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Monday, January 27 2014

Our pet has soiled our furniture.  What can be done?

We hear this a lot from our customers so we offer the following information and solutions to educate you to minimize damage.

We love our pets and they love us. They are --- and there's no gentle way to say this --- animals. Each puppy or kitten that comes to our home has to learn the ground rules of living with people. There are dozens of events that can upset house training, from vitamin deficiencies and illness to a dirty cat pan or unaltered animal. Until our friends grow up and adapt, we'll have to clean up after them --- or their rowdy guests.    
Other People Are Reading
 How to Remove Stains From Fabric Furniture How to Remove Urine Stains From Furniture
Things You'll Need
Paper towels and newspaper Cotton rags Spray bottle Vinegar Dish-washing liquid Club Soda Carpet cleaner solution or enzyme "digester"

 make it go away is to get to it fast. The enemy with urine (especially kitty's) is uric acid and the enzymes and bacteria that discolor fabric, Vomit contains a high proportion of bile, an acidic compound that will leave a nasty yellow stain that gets worse the longer it sits on the sofa. Scrape up any solids with a spatula, going with the nap of the fabric to avoid rubbing any matter into the cloth and then carefully blot any liquids with soft rags or paper towels.

Spray and blot. Try water first. Spray some warm water around the spot and blot with a paper towel or cloth if the stain has dried. Spray and blot a few times, then add two parts white vinegar to one part water mix and spray and blot again. Urine contains a lot of ammonia and vinegar will dilute and neutralize the pungent chemical. Your dog or his friends will have trouble sniffing out his favorite place. If you can remove the cover from a pillow or take off a slip cover, dip the fabric and blot the stuffing until the smell disappears  Vinegar may also remove stains as it will break up fatty proteins that can stain fabric.

 Clean wood with a dilute mixture of vinegar or lemon juice with water --- the acid will soak up the salts. Finish by rubbing the spot with a rag until the wood gets warm. Wax or clean with a little lemon oil and rub hard again to try to bring up the shine on the finish. If the fluids have been sitting on the wood long enough, the finish may need to be renewed with a bit of paint thinner and some varnish.

Try a teaspoon of dish-washing or wool soap in a quart of warm water sprayed or sprinkled around a stain on fabric after neutralizing it with vinegar. Blot the soap solution up. If the blotting doesn't pick up the stain, spray some solution on and scrub lightly with a vegetable or hand brush, then let sit, covered with a towel, overnight. Next morning, blot up the solution and rinse with plain water. If the stain still sticks, try some club soda, the old standby to remove stains from silk ties. Sprinkle the soda around the edges of the stain and let it sit for about 20 minutes, then blot and rinse.

There are dozens of "enzyme" cleaners on the market and available from veterinarians that are basically soap and water --- many require overnight to as much as a 24-hour soak. Some carpet cleaners (Resolve is one) have pet formulas that can also be used on furniture fabric.

Try some of the following.

Woolite Detergent

Resolve Stain Remover

Bissell Stain Remover
Tips & Warnings
The best way to avoid pet stains on furniture is to teach them to stay off the furniture. The next best way is to get them their own furniture. Try a 3-percent solution of hydrogen peroxide to lighten discolored furniture fabric but avoid any cleaners with bleach or "bleach alternative" in them --- they are too harsh. Spay or neuter your pets to cut down on the number of "accidents" they have and to make their indoor lives easier on everyone.

Avoid harsh detergents like laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent. They may contain alkali which will damage or stain furniture fabrics further. Dishwasher detergents may contain phosphates that are toxic and would be irritants to dogs, cats and humans.


Even potty-trained pets have accidents, and the couch provides a favorite spot for many pets. Cleaning up after them can present a challenge.

Don't want to tackle this or do not have the time? 

Call Furniture-EMT Maryland today.  Our field trained technicians have the knowledge and tools necessary  for any pet challenge.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 03:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, January 24 2014

Our new furniture has a strong chemical smell.

What is this odor?

You just got a sweet new couch or coffee table, but you are noticing a nasty chemical smell coming from it. Well that smell is likely due to VOC’s or Volatile Organic Compounds emitted from chemically treated woods, fabrics, and materials. These are bad for your health and a pretty big nuisance, so it’s best to avoid purchasing furniture that emits VOC’s… but sometimes it’s hard to avoid.

How can we get rid of the odor?

Give the new furniture a good cleaning. Using rags, a bowl, good old fashioned dish soap, essential oils, and olive oil you can clean leather, wood, and upholstered furniture to help remove the chemical smell of new furniture. To clean leather and upholstered furniture add 1-2 tbsp of dish soap to a large bowl of warm water and mix until sudsy. Wipe down the leather or upholstered furniture with the soapy water and dry with a soft rag. Allow to dry completely for 12-24 hours. For wood furniture mix olive oil with a few drops essential oils (like tea tree, orange, or lemon) and apply with a soft rag to clean the wood and remove the chemical smell.
Further deodorize upholstered furniture. Sprinkle furniture with baking soda and allow to sit overnight. Then vacuum out the baking soda the next morning. If the smell persists fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and mist over furniture. The vinegar is a natural and safe deodorizer.
Use a natural odor absorber. Zeolite is a porous volcanic rock that absorbs and eliminates odors. It’s reusable, affordable, and totally safe. You can order it from The Allergy Store or pick up another safe/natural deodorizer The Bad Air Sponge from Amazon for around $10.

