Cleaning and Maintenance

Traditionally, bunk bed furniture is not exactly considered the height of wood craftsmanship and as a result there is usually little attention devoted to its cleaning and maintenance. It could be argued, however, that some of today's elaborate creations defy that notion and deserve the same level of attention you'd give to an ornate storage chest or an expensive desk. Be that how it may, by following some basic rules of furniture maintenance you'll ensure that your bunk bed -- however low or high you might rate it's value -- will serve you or your children for years and years to come. Here are three of the most common deterioration factors that afflict furniture and some tips on how to avoid or at least alleviate their negative impact.

Dust

Dust is abrasive and can contribute to creating a worn, dull surface over the years. It can also accumulate in carvings, cracks and grooves and make wood look dark and unattractive. Most authorities on the subject agree that the proper way to clean it is by using a clean, washable cloth made of soft, lint-free cotton, such as an old T- shirt, diaper, cheesecloth, piece of flannel etc. The cloth should have no buttons, zippers or anything that could scratch furniture surfaces. The fabric should be moistened with water or cleaning agent, but just enough to make dust adhere to it; if you can see any trace of liquid on the wood after you wipe, your cloth is too damp. Alternatively, you can use another cloth to remove the excess moisture. Dusting with dry cloth is not recommended; it will not really remove dust and will ultimately dull the finish.

Humidity

Changes in relative humidity are one of furniture's foremost enemies. Exposure to extremely dry air will cause the wood to lose moisture and shrink; a few tiny openings may appear on a solid wood surface, or, in a bit more extreme case, the entire bunk bed structure may become slightly shaky as a result of shrunken and consequently loosened joints. This will correct itself as the relative humidity rises, and the wood absorbs enough moisture to expand slightly. On the other hand, if relative humidity in your home gets too high, the furniture will absorb excess moisture from the air and expand, possibly causing a different set of problems, such as, for example, stuck drawers.

The best way to avoid these issues is by keeping relative humidity in your home within reasonable limits. Experts suggest trying to keep your home's temperature to 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, while relative humidity should be 50 percent to 55 percent. Specific levels, however, are not as important as avoiding radical swings in the temperature and the amount of moisture in the air. In practice, this does not require any additional measures to those you've probably already taken for your own comfort: adding humidifiers or vaporizing units to the air conditioning system to help stabilize the humidity level and using dehumidifiers during wet, rainy times and in damp rooms. Finally, a good piece of advice also is to avoid placing your bunk bed or loft bed near heat origins -- radiators, heat runs, fireplaces.

Light

Light is probably the most dominant of the factors that cause damage to furniture. That is especially true of direct sunlight; the ultraviolet rays of the sun can damage a finish and bleach the wood underneath. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can even cause the finish to crack. The simplest solution, of course, is to keep your bunkbed out of direct sunlight. That probably won't always be possible, but you should at least try to reduce the amount of light streaming on your bunk bed by using window shades, drapes or blinds during the time of day the furniture is exposed. Those inclined to more serious solutions might also consider using UV screening films or tinting windows, and if you really want to go radical, planting some shrubs in front of your windows is another way to go.

You can find more information regarding furniture care and maintenance by visiting the following pages:

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