Eco-friendly Methods to keep your Furniture Clean
Dirt, grime, mold, mildew, stains, insects! All of these and more are conditions that you’ve most likely had the pleasure of dealing with from time to time in your home.
At Viesso, we can relate, and that’s why we occasionally give you a little reminder of the eco-friendly ways you can deal with your cleaning challenges without causing an iota of harm to yourself or the environment.
Avoiding Commercial Cleaning Products
Of course, the key is staying away from commercial cleaning products. Most of the time they contain bleach, ammonia, or other harsh chemicals that create unseen yet tangible havoc with your and our planet’s health.
Check Out the MSDS
It’s incredible, but unlike food, manufacturers of cleaning products are not required to list ingredients, so if you’re curious or madly in love with a certain product and want to make sure its alright to use, take a look on the Materials and Safety Data Sheet. You can find it on the web, and all you have to do is put in the name of the product in question and then MSDS, and you’ll get the information that all companies are required to supply upon request.
Make Your Own Formula
Obviously the best way to make sure you’re using the smartest cleaning materials is to make your own. Green or natural labels are actually not regulated, so lots of products out there are making claims that just aren’t true. This is what is known as “green washing” where companies will mislead consumers simply by using the word “green” somewhere in the advertising. Shame on them, but that’s marketing!
Our Staples List at a Glance
Our Viesso cleaning closets are generally stocked with just a few staples that will do the trick for just about all your furniture cleaning needs. Here’s our list at a glance:
Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, we consider this the magic elixir that is famous for absorbing moisture from spills, neutralizing bad odors, and combining with vinegar to make a dandy cleaning agent for removing mold, mildew, and grime.
Distilled White Vinegar
As a mighty odor eater, this is a great solution for cleaning areas where dirt and mildew do not fear to tread. It’s also very good for cleaning upholstered furniture if you apply it with care after testing.
Liquid Vegetable Soap
You can use any biodegradable, non-toxic brand, but our favorite is the tried and true Dr. Bronner’s, which has been around for years, including way back when before the words “eco-friendly” were ever uttered. There are many different scents you can choose from, like lavender, almond, eucalyptus, citrus, and the unscented baby soap for when you’d prefer not to have a fragrance at all. Dr. Bronner’s is easy to find in health food stores and even in some grocery stores these days.
An Enzyme Based Cleaner
This is very good for breaking down bad odors like cat urine. There are plenty of good ones on market that are legitimately eco friendly, so shop away!
Furniture Polish and Essential Oils
Jojoba oil, which is actually a liquid wax, is excellent for making your own furniture polish. We’ll get to that further down in this article. Essential oils are a wonderful eco-friendly way to scent your home, and some even have antibacterial, antiseptic properties to go along with them.
Distilled Water and Spray Bottles
You’ll also need distilled water and several good quality spray bottles with adjustable nozzles that are easily found in home and garden centers. Once you make your formula, label the bottle so you know what you’ve got.
Micro-Fiber Towels and Cotton Rags
Instead of using paper towels, which are so easy to abuse, get yourself micro-fiber towels and cotton rags. They’re easy to buy in bulk in automotive stores. You can also be even more eco-friendly and up-cycle old t-shirts and clothes and use them as cleaning rags.
A Good General Cleaning Recipe
Here is a perfect all-purpose recipe for general cleaning:
• 1 cup of white vinegar
• One teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s or a comparable liquid soap
• A few drops of essential oil
Add these ingredients to a 32 ounce spray bottle and then fill it up with distilled water and you’ve got a cheap and highly effective way to clean just about any surface in the house.
Now let’s get more specific:
For general dusting, use your dry microfiber cloth to swipe over surfaces. This will remove the superficial dust that accumulates everyday. It just takes a few minutes and will help you keep your furniture pristine.
We’ve discovered a really good formula for making homemade furniture polish that we think works better than any other on the market. It takes just a little bit of effort, but not much. You can look at it as a tiny science project that will always result in an infallible outcome. Here is the recipe:
• Put ½ cup of jojoba oil and 1 tablespoon of grated beeswax in a double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan with water
• Let the beeswax melt into the oil and then remove from the heat
• Pour in ¼ cup warmed vinegar and beat the mixture with a mixer
• Add any essential oil you like and then pour into a jar and let cool
• Apply a small amount of the polish to a soft cloth and rub it into wooden furniture or to clean and condition leather
When it comes to stains, it’s best if you are familiar with the kind of fabric your upholstery is made of. At Viesso, our basic rule of thumb is to always test your stain remover on an inconspicuous area to make sure that it won’t ruin the material in any way.
A mild soap and warm water mixture is always a good choice. You can take two tablespoons of phosphate free dish liquid and mix it into one cup of hot water, beating until it makes a good, sudsy foam. Then put just the suds on a clean cotton cloth and apply it to the area by patting, rather than rubbing. Remove the suds with a spatula and then gently go over the area with a clean damp cloth, blotting dry with a dry cloth or using a hair dryer on the lowest setting.
For Freshening Up
For freshening up your upholstery, you can use a mix of baking soda and corn flour, which makes an excellent dry cleaning powder. Dust it lightly over the fabric, let it stay there for a half hour or so, and then brush or vacuum it off.
Speaking of vacuuming, make sure you vacuum your furniture on a regular basis. Get those odd crumbs out as often as you can, as they attract bugs. If you’re a pet owner, keeping your upholstery vacuumed frequently will help you avoid fleas and ticks in the house.
Contact Us Today
As you can see, it’s not at all difficult to keep your furniture in good, clean condition using products that are natural and wholesome. For more information on this, as well as learning about Viesso’s green practices when it comes to furniture construction and manufacture, feel free to contact us. We can be reached through our online form or by phone at (877) 8-VIESSO.