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Thursday, April 10 2014

Q.: A large amount of nail polish spilled and dried on a piece of my wooden furniture. How do I remove it without ruining the finish?

A.: Cleaning and caring for hardwood surfaces can be tricky. These delicate surfaces are beautiful when properly cared for. But an unfortunate spill, scratch, or dent is a sad sight on any floor or piece of furniture.

Nail polish is a formidable foe for any surface in the home. Wood surfaces are difficult for tough spills because wood is naturally porous. No matter how you treat the spill, there will probably be a spot left. Two factors that determine how much of a spot will remain are how porous the wood is and what type of laminate or finish the wood had been treated with before the spill. Because of the likelihood of a leftover spot, most experts recommend leaving this sort of cleaning to a professional. Yet there are a few safe options for cleaning a dried nail-polish spill on hardwood that you can try at home.

Furniture EMT  recommends three approaches to cleaning this type of spill.

1. Take a plastic putty knife and gently scrape the spill from the surface. The nail polish should slip easily from the wood. If the spill is stubborn, apply a cloth dampened with hot water to the spill for a few seconds to loosen it, then proceed with the plastic putty knife. Be sure to use only a plastic knife.

2. Apply denatured alcohol to a cloth, and gently rub the spill until it comes off. Denatured alcohol is used to remove paint from woodwork treated with polyurethane. Although denatured alcohol is gentler than mineral spirits, which remove all paints and stains, be careful not to rub too hard or too long, as denatured alcohol will take up paint from the surface.

3. Use 0000-grade fine stainless-steel wool to gently sand away the dried nail polish. Steel wool with a 0000 grade is a very fine wool that will be tough enough to work the spill away from the wood, but soft enough not to damage the wood. If you do take off some of the wood finish, recommend touching up the treated area with a wood touch-up product, such as a Minwax Wood Finish stain marker.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 24 2014

Hoe to fix a butterfly leaf table.

Four components allow a butterfly leaf table to close: the hinges, the sliders, the runners and the center bar with the brace that holds the table solidly in place after it has fully opened. These must all be working properly to allow the table to close up. If any one of them malfunctions, you will not be able to close the table. However, fixing this issue is a task that virtually anyone with do-it-yourself experience will be able to accomplish.
Crawl beneath the table, and tighten down any loose screws with a screwdriver, including the hinge screws and the slider mechanism mounting screws. If any of the screws have become loose, the hardware pieces can become misaligned, and the table will not close properly or won't close at all.
Lubricate all of the metal moving parts with a spray lubricant. Spray the entire hinge or hinges, the metal sliders and the attachment points for the center bar that allow it to swivel. Even if the table will not close after lubricating the parts, attempt to work the lube in by flexing the hinge and moving the sliders by pulling the table out and then pushing it back in. The sliders on a butterfly leaf table allow the table to be pulled apart when closing or opening the table. If the problem was lack of lubrication, as you work the lube into the fixtures, the table will suddenly begin to fold up and close.
Wax any wooden runners that the leaf slides on, by rubbing a paraffin-based wood wax block over them. The runners are small "shelves" beneath the table that the leaf slides along as it folds up and closes. When fully closed, it will rest on these runners until the table is pulled apart and the butterfly leaf is deployed. Only three or four strokes on each side is needed. After waxing, press on the center hinge to help the table fold.
Sand any places on the table where wood rubs on wood and makes closing difficult or impossible. Use 100-grit sandpaper for this so that you don't remove too much wood at a time. Sand only areas that cannot be seen. For example, if wood rubs between the hinges, it can be sanded and smoothed out. If the runners have rough spots on the top, sand them smooth before applying wax.

Don't want to tackle this project!  Call Furniture EMT LLC Maryland today for a certified professional technician to perform maintenance or repairs.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 07:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 24 2014

Why are my chairs wobbly?  Q.& A

My new dining room chairs rock slightly, until I sit in them. Are they defective?
December 7, 2011 1:54 PM    Subscribe

My new dining room chairs rock slightly, until I sit in them. Are they defective?

