stains: Mix ten parts water with one part vinegar (or a 50:50 ratio if the stain is determined). Pour this liquid into a spray bottle, spritz it onto the table, let it sit for ten minutes, and wipe it off.
For set-in stains: Combine one part distilled vinegar with two parts baking soda. Rub this paste onto the glass and let it be for ten minutes before wiping it away. Scrub it in with a sponge if it's an intense stain.
Despite the Old Wives Tale that using razor blades on glass can get rid of that stubborn, set-in film, think again! You might scrape away the haze and the fog. But what's left might be unfixable scratches that completely ruin the piece.
For Wood Furniture
Wood furniture is a more troublesome challenge because it’s hard to fix fades or scratches. But you can rely on tried-and-true methods to turn dull wood shiny and fill in minor scrapes.
But there is a quick routine to make your outdated wood pieces look new again.
How to Make Solid Wood Furniture Look Like New
If you want to revive that old wood furniture, follow these strategies:
Dust it: Use a duster (or a vacuum with a duster attachment) to remove debris from the piece’s surfaces, nooks, and crannies.
Shine the wood: Combine three tablespoons of vinegar with about a cup of water. Test the solution on a hidden area of wood first to ensure it won't damage the wood's appearance. Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the mix and buff it onto the wood furniture.
Fix minor dings and scratches: Use clear nail polish to fill in any dings. Or, use a felt-tipped matching wood marker to trace in scratches.
Repair rough edges: If any bits of wood are poking out, sand them down gently with 600-grit sandpaper.
Refinish the wood: If your wood’s color consistency is out of whack, consider adding a brand new coat of stain. This guide by Minwax describes how to do this with miracle products like PolyShades.
Before you do anything, remove any delicate hardware (ex: handles or ornaments) that might rot or fade when exposed to these chemicals.
Upholstered furniture can be more of a guessing game because it depends on the fabric. For example, making a leather couch look pristine requires a very different approach than, say, a velvet armchair.
However, our quick routine stands, regardless of the fabric.
How to Make Upholstered Furniture Look New
Since your sofas, dining room chairs, and fabric headboards see almost daily use, your routine will be more frequent and includes:
Vacuum weekly: Remove any lingering dust, hair, and dirt weekly using your vacuum’s upholstery tool (shaped like a long rectangle).
Clean spills immediately: The second you spill anything on your fabric, lay a towel on the spill and press down firmly. After that, blot (don’t wipe) the stain with a cleaner-soaked rag and then again with a dry towel.
Wash the fabrics regularly: Unzip your sofa’s cushions, remove the foam or filling, and toss the fabric in the washing machine. Look for a tag with the cleaning code to learn how to clean it without ruining it.
Flip your cushions cover: Every month or so, flip your couch cushions over to give both sides near-equal wear.
Before you spritz cleaners on your fabrics, make sure they don’t contain chemicals that may ruin your upholstery.
And remember: regular care is the best way to keep your upholstered furniture vibrant for years to come.
For Outdated Pieces
Most people have outdated furniture or prized family heirlooms they don’t have the heart to get rid of. Luckily, there are several ways to add a more modern touch to such pieces.
For Solid wood, repaint it, restain it, or sand down (and reshape) its edges.
Roll out a table runner or tablecloth on a dinged-up table.
Create a modern-style distressed look.
Install brand new hardware that pops.
Put a slipcover on an old-school sofa.
Replace cushion covers or reupholster the entire chair or couch.
Cover ruined surfaces with patterned contact paper.
These strategies are the best of both worlds. You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on new decor, and you have a fun DIY project to take on this weekend.
The best way to prevent distressed wood, cloudy glass, or stained upholstery is to keep a regular cleaning schedule.
Ideally, you should vacuum your fabrics weekly and buff (or polish) wood every six weeks or so.
It also helps to read the care label, avoid direct UV exposure to prevent fading, and rotate furniture in and out so that they all receive near-equal wear.
Now, whip out your cleaning supplies and prepare some elbow grease.
It's time to bring that old furniture to life!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech at Ames to help them with their online marketing.