We’ve all been there – you decide to entertain or sit out on the patio and you notice your outdoor furniture is looking more than a little sad. We don’t want to buy new patio furniture every year and you can’t always paint or stain it back to its former glory. So what can you do? As the summer stretches on, and your patio furnishings start to show the signs of use, you may want to try these simple ways of restoring them to their original lustre.Before trying any of these techniques, always test in an inconspicuous area first so you aren’t making any of your problems any worse!
How to Care for Patio Furniture by Material
- Outdoor Fabrics: For vinyl cushions and fabrics without specific instructions for upkeep, try a mixture of water and mild detergent with an “oxicleansing” additive for stains. Avoid chlorine bleach that can corrode stitching and cause discolouration. Rinse thoroughly and dry without direct sunlight.
- Wicker Furniture: Wicker should be vacuumed and/or brushed before a gentle washing. Try to remove dust and dried dirt before getting this material wet. Warm soapy water in a bucket plus a soft, large sponge should do the trick!
- Metal Framed Furniture: Aluminum frames will keep their appearance longer if you apply and buff a coating of car wax after wiping clean and drying. If you’re trying a specially abrasive cleaner – make sure you read the care guide that came with your furniture first and then try it on the underside of the piece so it doesn’t ruin the whole piece!
- Natural Wood Furniture: These kinds of pieces fare well when scrubbed with a product like Murphy’s Oil Soap (not detergent), and can retain their integrity longer with a weather-resistant stain or urethane treatment. To remove rust stains or bird droppings, or to restore original color, sand lightly along the grain using fine-grit sandpaper, and rinse. If the area is too large to sand, mix hot water with oxalic acid crystals (also called wood bleach or wood brightener) according to directions. Apply with a soft-bristle brush, and rinse. Don’t use chlorine bleach, which can damage wood fibers.
More Tips for Maintaining Your Patio Furniture
- Got Mold? If Mold has gotten into your patio furniture, try scrubbing or sanding lightly to remove the mold, depending on the material of course. Keep safety first – wear gloves, and discard used supplies to avoid spreading spores.
- Clean your outdoor furniture more than once per season! If you only clean the whole set at the beginning of the season, you’re only making more work for yourself next year! Try to wipe down furniture with a material appropriate cleaner and a soft, lint free cloth every few weeks to stay on top of dirt and dust buildup.
- Skip the Power Washer. Don’t rush out to rent a power washer! Most furniture does not necessitate this kind of cleaning and in fact, it can cause damage to your furniture! If there is some stubborn dirt you can’t seem to remove – try gently scrubbing the area with a sponge and some diluted cleaning solution in warm water.
- Cover it Up. To help your outdoor furniture last from season to season, invest in weather-resistant slip covers so you can save yourself the elbow grease next year! Remove the foot caps on chairs and tables, and keep furniture upright to allow accumulated water to drain.