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How to care for materials (K to Z)


hat are the correct ways, methods, and the things to absolutely avoid doing when it comes to cleaning or caring for certain kinds of materials? How to prevent iron from rusting, copper from developing the unpleasant patina, cork from discoloration and denim from fading? In Part 1 of this series, we covered a wide range of materials and comprehensive instructions on how to care for them respectively.

Educating your customers on how to properly care for items they buy depending on the material will enhance their overall experience and also extend the lifespan of the offerings. So in continuation of Part 1, we bring to you yet another informative article detailing how to care for materials.

It is essential to polish silver items regularly with a silver polish cloth. This will prevent tarnishing. To minimize silver’s exposure to air, silver jewelry is recommended to be stored in a tarnish-resistant pouch or box. At all times, silver items should be kept away from chlorinated water or household cleaning products as the contaminants and chemicals can result in dulling the silver.

Highlight: ● Silver has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and healing properties ● Affordable and accessible compared to other precious metals Pro-tip: ● Store in a cool dry place i.e. air tight bags or small cases ● Use a microfiber cloth to clean silver To avoid: ● Exposure to chlorine water ● Contact with household cleaning & harsh chemicals

Check out Qalara’s range of silver products here.

A beacon of durability, stainless steel products can withstand corrosion and boast a 100% recyclability efficiency. The cost-effective material is also easy to maintain. Stainless steel cookware can be cleaned using water and a mild dishwashing soap. Other stainless steel essentials and surfaces can be wiped with a soft cloth and mild detergent, then dried thoroughly to prevent water spots. To maintain the shine or remove fingerprint marks, use polish and non-abrasive cleaning pads.

Highlight: ● Stainless steel is non-corrosive and rust resistant ● It is cost saving, maintenance-free, and 100% recyclable Pro-tip: ● Soak stainless steel cookware in warm soapy water just before washing it ● To fix discoloration, use water-diluted vinegar and a non-abrasive sponge over the affected area To avoid: ● Coarse scrubbers as these can lead to scratches on the surface ● Harsh cleaning solutions

Check out Qalara’s range of stainless steel products here.

Zinc jewelry has to be cleaned with a soft cloth and mild detergent, then dried thoroughly to prevent water spots. Applying a protective coating of wax or oil to zinc surfaces can prevent tarnishing and oxidation. Advice your customers against using abrasive cleaners or acidic substances on zinc objects as they may damage the finish.

Check out Qalara’s range of zinc products here.

Highlight: ● Zinc has great corrosion-resistance, is super affordable, and 100% recyclable ● This metal was used in antiquity to make coins, weapons, jewelry and more! Pro-tip: ● Use a dedicated brass polishing cloth to clean finer zinc jewelry ● Use a metal wadding polish on areas marked by fingerprints, faint corrosion, or patina To avoid: ● Abrasive cleaners ● Exposure to perfumes or essential oils

A tropical plant, mango wood is native to India, Myanmar and other regions in East Asia. These trees grow really fast and due to them being a by-product of the mango industry, the wood’s supply is plentiful. It is also very affordable in comparison to teak, mahogany, etc. A combination of damp cloth and mild soap is the best way to clean mango wood offerings.

Highlight: ● Mango wood is renowned for its strength and durability ● It is water-resistant Pro-tip: ● Apply wood conditioner to maintain lustre ● Can use edible oils such as olive or coconut oil for occasional coating To avoid: ● Harsh chemicals ● Extreme temperatures to prevent warping

Check out Qalara’s range of mango wood products here.

For cleaning purposes, MDF products should be wiped with a damp cloth. To prevent swelling, avoid prolonged exposure to water. Furniture polish or wax is used to maintain the finish along with wood filler and touch-up paint to repair scratches or any chips. Ensure that MDF items are protected from extreme temperature and humidity changes.

Highlight: ● MDF boards are termite resistant ● Due to its high density, MDF boards are inherently strong Pro-tip: ● Use furniture polish regularly ● Use damp cloth to clean To avoid: ● Prolonged exposure to water ● Exposure to extreme temperatures

Check out Qalara’s range of MDF products here.