Will the odor return?

Eventually the odor will be eliminated.  Once the chemical smell is gone it will not return.

Don't want to tackle this on your own! Call Furniture-EMT Virginia today, we will treat your furniture to eliminate these odors or simply clean if needed

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 06:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 23 2014

My furniture is dull and dry!  What can we do?


General Maintenance Tips

Frequent dusting of your furniture will help maintain the luster of both oil and lacquer finishes.  To prevent the wood from becoming dull and dry perform the following.  Use a dry, soft cotton cloth.
Use common sense and don't place wet or hot objects on your wooden furniture. Use trivets and coasters to prevent damage, and wipe up spills promptly.
Excessive or prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade the color of your furniture and dry the wood. Use window coverings or tablecloths to prevent daily direct exposure of your furniture to the sun. If you leave objects such as candleholders or vases on an uncovered wood surface, rotate them regularly to prevent dark or light spots.
As part of natural aging, your wood furniture will typically develop a beautiful patina and undergo color changes, depending on the wood. Cherry typically darkens while walnut tends to lighten with time. Pine, alder and red oak tend to turn a golden color as they age.
To care for furniture finished with oil and wax:
Besides frequent dusting, we recommend you re-wax your oil/wax furniture with paste wax every six months to a year, depending on how much wear the furniture receives. We use Liberon Fine paste wax, available at woodworking supply shops. For tips on using paste wax, see "How to Re-wax with Paste Wax" below.
To brighten an oil & wax finish, you may also use Finish Feeder which penetrates the existing finish and adds a layer of beeswax. It covers up small scratches and removes all built-up grease, dust, grime and dirt. Use Finish Feeder in between re-waxes whenever your furniture appears dull. For tips on using Finish Feeder, see "How to Use Finish Feeder" below.
If your oil/wax furniture looks particularly dry (as opposed to merely dull), you may want to re-oil the piece. Re-oiling involves removing existing wax, applying an oil product such as linseed oil, and re-waxing. For specific instructions, see "How to Re-oil Furniture" below.
To care for furniture finished with catalyzed lacquer:
As with oiled furniture, frequent dusting will prolong the luster of lacquered furniture. To add luster and shine, use your favorite furniture polish making sure to wipe off the excess.
When your furniture appears grimy and dull, we recommend using Finish Feeder to clean and brighten the finish. For tips on using Finish Feeder, see "How to Use Finish Feeder" below.
How to Re-Wax with Paste Wax

We use Liberon Fine paste wax, available at woodworking supply shops. Make sure to follow any instructions provided with the specific wax product you are using. Also consider the following tips:

When prepping the surface, use only super-fine grade #0000 steel wool, and always work in the direction of the wood grain.
After applying a coat of paste wax, use a super-fine Scotch Brite pad to spread it evenly. (Using steel wool will leave grit behind.) Use light, consistent pressure to cover the surface with the wax, always working with the wood grain.
When letting the wax set, be sure not to exceed 20 minutes.
Use a clean super-fine Scotch Brite pad to remove the excess wax, working lightly with the grain of the wood.
Using a soft cloth, lightly buff the surface until it feels smooth.
How to Use Finish Feeder

Finish feeder will help brighten both oil/wax and lacquered finishes. Note that this product will not work on polyurethane or plastic-based finishes. Application involves a few simple steps:

Apply Finish Feeder with a soft cotton cloth, or with super-fine grade #0000 steel wool if the piece is particularly dirty or scratched. Allow Finish Feeder to soak into the surface for 10 to 15 minutes.
This step is the important one: To prevent the surface from becoming tacky, be sure to completely remove all the excess Finish Feeder that is unabsorbed after 10 to 15 minutes. Use super-fine #0000 steel wool to wipe the excess Finish Feeder from the surface. Wipe the surface dry with a clean, soft cotton cloth.
If you didn't successfully remove the excess Finish Feeder and the surface becomes tacky, just add more Finish Feeder which will dissolve the tacky residue, allow it to soak for a few minutes and wipe it completely dry.
Important safety note: Handle oily rags with caution, as there is a risk of spontaneous combustion if they are stored improperly. Be sure to spread oily rags flat and allow them to dry completely, after which they can be discarded or washed.

How to Re-Oil Furniture

Furniture finished with oil and wax will probably not need to be re-oiled unless it becomes dry from being stored in extreme cold or heat, or in constant direct sunlight or other drying conditions. If your piece does become overly dry, follow the following instructions for re-oiling.

