Spring Cleaning

The days are growing longer, the tulips are in bloom and yard sale signs are popping up faster than the dandelions. Spring has arrived and you know what that means. Time to do some spring cleaning!
This year as you refresh your home, remember that your antiques and collectibles need attention too. Here are some simple solutions to get you started.
The task of cleaning wicker furniture is one that may seem intimidating at first glance. But, it is really quite simple. First remove the surface dust with the brush attachment on your vacuum. For those stubborn deposits in the crevasses on the wicker, use a clean paint brush and if you still have some pieces of  “fuzz” in those hard to reach places, try removing them with a pair of tweezers. Once the surface dust is removed, wipe down the wicker with oil soap and warm water applied with a soft brush, then gently rinse with a garden hose. Set the wicker in the shade for 2-3 hours on a day with a gentle breeze to dry. Refrain from using it for 2-3 days. This process will not only clean the wicker but it will help to tighten the strands.
Vintage linens are fun to use and growing in popularity as a collectible. For many years I passed up good deals at estate sales due to minor stains or discoloration. Then one day a friend turned me on to this trick. Soak your linens for 30-60 minutes in 2 to 3 denture cleaning tablets, rinse and then launder as usual. While most vintage linens have undergone years of washing and fading will no longer be an issue, I would err on the side of caution when mixing bright colors, especially reds.
Before you put those Polident tablets away, here is another tip. I have a number of pressed glass vases that belonged to my grandmother that I love to keep filled with fresh flowers. Over the years some have developed a ring from the water line. This is a quick fix. Fill your vase with very warm water and drop in 1-2 denture cleaning tablets, leave for 10 minutes and rinse.  If your vases have clouded from age, pour 1-2 inches of uncooked rice into the vase, fill the remaining space half way with warm water and two drops of dish soap. Cover and shake gently for several minutes.
Even with regular dusting, wood furniture will, over time, accumulate a grime that requires a deeper cleaning. Following the instructions on the bottle, make a mixture of oil soap and water. The trick here is to only moisten the wood, not to soak it, so use a sponge as opposed to a cloth. With the sponge slightly moistened, wash the wood going with the grain, then immediately wipe with a second sponge moistened in clear water and thoroughly dry the piece with a soft, lint-free cloth. As a precaution, test each piece of wood in a small inconspicuous place before doing the entire piece.
I love candle light and use my brass and silver candlestick holders often. Last Christmas, exhausted from the festivities,  I put my good brass candlesticks away without a thorough cleaning, leaving them covered with wax rundowns. If you have this problem,  place your candle sticks in the freezer for 3-4 hours and watch as the wax pops right off. After they are polished and ready to use, spray the inside of the sconce with just a touch of cooking spray. This will prevent the wax from sticking to the metal and make for easier cleanup in the future..
Still have questions on the care and cleaning of your antiques? One of my favorite online sources is “Antique HQ”. Check them out at www.antique-hq.com. Until next time…Linda

Linda Kennett  is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the valuation of estates and may be reached at 317-258-7835 or lkennett@indy.rr.com