I recently purchased a dresser from an antique store. When I got it home I discovered they threw in a little something extra for me…a rat’s nest. Yes, you read that correctly. Now let me tell ya, I’ve picked in some pretty dirty places where you might expect this sort of thing. However, purchasing it from a nice antique store was unexpected and definitely a first for me. Let me state for the record this dresser was not painted.
A few days later, I was at another antique mall and spotted a really cute painted dresser. As I was inspecting it, I opened up one of the drawers to discover dirt, cob webs as well as a spider. Now, who knows…Charlotte may have just crawled in there, but it was evident the other mess had been there a while. I was a little grossed out and reminded of my previous incident so I didn’t bother to look through the rest of the drawers. I just moved on to the next booth.
On my drive home I started thinking about dealers that take short cuts. I know most dealers don’t, but it’s unfortunate that some certainly do. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because they are new at this or the flea market type malls are not as strict. It always sends up a red flag for me. It makes me wonder if a dealer doesn’t take the time to clean then have other steps been skipped in the process. Whether a piece of furniture is painted or left in the original condition it should be clean and ready to place in a customer’s home.
Yesterday, we thought it would be a good idea to post a booth tip regarding this topic. We shared it on our Facebook page. It definitely generated a lot of buzz, so we asked our readers to share some of the ways they clean their furniture and we thought we would share them here.
I know we all have our own way of doing things. It was interesting to read through the comments for dealer techniques and tips. I will certainly be putting some of these tips to good use on future projects.
The first step I take when getting furniture ready for my booth is to give it a good cleaning. Well, most items anyway. You never know where something has been. It may have been stored in a musty basement or dusty attic or rescued from a heavy smoker. Some items I clean with vinegar and water. For other items, I like to use a product called: Krud Kutter. Just about all the chalk paints are no prep, but you still want to wipe your furniture down to remove any traces of grease, dirt, and grime. If you skip this step, the paint will not adhere properly. Mineral Spirits is also a good one.
If it is a dresser, I remove all the drawers to get in the back of the dresser. I turn it upside down so any items that may have been lost will fall out. You will be surprised at some of the things you find. I have found loose change, love letters, old photos, jewelry and even a $20 bill once.
I make sure to clean under pieces for those stubborn egg sacks and cob webs. I also check under tables and ledges as I seem to always find dried gum or stickers. The better an item looks, the more professional you look. Treat your furniture pieces as if they were going in your home.
Here are some of our favorite comments, tips, and advice! These were all left by our Facebook readers.
~Stephanie Thomas: I will give my furniture drawers a peroxide wash to kill the old smells. Nothing more offsetting than that old musty odor.
~Linda Wartick Jernigan: I wash down with Murphys Oil Soap and follow up with lemon oil if the piece isn’t going to be painted. Any nicks are touched up with a furniture marker, water rings are treated. My booth items build my reputation. I want clients to be able to carry it home and immediately put it in their home and be proud. And I want them to come back!
~Rebekah Bronico: We use the air hose to get all the dirt and cob webs out after we are done sanding then give it a good wipe down.
~Terry Lea: We ask all our dealers and consignors to make sure their pieces are clean, free of odors, dirt, grease, etc. And we pretty much dismantle our pieces (remove all drawers, doors, etc.) and clean them before painting. I’ve turned pieces over on their backs and hosed off/sponged off bottoms that were full of webs, egg sacks, and dirt.
Now, in fairness, I will say we have some elusive spiders in our shop that rival Charlotte (of Charlott’s Web) in their nocturnal spinning abilities, and if we don’t stay on top of them, they can quickly get quite a fantastic array of webs built in a few spots around the shop. But a rat’s nest? That’s a totally different story. Ewww.
~Barbara Loeb McMahon: Just open every drawer and wash with soap and water. If it is really stained and looks bad, paint them!
~Gay Cordes: I use my high powered leaf blower to clean all my furniture before I do anything. Love Howard orange oil cleaner, Murphy’s oil soap. Love to line drawers with paper that I use a couple drops of essential oils.
~Julianne Blanford: I use an old paint brush to clean drawers etc. (I don’t have an air hose) I am in love with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers!
~Tracey Martin: Oh my stars!!!! I would never!!! However, this has brought to my mind to open drawers and check out my furniture if it’s been sitting in the booth awhile. I always dust them off, but have never taken that extra step, but will now!
~Barbara Condon Nesmith: I dust with a big paint brush-gets into those little corners on pictures and statues. I smell wooden pieces-if it smells like Mildew I won’t buy it! I cannot stand that odor.
~Emily Kerley: I use TSP inside and out.
I personally have not used TSP. But I have friends that use it. It’s very affordable and does the trick!