I recently purchases a dining room set (table / 6 chairs). This is not estate furniture. I bought it from long time furniture store. It's better than the 'you put it together' furniture you find at target. But it was on the low end price wise compared to other sets I looked at.

I love the table. No problem there. I'm not sure about the chairs, however.

On a hard floor (they eventually will be on a rug, hopefully), each chair has a slight rock to it. You can find it by taking one corner of the upright seat and trying to move it. On some of the chairs it's pretty minor. On at least two, however, it's worse. And on those chairs I can slide a thin wash cloth under one leg.

I've checked, and I really can't find a difference in leg length. But the slight wobble is definitely there.

However, when I sit in the chairs, there is no wobble at all. The problem vanishes. All four legs touch the ground, and try as I might, I can't rock from one corner to the other. In other words, the situation seems to correct itself once a person is in the seat (I weigh about 170, so I don't think I'm crushing the chair).

My question is, should I be worried about this? Is this acceptable? Is this natural? I know chairs can be adjusted, but I'm not the most mechanically inclined person in the world.

I welcome any opinion, but I'm most interested in thoughts from those with knowledge how chairs are put together and designed.

Is the floor perfectly level? If you have carpeting, the legs can bunch the pile differently under each foot, and if you have wood flooring, the surface is unlikely to be perfectly smooth unless it was recently finished.
posted by ardgedee at 2:11 PM on December 7, 2011

Ideal? No. Common? Yes. Frankly, little is made these days that does not have some sort of annoying defect that may (or may not) affect your enjoyment or use, but gnaws at you. I bought a set of six dining chairs from Design Within Reach a few years ago and I think two or three were not perfectly true, and thus wobbled.

Just put little felt sliders on the bottom of the legs; that will help to even everything out, and should stop the wobbling. You won't notice, and they will protect your floor.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:16 PM on December 7, 2011

If there are plastic or rubber feet, check to make sure they're all evenly seated - some very light taps on each with a hammer is all you need to do.

Wood is slightly elastic and will twist or bend under a load; moving a couple millimeters under tension until the load is distributed evenly is trivial. If the chairs look good when you don't sit in them, and are stable when you sit in 'em, I wouldn't worry about them rocking a little when you aren't sitting in 'em. If it really bugs you, yes, try shimming the feet.
posted by ardgedee at 2:18 PM on December 7, 2011

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 07:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 03 2014

Peeling problems in painted furniture

Paint, which can be an inexpensive means of transforming furniture, requires proper application to stand up to wear and tear. With shoddy preparation or application, the result is a peeling, flaking and otherwise deteriorating finish. To avoid unwanted peeling paint in the future, it helps to understand why this occurs, as well as how to prevent and fix the problem. To avoid repainting furniture, take advantage of a heavily peeling piece to create a weathered look without requiring refinishing: sand lightly to scuff away any loose bits before applying a clear sealant on top.

Improper Preparation
Peeling paint occurs when the furniture wasn’t prepped properly, making it difficult for the paint to stick. Proper preparation varies depending on the condition of the furniture and its existing finish, but there is a basic process. Wash the furniture with a mild detergent to remove dust and grime; when dry, sand with medium-grit sandpaper. Wipe away the dust and repair dents or cracks with filler. Lightly sand the entire piece again with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth repairs and scuff up the surface, giving the primer or paint some texture to cling to. Give it a final wipe-down before you proceed to painting. If the furniture has a glossy or waxy finish, use a liquid deglosser to remove the top layer, or naphtha to remove the wax, before making any repairs.
Wrong Products
Basic latex house paint applied to furniture peels eventually, especially if that furniture has a high-gloss finish. For lacquer, laminate and wood veneer, use a primer and paint meant for slick surfaces. With wood, latex-enamel paint is stronger than house paint and adheres well. Don’t use an oil-based paint over latex; it will not stick. If you're painting outdoor furniture, always use exterior-grade products.

