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Tending to Wickerwork

Tending to Wickerwork Most woven furniture is made from one or more of five types of fibers (down), each requiring a different method of cleaning. Scrub rattan with a soft-bristle brush dipped in warm, soapy water. Mist unfinished rattan once a year with a garden hose to keep it from drying out and becoming brittle. Do not hose rattan that has been painted or coated with a clear finish, rattan used in combination with fibers other than cane, or wood furniture accented with rattan; rather, moisten the rattan component of the furniture with a damp cloth. Mist cane with water,…

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Reviving Wood Finishes

Reviving Wood Finishes Most wood surfaces are protected by some sort of coating, ranging from clear varnishes on fine paneling to paints that mask the utilitarian woods of interior trim and exterior siding. Methods for cleaning them depend on the type of finish. Paint: Exterior painted surfaces can be scrubbed down by hand, or by a power washer. Interior surfaces can be washed with an all-purpose household detergent; wring out the cloth or sponge until it is almost dry. Clear Finishes: Maintain clear finishes on furniture and paneling—including varnish, lacquer, shellac, and oilby routine polishing and quick cleaning of spills….

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An Arsenal of Cleaning Tools

As with any task, cleaning is easier when you have the proper tools. For major jobssuch as buffing floors or scouring heavily soiled masonry you may need to rent specialized equipment; but for most tasks, a basic set of implements is all you’ll need (below and page 12). To obtain top-quality tools, consider a trip to a janitorial supply store. Besides these items, keep on hand a few other implements. A flexible- blade putty knife is ideal for scraping candle wax and chewing gum from hard surfaces. For mixing cleaning compounds, choose a polyethylene pail rather than a metal one,…

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A Battery of Cleaning Products

Most cleaners fall into five general categories based on similarity of function. A few special cleaners, however, are one of a kind, designed to solve individual problems (opposite). Abrasives: Gritty compounds containing mineral particles, abrasives are sometimes mixed with detergent, bleach, or other substances. Suitable for cleaning and polishing met­als, they are often present in scouring powders for clean­ing and brightening surfaces such as ceramic tile and porce­lain plumbing fixtures. Abrasives work by dislodg­ing dirt, then the detergent in the mixture lifts the dirt par­ticles from the surface. Use care when cleaning plastic, fiberglass, imitation marble, or chrome with abrasives—…

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