For items made from natural or plant fibers, such as rattan, seagrass, or sisal, regular dusting with a soft brush or cloth is essential. Fibers can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth if stains occur and then air dried immediately afterwards. The trick is to always keep these items away from moisture to prevent resultant mold. Adequate storage in a dry, well-ventilated area is crucial.

Highlight: ● Rugs made out of sisal, a tough fiber, can last up to 15 years ● Natural fiber products are biodegradable and recyclable, making them eco-friendly alternatives Pro-tip: ● For rugs, sprinkle baking soda, let it sit and shake it out ● Spot clean for stains To avoid: ● Wringing ● Steaming or wet cleaning

Check out Qalara’s range of natural fiber products here.

Teak wood is renowned for its water and decay-resistant properties. Furniture and other products made from this mellow-colored tropical wood can be cleaned using a solution of mild detergent and water, then rinsed and dried thoroughly. To make teak wood shine, a protectant, teak oil or sealer can be applied annually. This shall also help maintain its natural color and protect against weathering. Avoid placing teakwood furniture in direct sunlight to prevent fading.

Highlight: ● Teak wood is porous, but the natural oils that it contains make it resistant to moisture and warping ● A valuable timbre, teak is highly durable and furniture made out of it can last up to 70 years! Pro-tip: ● To prevent discoloration and mildew growth, apply protective teak oil ● To treat any scratches, light to medium-grade sandpaper can be used To avoid: ● Exposure to direct sunlight ● Harsh cleaners when caring for teak wood furniture

Check out Qalara’s range of teak wood products here.

An invasive aquatic plant, water hyacinth is harvested and converted into valuable industrial items such as rugs, baskets, carpets, furniture, and handbags! Braided and interwoven, hyacinth products can be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth and mild detergent; then rinsed and air dried thoroughly. Prolonged exposure to moisture should be avoided as it can cause mold growth or weaken the fibers. To enhance durability, a protective sealant can be applied on to water hyacinth surfaces.

Highlight: ● Otherwise considered an invasive weed, free-floating ubiquitously on the surface of water, hyacinth can be utilized to make eco-friendly décor, furniture, and handicrafts ● Water hyacinth products are durable, naturally biodegradable, and non-toxic Pro-tip: ● Watchful exposure to sunlight can deter mold growth ● Regularly wipe water hyacinth products using a soft brush or a cloth To avoid: ● Exposure to moisture ● Rubbing stains as it may push the stain deeper into the fibers

Check out Qalara’s range of water hyacinth products here.

Woolen garments should be hand washed in cold water with a gentle detergent. Machine washing is permissible if the settings are on a delicate/wool/hand wash cycle. Post the wash, wool garments should be reshaped and the air dried flat. It is instructed to avoid wringing or twisting wool to prevent stretching or distortion. When embellished, it is best to dry clean wool items.

Highlight: ● Wool is naturally fire retardant ● It is also a 100% renewable and biodegradable fiber Pro-tip: ● Dry clean recommended ● Use cold water and mild detergent To avoid: ● Wringing or twisting ● Placing wool items in automatic dryers

Check out Qalara’s range of wool products here.

‘How to clean leather goods’ is a famously asked question. Supple and supremely durable, users will be happy to know that leather is very easy to repair & maintain. While it can be prone to scratches, scuffs and stretch marks, a little bit of leather oiling or conditioner shall do the trick. Keep leather away from formulations such as alcohol, fragrances, or dye and simply depend on warm water to spot clean whenever required.

Highlight: ● Supple and durable ● With proper care, leather products can last for a lifetime! Pro-tip: ● Store in well-ventilated space ● Apply leather conditioner for suppleness To avoid: ● Exposure to direct sunlight ● Exposure to moisture ● Washing leather in washing machine

Check out Qalara’s range of leather products here.

While macrame instantly gives a delightful boho spin to décor, the intricate knots of macrame must be handled with care. To prevent dust/dirt accumulation, macrame items must be dusted regularly with a soft brush. For deeper cleaning, it is advised to gently hand wash in lukewarm water with milk detergent

Highlight: ● Macrame cords are extremely strong and hence can be used for crafting weight bearing offerings such as planters and wall shelves Pro-tip: ● Spot clean ● Hand wash and air dry To avoid: ● Machine washing ● Harsh chemicals

Check out Qalara’s range of macrame products here.