Poor Painting Technique
Even with the best preparation and products, a poor painting technique results in cracking, bubbling and premature peeling. Start with a primer if you’re painting a light color over dark, working with a glossy surface, painting bare wood, or if you've made repairs. After this is dry, wait at least 24 hours between each coat and lightly sand between coats to smooth the surface, prepping it for the next application. Don’t apply the paint too thickly and always apply it evenly. Too-thick paint takes too long to dry, increasing the chance that you'll apply the next coat too soon. Uneven paint, with globs and runs, will peel more quickly.
External Factors
Paint peels eventually, but external factors make it happen more quickly. Keeping painted furniture in a room with high humidity, such as a bathroom, causes the paint to begin to flake; a dehumidifier, or moving the furniture to a drier area, prevents this. Overuse also has an effect, especially for items that are frequently handled such as tabletops, doors and drawers. A few coats of clear polyurethane sealant before the peeling begins prevents this, creating a hard outer layer.

Fixing Peeling Paint
A fresh, properly applied paint job gives you a smooth, seamless finish. Sand away any flaking, repair the damage and paint the furniture. For extensive peeling, if wood is exposed or if you’re changing colors, always prime first. For minor peeling, patch the paint rather than applying a fresh coat. Take a chip to your local paint specialist and have him match the color. Sand away the peeling parts, apply primer just to the exposed area, and then paint the damaged portion.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 09:28 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, March 03 2014

My laminate furniture is peeling

Laminate furniture is an attractive and inexpensive alternative to traditional wood; however, unlike traditional wood, furniture made of laminate can peel relatively easily. If your smooth laminate finish is marred by peeling edges or bubbling in the center, repairing your furniture may be a means of returning it to its former glory. With some simple steps, you can entirely correct or at least reduce the visibility of pesky peeling.

White Laminate Peeling How to Repair Peeling Veneer on Particle Board Cabinets

Minor Repair
Your best bet for returning your peeling laminate to its former glory is to catch the laminate early in the peeling process. If you notice the corner of your dresser or desk starting to peel, acting immediately can prevent the problem from becoming worse. Using superglue or epoxy glue, adhere the peeling portion to the particle board that rests under it. To ensure that you don’t apply too much glue, squeeze a little glue onto a toothpick, carefully slip it under the peeling laminate and then press the laminate back into place, likely reattaching it to the base wood.

Major Reattaching
If your laminate is peeling around the edges and has also started to bubble up in the center of the piece, a heat gun may be the best weapon to use. Start the repair by putting on utility gloves to ensure you don’t burn yourself. Aim a heat gun or hair dryer at the portion of the laminate that has started to bubble up. Heat the area, moving the heat source back and forth to prevent scorching. Press the bubbled section down firmly, using your gloved hand. Place a rag on the surface to protect it, and then pile some heavy bricks or other weighty objects to hold the section in place as it cools and readheres.

Remove the Finish
If your laminate bubbling is severe, you may not be able to repair the laminate. If your laminate is peeling from all sides or your previous attempts at fixing your laminate were not successful, remove the laminate that remains. For any laminate that won't peel off, sand it off with 220-grit sandpaper. Paint the newly bare surface to make it more aesthetically pleasing -- the particle board that rests under the laminate will likely not be attractive.

Preventing Future Peeling
If you don’t want to have to tackle this problem in the future, there are some things you can do to prevent peeling. Laminate is most prone to peeling at the edges of a piece of furniture, so avoid brushing up against the edges. Also, just because your piece isn’t real wood doesn’t mean it’s not subject to water damage. Use a coaster when setting cups or other liquid-containing items on your laminate furniture to prevent moisture from coming into contact with the surface.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 09:26 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 19 2014

Remove Ink Stains from Leather

“Leather and the Ink Spot” sounds like a rock group, but if the duo is ink on your new leather vest, you won’t be happy until they part ways. Before you try to break them up, first determine what kind of leather and what kind of ink you must separate.

Types of Leather

  • Suede: stop reading and take your garment to a professional dry cleaner that specializes in cleaning suede.
  • Smooth leather: test cleaning methods in an inconspicuous place and proceed with care. If your garment or accessory is very expensive and you will be devastated if you ruin it, take it to a professional cleaner.
  • Vinyl or pleather: begin cleaning.

Types of Ink

  • Ballpoint pen: proceed with cleaning method.
  • Felt tip marker: proceed with cleaning method.
  • Permanent ink or marker: consider having your garment dyed to match the stain or a darker shade. Permanent ink cannot be removed from leather without causing a great deal of damage to the garment. Professional dry cleaners or shoe repair shops can dye leather.

