Experts reveal 7 surprising ways you're ruining your furniture

ShutterstockSometimes cleaning your furniture can do more harm than good.
  • We spoke to a range of experts to find out common things that could be damaging or warping your furniture.
  • Overcleaning your furniture can make it look worse over time.
  • Not being proactive about furniture upkeep, like checking for damage, can also reduce the lifespan of your furniture.
  • You should always store your furniture in climate-controlled spaces and bring outdoor furniture cushions indoors during wet, cold weather.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Furniture is oftentimes a major investment, so it’s important to take proper care of it if you want it to last.

Here are some common mistakes that could be ruining your furniture and how to avoid them, according to experts.


Overcleaning your furniture can cause it to look worse over time.

ShutterstockTry spot cleaning instead.

Jennifer Litwin, author of “Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever!” and “Furniture Hot Spots: The Best Furniture Stores and Websites Coast to Coast,” told Insider it’s possible to go overboard with cleaning – and it can harm your furniture.

“The problem is that overcleaning or professional cleaning can pull the surface off the fabrics, including supple leathers that naturally develop a beautiful patina over time,” she said.

Instead, she suggests you try spot cleaning pieces using mild dish soap and a soft rag.


Keeping outdoor cushions outside during cold or wet weather isn’t always a wise idea.

ShutterstockWhen not in use, you might want to store cushions indoors.

Litwin told Insider that even if you have protective covers on your outdoor cushions, the elements can wreak havoc on them.

“Moisture can stay trapped inside and stain or mildew perfectly great cushions,” she said, adding that you might want to store them indoors.


You should always have your upholstered pieces treated with a stain protector.

ShutterstockDoing so can save you money in the long run.

Whenever you purchase a piece of upholstered furniture, you may want to pay a bit extra and get it treated with a special stain protector.

“These items should be looked at as investments and to get the most for your money, a fabric treatment will prolong the lifespan of the item,” Iantha Carley, owner and principal designer at Iantha Carley Interiors in Silver Springs, Maryland, told Insider.


Placing real plants too close to or on top of your furniture may not be the best idea.

ShutterstockThe dirt and water from the pots can warp wood over time.

Christophe Pourny, author of “The Furniture Bible,” told Insider that even though plants look good on furniture, they can seriously wreak havoc on it.

To avoid this damage, he recommends watering your plants over the sink and away from furniture, buying plant pots that won’t leak, and thoroughly drying plant pots before placing them back near your furniture.

Additionally, he suggests placing a waterproof, soft coaster beneath potted plants to avoid damaging your furniture surfaces or floors.


Regularly checking your furniture for loose screws or small tears can save you trouble in the future.

ShutterstockFixing a small tear is much easier than repairing a huge rip.

Pourny said you should regularly inspect your furniture, for loose screws, small tears, and other minor issues.

“You should look around and under furniture, check stability and joinery, and look for any damage,” he said. “The sooner you catch a problem, the better chance you have at fixing it. Damage undetected only gets more severe with time.”


Using cleaning sprays on your furniture is usually not necessary.

ShutterstockOver time, chemical cleaners can destroy the finish on your furniture.

Pourny said you really don’t need to use a chemical spray or polish as long as you’re regularly dusting off your furniture.

“There is no need for any cleaning product when you are dusting your furniture on a regular basis,” he told Insider. “Oils, even the natural ones, silicones, and dusting sprays will create build-up, attract and catch more dust, and end up ruining your finish at long term by seeping through down to the wood.”


You could be damaging furniture by storing it in your basement, garage, or attic.

ShutterstockOftentimes these areas aren’t climate controlled.

Pourny told Insider that basements, attics, and garages usually aren’t climate-controlled, which could damage your furniture.

“Basically any place you will store your furniture can be a recipe for disaster since those places are usually too humid, too dry, too hot, or too cold,” he told Insider.

For example, humidity can warp wooden furniture and certain high temperatures can cause fabrics to fade.

To avoid this, you may want to keep furniture in a climate-controlled storage facility or have it specially treated by professionals before stowing it away for a long period.

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