Use turpentine or naptha applied with a clean cotton cloth to remove the existing wax. Clean the surface with water and Murphy's Oil Soap, using only as much liquid so as to make the cloth damp, not wet. Allow the surface to dry completely.
Use super-fine grade #0000 steel wool to further prepare the surface, using light, even pressure and always working with the wood grain.
Apply a liberal amount of oil to the surface. We use a blend of 1/3 boiled linseed oil, 1/3 pure tung oil and 1/3 oil-based polyurethane. Allow the oil to soak into the wood for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Wipe off all excess oil using a clean cotton cloth. Allow the newly oiled furniture to set for at least 24 hours.
To prepare for waxing, clean the surface with super-fine #0000 grade steel wool. Carefully wipe the surface clean with a soft cotton cloth to remove all grit and residue.
If the wood still appears dry, you may re-apply oil and repeat the steps 3 through 5.
Re-wax the piece as described above under "How to Re-Wax with Paste Wax."
Important safety note: Handle oily rags with caution, as there is a risk of spontaneous combustion if they are stored improperly. Be sure to spread oily rags flat and allow them to dry completely, after which they can be discarded or washed.

Contact Furniture-EMT Virginia to schedule a professional in home evaluation of your wood furniture.  Our technicians are certified and will provide the best solution to return the beauty of your wood.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 22 2014

My leather is fading

Customers call and state that there leather furniture is fading.

Why is this happening?

You would never venture out in 100-degree weather without some sort of skin protector, would you? Never!  You protect your skin because you want to live in it for a good long while.  And just as you slather on the SPF before sun exposure, you need to remember to protect one of your other investments – your furniture.

Indoors, or out, sun exposure and heat damage to your furniture is detrimental and usually irreversible.  So as we enter into the summer season, remember to protect your home investments!  Here are some tips to keep in mind.

We thought leather was indestructible !

Although leather is strong, the sun is stronger.  Sunlight and leather do NOT play well together.  Too much sunlight could lead to two things: color fading and drying.  Fading is a common problem among leather pieces that have been placed next to a window that gets too much sunlight, especially pieces that do not have a protective topcoat, like semi-aniline and aniline leathers, as well as dark leathers since they absorb more light.  Drying is something that can happen to any kind of leather, fully finished, or not.  Heat causes moisture in the leather’s natural oils to slowly evaporate, resulting in stiffening and cracking.

What can be done?

Once leather is faded, the only way to get color back is to re-dye and color match it.  You’ll need a professional to do this (not an inexpensive fix).  Once the natural oils of the leather dry out, unfortunately re-hydration is not an option.   So it’s better to take preventative care to protect your investment, rather than throw money away with un-protective care.   If you live in Maryland like we do, this is one time you can be grateful for humidity. Unfortunately, the amount of air conditioning and dehumidifying that most Americans live with indoors these days negates any benefits you might get from a humid ‘outdoor’ environment.

Unsure if your leather can be saved?

Call Furniture-EMT Virginia today for a professional in home inspection by one of our certified technicians to evaluate the condition and afford options to consider what course to take.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 03:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 16 2014

Wrinkles in curved deck furniture

Curved deck furniture is when a seat or back on a sofa, love seat or chair is curved in from the arms or out from the arms.  We frequently receive calls from customers stating there seats are wrinkled and look misshapen.  They say that there furniture is only a few months old.

Why is this happening?

When you have this type of curvature, the fabric tends to become loose very quickly.  This is due to the curvature itself.  As the foam padding compresses the fabric looks looser and looser.

What can be done?

Well there are a few options to return fullness and minimize these wrinkles.  One is to steam the leading edge of the seat area, this will do two things, it will tighten the fabric and also expand the foam.  The other is to remove the fabric and add a additional layer of polyester to fill the void. Another way is to remove the material and re sew it tighter.

Will these procedures be permanent?

Unfortunately no!  This is one of the down falls of purchasing curved deck furniture.  No matter what is done the wrinkles will re appear. 

What is the cost of these services?

To steam would generally run about $100.00. To remove the fabric and re pad is about $200.00. The price will fluctuate depending on the layout of the furniture.

Call Furniture-EMT Virginia today for a professional evaluation.  Our technicians are field trained to provide the best results possible.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 09 2014

Dresser chipped

My dresser is chipped, can it be repaired?

We are called on a daily basis with this question,  the answer is yes!
Whether your dresser, night stand, head board, foot board, dining table, end table, coffee table, etc. is chipped or scratched it can be repaired.

Does this type of damage require refinishing the entire piece?

In most cases no it does not require to be totally refinished.  A procedure known as a burn in can be performed to fill in this chip as a permanent repair.  This is generally used on surfaces such as table tops, etc. a colored acrylic compound is heated to the point of melting, then the depression is filled in with this compound.  It is then sanded down using wet/dry sand paper, machine oil is used to minimize further damage to the surrounding area.  A substance known as burn in balm can also be used.  The area will need to be re colored to match the existing finish as close as possible.  The final step would be to apply a clear top coat with the appropriate sheen to seal.

What is the cost of this procedure?

The cost of this service depends on the severity of the damage, obviously a light scratch is cheaper to repair than a large chip or chunk due to time, labor and materials used.

For a professional in home inspection of your furniture contact Furniture-EMT Virginia today.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 04:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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