The vast majority of individuals have some non-wood furniture that looks like wood in their homes or workplaces. A kitchen cabinet, table, or bookcase may fit this category. Likely, it’s MDF, a type of waterproof composite wood product manufactured from wood fibers, glue, and wax. Flat-pack furniture and cabinet doors are famous for this. MDF is commonly used because it is cheap, generally available, and may be found in various sizes when entirely natural wood items are limited. Its resistance to the effects of humidity is also noteworthy, as is the fact that it can be squeezed into complex shapes during production.
On the downside, its engineering construction makes it heavy, and the material can wear out the screws that hold it together. Therefore, it is difficult and perhaps damaging to move it about for cleaning purposes. Additionally, there are additional difficulties to consider while cleaning and maintaining MDF furniture; yet, with a few simple steps, your MDF furniture may survive for many years.
Tip #1: Make sure your MDF is in good condition by inspecting it thoroughly.
Examine your furniture for wear and tear before you start cleaning it. Significant signs of compromised MDF include scrapes, lumps and bumps or swelling, and cracks in the material; extra care will be required to make sure no additional damage comes from cleaning. Be on the lookout for loose screws or other signs of wear, as they may indicate that the structure’s stability has deteriorated to the point that it needs to be repaired.
Understand the difference between water-resistant and waterproof. Moisture might easily seep into the MDF below if your furniture has a damaged protective surface. While MDF is resistant to high humidity, serious and often irreparable issues arise once water penetrates the core. MDF’s natural resistance to water damage can be improved by applying a finish that isn’t water-based.
Tip #2: Take special care when tending to damaged areas.
If you don’t take adequate care of your MDF furniture, it can develop a number of defects. MDF can deteriorate into twisted, bent, bloated, and shattered parts after being exposed to water. Thorough cleaning will not be possible until some of the damage has been fixed.
Reshaping, sanding, or fixing with glue or wood putty may be required to repair damaged areas. Sanding and cutting, in particular, can release formaldehyde and small particles from the MDF core. Therefore care must be given while working with it. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that is employed in numerous production processes. You may find safety equipment like masks at any hardware or home improvement store. Once the damage has been fixed, and the wood has dried, you can clean your furniture using a mild mixture of dishwashing soap and water using a soft, non-abrasive sponge or towel.
Tip #3: Carefully select your cleaning supplies.
A gentle approach is the most appropriate. Since MDF, as well as its protective covering, is susceptible to being easily scratched or scarred, it is recommended to use gentle dishwashing soap and dilute it further to ensure that the finished mixture is one part cleaner to two parts clean water. Avoid using harsh chemicals, bristle brushes, or abrasive scrubbers on your furniture, as these can harm the finish and spoil the piece’s appearance, especially if water leaks in and presents a problem.
Rather, select soft sponges and other non-scratchy towels. Pure cotton or microfiber are the best and are acceptable to use on MDF finishes. Before using the towel to clean your furniture, squeeze out as much water as possible so that it is merely damp and soapy. Reduce the potential for harm by soaking up any puddles right away using a clean towel or a gentle, dry cloth.
Tip #4: Be careful not to put the chemical on the surface directly.
It is best to use a dry, non-abrasive cloth, like microfiber, to remove dust and loose debris from the surface before applying the soapy cloth. You can also accomplish this with a cotton cloth. Carefully remove any dry debris that may leave marks or scratches on the protective layer by vacuuming it with a handheld vacuum nozzle attachment.
Next, clean the surface with the soap solution, taking care not to get any on the furniture itself. Instead, wet cloth or sponge with the solution, wring out the excess liquid, and gently wipe the furniture, being careful not to let any of the cleaning solution leak or seep into cracks or spaces where hinges or other hardware may be. After that, use a damp towel soaked in plain water to clean the area once more and remove any residual soap.
Tip #5: Cleaning and dry the surface.
Finish off the cleaning and maintenance of your MDF furniture by wiping down the surfaces with a dry cloth made of a non-abrasive material like cotton or microfiber to remove any lingering surface moisture. It is recommended to finish this cleaning procedure even if there is no apparent moisture.
In the event that water has made its way through a little scratch or a gap in the protective coating, you should dry it out as soon as possible. Fans, as well as a dehumidifier, can help with this by increasing ventilation. While opening windows may seem like a good idea, but not if the weather forecast is for high humidity or rain. If you give your MDF furniture the occasional TLC it deserves, it may remain a beautiful part of your home or workplace for decades.