Muslin is a loose plain-weave fabric made from cotton. Known for its fine, smooth, and soft texture, it is lightweight and breathable. Caring for muslin involves hand washing in cold water with a mild detergent, gently squeezing out excess water (avoid wringing), and air drying to prevent shrinkage. If required, it can be ironed on low heat with a pressing cloth.

Highlight: ● Muslin is a breathable fabric which is perfect to combat humidity ● Muslin is less expensive compared to other kinds of cotton fabrics Pro-tip: ● Hash wash muslin fabrics and air dry ● Iron on low heat To avoid: ● Wringing or twisting ● Direct sunlight as it can cause discoloration

Check out Qalara’s range of muslin products here.

Silk garments are recommended to be hand washed in cold water with a gentle detergent, and then air dried away from direct sunlight. Avoiding wringing or twisting silk can prevent stretching and distortion. Silk fabric must be ironed on a low heat setting with a cloth over it to prevent damage.

Highlight: ● Known for its strength, a fiber of silk is stronger than a steel wire of equal thickness ● Silk also happens to be hypoallergenic and antimicrobial Pro-tip: ● Iron with a cloth over the fabric ● Hand wash To avoid: ● Wringing or twisting ● Harsh detergents or chemical agents

Check out Qalara’s range of silk products here.

Velvet is made using a dense pile of evenly cut fibers. The texture of velvet is derived from the yarn in the pile fabric that tends to flatten and create an uneven appearance. Velvet upholstery and furnishings can be vacuumed regularly with a brush attachment to remove dust, debris, and lint. Spills on velvet should never be blotted. Stains can be spot cleaned immediately with a mixture of water and mild detergent without scrubbing excessively as this may crush the fibers. Simply shaking off excess moisture and air drying should do the trick.

Highlight: ● Velvet is super durable and a long-lasting fabric ● This luxurious fabric is used for a range of products from upholstery and décor to furnishings and apparel Pro-tip: ● Brush regularly to restore velvet’s pile and remove surface dirt ● Spot clean stains immediately To avoid: ● Aggressive rubbing or scrubbing ● Ironing. Rather use garment steamer to remove any wrinkles or creases

Check out Qalara’s range of velvet products here.

To let marble décor and lifestyle offerings exude long lasting elegance, they have to be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth and mild soap. Use of acidic or abrasive cleaners should be avoided as they can damage the surface. Marble furniture and countertops should also be periodically protected using sealant to avoid staining and to maintain luster.

Highlight: ● Each slab of marble is unique featuring one of its kind patterns and veining ● There are around 90+ different types of marble stones Pro-tip: ● Spot clean any spills immediately ● Use coasters & cutting boards to prevent stains and scratches on marble furniture To avoid: ● Use of acidic cleaners ● Using abrasive cleaning tools

Check out Qalara’s range of marble products here.

Ceramic ware can be of different kinds. Earthen ware, stoneware, terracotta, bone china, and porcelain are some examples. They differ based on color, strength, porosity, texture, tactility, and finishing. Porcelain is fired at a much higher temperature and is non-porous. Which is why porcelain items can be hand washed with mild dish soap and warm water. Harsh scrubbing or abrasive cleaners can damage the glaze and should be avoided. Porcelain items should be stored carefully to prevent chipping or breakage.

Highlight: ● A key component of porcelain is kaolinite which is responsible for lending porcelain its signature white color ● Porcelain is water resistant due to low porosity Pro-tip: ● Hand wash ● Store away carefully so that chipping and cracking is prevented To avoid: ● Harsh scrubbing ● Abrasive tools

Check out Qalara’s range of porcelain products here.

Maintaining the allure of semi-precious stone jewelry or other products involves cleaning them with a soft, damp cloth. This removes any accumulation of oils and dirt. Avoiding the use of harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners is also vital. They must be handled with care and stored away from direct sunlight to preserve their color.

