Home Care

How To Clean Suede Furniture, Remove Water Rings, And More

Interior design and cleaning experts answer your questions on home care and decorating

Photography: Kurt Alvarez (Main Photo)

Cleaning and redecorating our homes can be daunting tasks. We are sometimes left with so much questions when doing activities such as dealing with delicate, hard-to-clean materials, or sometimes you get confused as to where to begin decorating a room. Good thing the owner of the Cleaning Diva, Marivic Arambulo, and Interior Designer Anla Li Tan are here to help! Read these experts' tips on how to manage your household.

Q: What’s the proper way to clean and maintain suede garments and furniture?

A: Suede is a fuzzy material that traps dirt and dust, so invest in a suede brush, which you can purchase at shoe repair stores. Every two weeks, vacuum the sofa or furniture for any crumbs and visible dirt. Then, lightly brush the material using a suede brush to further remove any dirt and keep the material in good condition. As with any fabric, drink or food spills on suede must be immediately attended to by blotting with a paper towel. The older the stain, the more difficult it is to clean and remove. For more difficult stains, you will need to bring the item to a professional cleaner. —Marivic Arambulo

Q: What’s the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting, and when should either be done?

A: Sanitizing and disinfecting are often used interchangeably but they are two detergent processes of cleaning. Sanitizing is appropriate for items that may come in contact with food, such as chopping boards, kitchen sinks, and kitchen countertops. The germs and microorganisms on these items are effectively killed by sanitizing.

Disinfecting provides a deeper clean and removes the more harmful microorganisms. It’s usually done to high-contact areas, such as doorknobs, light switches, and TV remote controls, as well as high germ areas such as bathroom floors, kitchen floors, kitchen sponges, dish rags, toilets, and garbage cans.

In most cases, you still need to start with simple cleaning before sanitizing or disinfecting. Sweep or mop the kitchen floor first, then apply the disinfectant.

Sanitizing is recommended to be as frequent as cleaning, while disinfecting may be done twice a month or monthly. —Marivic Arambulo

Q: How do I remove white water rings from antique wooden furniture?

A: Nothing is more frustrating than having those unsightly white water rings on wooden furniture. But there’s no need to go to a furniture restorer for this. A basic staple from your kitchen is all you need: mayonnaise. Spread some mayonnaise (about two tablespoons) on a paper towel, lightly press on the watermark, and rub gently. The basic ingredients of mayonnaise— eggs, oil, vinegar, and lemon oil— replicate the chemical ingredients of your wooden furniture polish. The best part: It’s natural and will not harm your antique wooden furniture. Next time, remind guests and family members to use coasters. —Marivic Arambulo


Q: When redecorating a room, what’s the first thing to consider? Should I select a color for the walls or find my new furniture first?

A: First, check what particular style you want for your space. Do you want a country chic or ultra modern design? Industrial or country style? As soon as you decide on a theme, come up with a moodboard that has all your ideas and pegs to guide you throughout your makeover. You can go through your existing furniture pieces and decor, and assess which of them can still be reused or refurbished.

I also advise that you decide on three top picks when choosing wall colors, decor, or furniture pieces. This will definitely help your decision-making. At the same time, check furniture and decor stores for inspiration and pegs. Some store designs can help you visualize your dream home, which will efficiently narrow down your options in terms of what goes well with your preferred wall color vis-a-vis a certain furniture piece. —Anla Li Tan

Read the original article ("Household Help & Cleaning Tips") in the November 2016 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine. Log on to for more details.

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