Cleaning Method

Isopropyl alcohol, plain old rubbing alcohol, works best for home removal of ink stains from leather. Fresh ink stains are easier to remove and usually come out easily, while older stains may require repeat treatments. Leather is porous and the stain can penetrate deep into the hide.

Begin by dampening a white cotton cloth or cotton swab with the alcohol. Don’t use a colored cloth because it can transfer dye to light colored leather. Work from the outside of the stain toward the middle by dabbing with the cloth. Keep the work area small – do not spread the ink into a bigger area!

You should be able to see the ink transfer to the cloth. Dampen a clean area of the cloth or get a new swab as you see ink coming off to prevent re-staining the garment. Gently, keep blotting away until the ink is gone. Do not scrub harshly as that can remove color and a layer of the leather.

Need your leather re dyed?  Call Furniture EMT Maryland today, we will evaluate your leather an offer the best methods of restoring the color.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 19 2014

Question: How do I Remove Stains from Suede Leather?

Suede is created from the underside of the leather hide. The fibers are treated and raised to create its trademark soft and velvety feel. Professional cleaning is recommended for large or heavily oily stains. But some stains can be successfully removed at home using extra care. Always test a small, hidden area first to check for any damage or discoloration.


To remove a stain that is already dry: Use a clean, soft cloth to gently rub the area and remove any dried on surface stain. The cloth will also restore some of the texture to the nap. If stain remains, gently rub the area with a pencil eraser or art gum eraser. As a last resort for tough stains, use an emery nail file to gently rub the area. After each step, brush the stained area with a suede brush to restore and smooth the nap. Again, test these steps on an inside seam before you tackle the outside of the garment.

To remove an oily stain: As soon as possible, sprinkle the stain with baby powder, foot powder or cornstarch to absorb the oil. You should see the powder begin to look oily and then brush it away with a soft brush. Repeat the process until the powder no longer changes color or texture. Next, brush well to restore the nap of the suede.

To remove a wet stain: Use a clean, soft cloth to blot away as much moisture as possible. Put the cloth directly over the stain and apply some pressure to draw the moisture away from the suede and into the cloth. Keep turning the cloth to a clean, dry area and continue blotting. When no more moisture is transferring, allow the suede to dry completely. If the stain is gone, just use a suede brush to restore the nap. If the stain remains, follow the steps recommended for a dry stain.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 19 2014

How to Remove Water Stains from Wood Furniture

You don’t have to panic when a steaming cup of coffee, sloshed water, or some other liquid leaves a mark on your wood furniture. Most of the time, getting the piece back to its original condition is fairly easy. The first thing you have to do is determine how deep the damage is. You can tell that by the color of the stain or water mark.

Stains and marks made by liquid or steam are usually white or light-colored. That means that they haven’t penetrated much more deeply than through the waxed or polished surface. When the stain is dark, however, it indicates that the liquid has penetrated through the finish on the wood and possibly through to the wood itself. If this is the case, you have more of a fix on your hands.

Here are some ways to treat light-colored stains. Start with the first, and if it doesn’t work, then try the next step:

1.Rub the area with an oily furniture polish, mayonnaise, or petroleum jelly.

The goal is to displace the water mark with the oil. If the stain disappears, good; skip to Step 6. If the stain is still there, try Step 2.

2.Put a little toothpaste on a wet cloth and rub the stain gently until the spot disappears.

Toothpaste sometimes contains a mild abrasive that will help get rid of the stain. If toothpaste does the job, skip to Step 6.

3.If the stain is still there, mix equal amounts of baking soda and toothpaste together to make a slightly stronger, yet still mild, abrasive and rub that mixture on the stain.

Depending on the size of the stain, 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon of each should do the trick. Apply a little more pressure than you did in Step 2. If the stain is gone, go to Step 6; otherwise, proceed with Steps 4 and 5 for stubborn water marks.

4.Thoroughly clean the area.

