If you have an eye for design and a sense of creativity, there may be some occasions where you find a beautiful piece of used furniture and decide you just have to have it. Whether it’s a true antique or a high-quality second-hand piece, it can be satisfying to feel like you’ve found a treasure.
That treasure, however, might have a few flaws. Namely, you might not know where it came from, whether there are bugs lurking in the upholstery, or there are some hidden stains to take care of.
Before you do anything else on this list, check to see if the furniture has removable covers. Many pieces do, so you can take them off, wash them, and let them dry in the sun.
It’s definitely possible to bring used furniture back to life and make it sanitary, with the following tips.
One of your first priorities, when you’re cleaning a new-used piece of furniture, is getting rid of any potential pests that may be hanging out in it.
You should look for not only signs of the bug themselves but also things like bug droppings.
Even if you don’t see anything, it’s a good idea to do some pest treatment on a used piece of furniture.
First, spray it with a bug spray. If you have pets, you might want to use vinegar and water rather than bug spray because it’ll be safer for them.
Let the furniture stay outside for at least 24 hours or until it’s dry and then wipe it down lightly with disinfectant.
Dealing with Smells
If you bring home a piece of furniture that has smells, you can eliminate them.
First, get fresh boking soda and place it in whatever the piece of furniture is that you want to get rid of an odor in. This includes not only upholstered furniture but things like chests and storage cabinets as well.
While the baking soda is sitting inside the furniture, bring it outside.
Then, after a few hours, get your vinegar and water solution again and wipe down everything with a rag.
If for some reason, you can’t leave the furniture outside, you can place it next to a dehumidifier.
Leaving old furniture out in the sun is one of the best overall ways to clean it because the UV rays help any odors, but they also kill bacteria.
If you’re adding baking soda to upholstery, make sure you rub it in really well to get rid of deep odors.
Then, after you’ve let it sit in the sun or by a dehumidifier, vacuum out the baking soda.
If you discover your find has mold, you can get rid of it fairly easily.
You’ll probably need to use a mold remover and all-purpose cleaner in this case.
Put it in a spray bottle, spray it directly on the surface where there’s mold, and then wipe it down and let it dry outside.
You may have to repeat this process until the mold is entirely gone.
Deep Enzyme Cleaners
In some cases, for particularly tricky pieces of furniture, you might want an enzyme cleaner.
An enzyme cleaner can break down the bacteria that causes odors and is helpful for stubborn smells that linger.
There are specific enzyme cleaners for particular materials such as cotton versus leather.
A great way to get down into all the nooks and crannies of a piece of used furniture is a steam cleaner. You can rent a steam cleaner and the heat will help remove bacteria and stains.
Another option is to get furniture professionally cleaned. It can actually be a good idea to do this to all your furniture on a regular basis.
Professional upholstery cleaners can help remove oils, and they will also make sure they keep the colors from fading.
Professional cleaners usually either steam clean or dry-clean furniture, and the costs vary depending on the size of the piece, the condition it’s in and the fabric.
The cost to clean a sofa is usually anywhere from $70 to $80, and even a large sectional usually won’t cost any more than $150.
These tips can help make your treasure-hunting a little more enjoyable since you don’t have to worry about critters and bacteria living in your finds. With a few steps or professional cleaning, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with fresh, clean furniture without giving up your love for thrift stores or second-hand purchases.