Flood 2016

Disinfecting Wooden and Hard Furniture

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1. Identify the type of finish your wood furniture has: a hard finish or an oil one. Here’s how, according to home furnishing specialists at the University of Kentucky: Get some boiled linseed oil, available at hardware stores. Rub a few drops into a hidden part of the furniture (in case it affects the stain).
If the oil beads up, you have a hard finish. If the oil gets absorbed, you have an oil finish.
2. Disinfect hard finishes with one of two options, depending on the material, says L. Jeff Bishop, Technical Advisor for the Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians.  Furniture with a plastic veneer is easy to clean by spraying a disinfectant or wiping the surface with an antimicrobial wipe, according to Bishop. But for other types of hard finishes, you may want to opt for a mild detergent solution. This method still cleans off soils and germs, says Bishop.  “Furniture that is painted or has multiple coats of finish can be damaged by repeated applications of harsh detergents or disinfectants that contain alcohol or other dry solvents,” he notes.
3. If the furniture has an oil finish, start with three soft, lint-free cloths. If you’re using a rag of clothing or an old shirt, make sure buttons and seams are removed so they don’t scratch the furniture.
    Dip one cloth in a sudsy, mild soap and water solution. Wring it out thoroughly and use it to scrub the furniture. Then wet the second cloth with water and use it to rinse the soap off the furniture’s surface. Finally, dry with the last cloth.
    If the wood is dry, or if there is dirt or wax buildup, furniture specialists recommend applying a furniture cleanser-conditioner with a damp cloth. These conditioners can be store bought (think oil soaps for wood) or made at home. If you’re making it at home, here’s a recipe from experts at Utah State University: https://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/FL-HI-500.pdf


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