5.Dip a soft cloth — an old T-shirt will do — into a mild solvent such as mineral spirits or paint thinner (odorless). Squeeze excess moisture from the cloth, and then rub gently until the stain is gone.

To make sure you won’t harm the surface, pretest the solvent on a finished underside of the furniture first. If the solvent doesn’t dissolve your finish, then it’s safe to work on the stain itself. If it does dissolve, don't use it.

6.After the water mark is gone, wax your table, chest, or chair.

Use a thin layer of paste wax and a clean, soft cloth. Although paste wax takes a little more work to apply, it leaves a nicer, longer-lasting finish than a liquid or cream wax.

After the paste wax thoroughly dries — give it half an hour — buff the piece with another soft, clean cloth until you have a rich, smooth patina.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 11 2014

How can I get static electricity out of my couch?

I recently bought a new couch that has a real problem with static electric buildup. What can I do to lessen/remove this? Is there a way to ground a couch? the buildup is enough to make hair stand up with minimal touching of the couch. i'm not rubbing my arm on it for 5 minutes to get this to happen. Just sit, stand up. you'll discharge on something. i sat down with my laptop and got stung twice just during the motion of sitting.

Fabric softener sheets and sprays are temporary fixes.

The winter season brings much dryer air which enables static buildup on your couch (and other things in your house too). With more humid air, the charge buildup will disappate into the air and things will remain at a more even state. No more shocks.

Turn on the humidifier that's on your furnace (or get one installed). The periodically need maintenance, new filters, clearing of water lines in order to continue to function. Sometimes you also need to turn a level on an air bypass line to get the air properly flowing through your furnace.

If you're in an older house or apartment with radiators, place a small pan with water in it on the radiator. You can also buy a table top humidifier for about $20. Doesn't matter which room you run it in as long as you keep the doors open between rooms.

Careful not to turn up the humidity too high if its extremely cold outside. If you start seeing condensation appear on your windows, you will want to slightly lower the humidity level lest the water buildup and runoff (over time) rots the wood at the bottom of your windows.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 03:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 06 2014

Remove Cigarette odors from fabric

Cigarette smoke coats walls, window treatments, and everything else exposed in a home, especially fabric furniture. Unfortunately not all fabric furniture can be cleaned using typical upholstery cleaning methods, but if cigarette smoke has permeated fabric furniture that cannot be cleaned with soap and water, you can still get rid of the smell. Try the following easy ways to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke on fabric furnishings. It is possible to completely get rid of the smell without getting rid of the furniture!

Begin by Vacuuming or Lint Rolling Fabric

If you have ever known or lived with someone who smokes, you probably already realize how the smoke residue sticks to everything. Clean any hard surface and you will find a brown film that is not always easy to remove. Cigarette smoke not only settles on hard surfaces, but it also clings to fabric and makes it smell like a dirty ashtray. Before trying any method to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke on fabric furnishings, it is important to vacuum or lint roll it first. Use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment, or if a vacuum is not available use a lint roller or tape. It will help get rid of the residue that settles on the fabric. After all, how can you get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke if the source is left behind?

Plastic Bag or Tarp Method

Natural odor absorbers can be used to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke on fabric-covered furnishings, but first it is necessary to completely wrap it in sealed but loosely fitting plastic. Tape together several large plastic trash bags or use a plastic tarp. Wrap the furniture in the plastic, and tape the edges with the exception of an opening large enough to accommodate a shallow bowl of one of the following natural odor absorbing products.

Natural Odor Absorbers

Ground dry coffee is a fantastic natural odor absorbing material, and it works well to get rid of even the strongest of odors. Fill a shallow bowl with freshly ground coffee, place the bowl in with the fabric item, and seal the plastic around it. Allow the ground coffee to remain sealed with the fabric furniture for at least 24 hours, depending on the severity of the smell. Once unwrapped, the material should have little or no trace of the smell of cigarette smoke.

Charcoal briquettes can also be used to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke on fabric furniture. Fill a shallow bowl with charcoal briquettes, and seal the plastic around the furniture as directed above. Allow the charcoal to remain wrapped with the furniture for at least 24 hours to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke on otherwise clean fabric furnishings.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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