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Furniture plays an important part in our lives and in our homes. That is why it is essential to care for our furniture to ensure its longevity and cleanliness. By using a little common sense, a little patience and some elbow grease, our home furnishings will last several lifetimes. Here are a few basic tips to keep our home furnishings looking their best:
1.) Keep cane chairs and furniture away from extreme heat situations and areas with low  humidity
These conditions could cause the cane to dry out and become brittle and break. Also direct sunlight and heater ducts are areas to be avoided. Consider using a humidifier in the winter which can be especially helpful to keep the air moist and not too dry.
2.)Distribute the weight evenly on the seat.
A cane seat is intended to take evenly distributed weight of the person sitting on the seat, not concentrated weight, like a knee or foot. So NEVER kneel on a cane seat or use it as a ladder or step stool. Doing so will cause the cane strands to break and the seat will need to be rewoven prematurely.
3.) Is your seat sagging?
Cane has natural elastic properties, but eventually the caned seat will begin to sag with heavy or prolonged use. It is important to tighten the cane or it will begin to wear and break along the inside edge of the seat frame, both on the sides and front and back edges.
Cane seats that are not too badly stretched or that are free of broken strands, can be revived by turning the chair upside-down and applying a warm, wet cloth to the underside of the cane seat. Let the cloth and cane dry naturally overnight. Remove the cloth and turn chair upright and don’t let anyone sit on it for at least 48 hours. This treatment will dry and shrink the cane, tightening it up in the process, taking the pressure off the inside wooden edges.
An alternative solution would be to use a spray water bottle and spritz the seat thoroughly with warm water. Then let the seat dry overnight and as it dries the cane will shrink and pull tightly once again. Don’t allow anyone to sit on chair seat for at least 48 hours until it’s completely dry.
This tightening process is most effective when used regularly within the first five years of recaning and won’t work at all if there are several broken strands. Using this preventative method three or four times a year should be sufficient to help prolong the life of your cane seat chair for many years.
4.) Keep seats clean.
Clean grimy or dirty cane seats with a wood soap such as Murphy’s or mild detergent in warm water, using a soft cloth or perhaps a soft bristle brush.
Take care not to damage the wood surface with the water. Rinse well and then let the seat dry naturally on a warm, windy day to eliminate the possibility of mold and mildew setting in which will damage and stain the cane. Do not sit on the seat for at least 48 hours; otherwise the cane will stretch out of shape.
5.) Mold and mildew on your cane seat?
If you notice mold or mildew growing on your cane furniture, use a strong solution of bleach in warm soapy water to clean. Then rinse well and dry outdoors in the sunshine on a warm, windy day. Be careful not to spill the bleach solution on any surrounding wooden frame parts and wipe off any wooden surfaces immediately.
6.) Cane furniture storage and usage tips.
Do not store or use cane or wicker furniture in high humidity areas or in wet areas where mold and mildew can present a problem. Basements, crawl spaces, up next to a wall, or on the porch pushed up next to the wall of the house where the furniture does not get adequate air circulation are places to avoid.
7.) No need for final finish treatments of varnish, stain or lacquer on newly rewoven cane seats.
Because chair cane has a naturally glossy finish, traditionally cane seats are left unfinished to allow the cane to absorb moisture in the air and remain flexible, expanding and contracting. Although cane will darken with age on its own to a nice honey-brown golden color, it will take several years to achieve this.
If you feel you must apply some sort of finish, high oil content furniture polish products can be used successfully; lemon oil, orange oil and mineral oil. Occasionally, tung oil varnish or even wax furniture polish are used as a finish on the cane without harmful affects.
8.) With reasonable care, attention and use, your cane-seated chair should last from 5-25 years.
But if you notice a few broken strands or a hole becoming bigger, place a padded cushion over the seat to gain many more months or even years of use. I recommend to all my customers that they keep using the chair until the entire seat (or large portion of it) fails, before they have it rewoven.
9.) Maintenance & cleaning of Hyacinth furniture
Water Hyacinth is so durable that it can be vacuumed for dust or for major spills please follow these instructions.
1. Remove all upholstery
2. Wash the furniture using a mild soap, lukewarm water and a soft cloth
3. Use a nylon brush to remove dry food or mud etc
4. A paint thinner can be used to remove tougher stains
5. Place the furniture outside or in a drying room to dry.
Special Notes: Water Hyacinth is a natural hand dyed material and colour variations are part of it’s beauty. Chocolate and Charcoal coloured Water Hyacinth is a stained natural product and colours may vary.
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