A Guide to Cleaning Historic Properties
The Victorian era (1837 to 1901) marked Los Angeles’ transformation from a small town to a huge and bustling metropolis. Although thousands of homes were constructed during this period, only a handful remain today. Whether you own a Victorian or more recent period property, landlords and property managers need to take special care cleaning and looking after these unique and historic homes.
Natural cleaning products
Conventional cleaning products are typically too harsh to use in period homes. It’s therefore important to equip yourself with suitable, reliable products that keep your property clean and fresh without damaging furniture and woodwork. For example, non-toxic and a natural antimicrobial, vinegar can be used to combat mold and stubborn stains. It’s suitable for use on antique glass and metal and stainless steel. Natural waxes like beeswax or carnauba wax are also effective cleaners and polishers; apply them sparingly to your furniture with a soft cloth roughly every three months. Baking soda is another useful item that can be used for general cleaning, as well as to freshen up off-smelling furniture without causing damage.
Regular vacuuming and dusting
Regular general cleaning is essential for keeping dust and dirt under control in period properties. In particular, vacuum your property at least once a week; this eradicates dust that can destroy period furniture. Also dust furniture with a feather duster with soft feathers (stiff or broken quills can scratch). If left to build up over time, dust attracts moisture which damages varnish and eventually the wood. Dust also marks and scratches wood, as well as attracts pests like woodworm. Regularly check your property for moths, which are a nightmare for soft furnishings like bedding, carpets, and drapes. Get rid of any larvae you find.
Tackling carpet and upholstery
Unlike newer carpets and upholstery, vintage or antique pieces require special care to be kept in excellent condition. Knowing how to clean these tricky items correctly will help you avoid damage and preserve them for longer. In particular, carpet and rugs should be regularly vacuumed to remove loose dirt, bacteria, and dust mites. Otherwise, over time, dirt becomes deeply embedded in the fibers, resulting in significant — potentially irreversible — damage.
Always vacuum gently with the direction of the pile and avoid beating the carpet. Rugs should also be thoroughly cleaned twice yearly — hire a professional to ensure this is done safely. Similarly, upholstered furniture should be vacuumed with an upholstery brush as part of your general cleaning routine. When it comes to accidental spillages, these should be immediately blotted up with a cloth to avoid significant damage occurring. You’ll then likely have to hire a professional cleaner to either remove the stain or otherwise reupholster the furniture.
While the process of caring for period homes is different to newer ones, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming amount of work. Maintaining a regular cleaning routine and knowing how to care for sensitive items is the best way to ensure your property stays in tip-top condition.