Highlight: ● There are over 100 types of semi-precious stones that are used in jewelry-making ● More affordable and accessible due to their abundance Pro-tip: ● Clean using soft damp cloth ● Store separately to prevent scratching To avoid: ● Exposure to direct sunlight ● Exposure to harsh chemicals or perfumes as they can damage the stone’s surface

Check out Qalara’s range of semi-precious stones products here.

A type of metamorphic rock, soapstone is a talc-rich non-porous mineral stone. Similar to quartzite, marble or granite, soapstone has a natural beautiful veining pattern. Soapstone surfaces should be cleaned with a soft cloth that is dampened with mild soap and water. Periodic application of mineral oil can enhance its natural color and protect against stains. Harsh chemicals along with abrasive cleaners should be avoided as these can damage the soapstone surface.

Highlight: ● Soapstone can be recycled and remains durable for long ● Due to high amounts of talc, soapstone has a soap-like feel to it and is softer than other stones Pro-tip: ● Clean with a soft cloth, mild dish soap & water ● Regular oiling can enhance shine & color To avoid: ● Abrasive cleaners & harsh chemicals ● Heating soapstone cookware when empty, as it may lead to cracks

Check out Qalara’s range of soapstone products here.

When cared for appropriately, terracotta products can last for a very long time. Pots, planters and other offerings made from terracotta can be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth and mild detergent and then rinsed. In particular, terracotta pots can be submerged in a mixture of warm water and mild liquid soap and cleaned using a scrubbing brush. Excess suds can be rinsed off and the item can be air dried. To prevent water absorption and reduce the risk of cracking, a layer of sealant can be applied onto surfaces.

Highlight: ● Cookware made using terracotta has excellent heat-retention properties, keeping food warm for longer ● Terracotta is fully non-toxic and free of harmful chemicals Pro-tip: ● Clean with a gentle brush and mild detergent ● Apply a sealant layer to prevent cracking To avoid: ● Freezing temperatures ● Nesting the pots one inside the other as this may block air circulation

Check out Qalara’s range of terracotta products here.

Having recycled marble, quartz, shell, granite, glass and more in its composition with cement or epoxy as the binder, terrazzo emerges as a hard, eco-friendly, and impact-resistant material. Terrazzo products bring in great texture to decor and its surfaces can withstand staining and cracking. They can be cleaned with a soft cloth and mild detergent, then dried thoroughly to prevent water spots. Harsh acidic or abrasive cleaners can damage the surface. Using mild sealers periodically can protect terrazzo from stains and moisture penetration.

Highlight: ● Terrazzo products can have a lifespan of up to 100 years! ● Placing terrazzo items in sunlight can accentuate their different colors and textures Pro-tip: ● Clean with a soft cloth and mild detergent or a diluted neutral pH cleaner ● Use sealers to prevent moisture penetration To avoid: ● Harsh chemicals and abrasives ● Oil-based cleaning agents as they may discolor terrazzo

Check out Qalara’s range of terrazzo stone products here.

Resins are substances of natural or synthetic origin. These can be distinguished into various types such as plant resins, vinyl esters, epoxies, and polyurethanes. Resin-based décor or craft items can be cleaned with a soft cloth dampened with mild soap and water. Exposure to extreme heat or direct sunlight can cause warping or discoloration. Use coasters or felt pads to protect resin furniture from scratches.

Highlight: ● Resin is an important component in the production of incense and perfumes ● Eco-resins are biodegradable and environmental friendly options for the long run Pro-tip: ● Clean with a soft non-abrasive cloth regularly ● Store in a dry place for moisture-prevention To avoid: ● Exposure to direct sunlight as the resin can soften ● Hot water to clean can make the resin product lose its shape

Check out Qalara’s range of resin products here.

Don’t forget to let us know if there are other materials whose care and upkeep you would like us to cover. Prioritizing material care is essential for maintaining the product quality. By educating your customers about treating their products right and heeding care instructions, you shall enable them to ensure longevity and value of their purchases. This can thereby enhance their satisfaction and loyalty to your business. Together, we can elevate the customer experience and build lasting relationships founded on trust and product integrity.

Written by Gauri S