How do you maintain your outdoor furniture? While it doesn’t need to be cleaned as regularly as the inside of your house, cleaning outdoor patio furniture is still an important chore. It doesn’t take very long, and it’s not difficult, but taking care of your outdoor furniture can help extend its lifespan and keep it looking good for longer. Here, we offer some tips for cleaning your outdoor patio furniture.
Of course, the best method of cleaning your furniture, as well as the best outdoor patio furniture cleaner to use, depends on the type of furniture you’re cleaning. Outdoor furniture is made of a wide variety of materials, and each requires a different kind of care. While some materials are more durable than others, all require some sort of maintenance.
- Plastic furniture is known for being weather-resistant and durable. Still, it’s easy for plastic furniture to accumulate build-up of mold and grime. Fortunately, cleaning plastic outdoor patio furniture is easy enough. You can find an outdoor patio furniture cleaner made specifically for that purpose, but you can also use a solution of mild detergent and water, wiping it with a cloth and then rinsing it with a hose. If your white patio furniture becomes discolored in the sun, you can restore it using a solution of one gallon warm water and three tablespoons of automatic dishwashing detergent. Apply this solution with a soft brush or sponge, then allow it to sit for 15 minutes and then rinse it with a garden hose. Automatic dishwashing detergent contains a bleaching agent that does a good job of whitening plastic without the use of harsh chemicals. If you are cleaning colored plastic, test a small, inconspicuous area to be sure that it’s colorfast before cleaning it.
- Wood and wicker furniture need to be handled a little more delicately. For furniture made of wood, wicker, or teak, dusting it may be sufficient. You can do this with a microfiber dusting cloth or soft, dry brush, or you can vacuum it with a brush or crevice tool. However if it’s too dirty to be cleaned with gentle dusting, you can clean this kind of furniture with an oil-based soap. Make a solution of this soap and water, then use a soft brush to gently scrub this cleaner into the furniture. Rinse with water, and make sure to let the furniture dry completely.
- Metallic furniture needs maintenance to prevent corrosion. Did you know that metal actually corrodes to protect itself from the elements? Corrosion helps metal sustain its structure after exposure to snow, wind, and rain. However, it looks terrible and can cause pitting in the metal if you don’t treat it. Fortunately, again, it’s not too difficult to manage. To treat oxidized or rusted metal, soak a sponge in detergent and clean your furniture thoroughly, rinsing away all soap and debris when you’re finished. Inspect the furniture carefully, looking for scratches, nicks, or rust. If it’s clear, touch up any scuffs with car paint and coat it with automotive wax. If the furniture is made of wrought iron, you can remove any rust with a wire brush or steel wool, then paint it with exterior spray paint made specifically for wrought iron. Aluminum furniture may not be as sturdy, so if you plan to use a wire brush, do so carefully. Test it on an unseen surface first, to make sure it won’t damage the metal. Sometimes, mold, mildew, or algae can build up on metal furniture. To remove this, you should first thoroughly inspect the furniture. Any mold left on a piece of furniture will spread, and you’ll have to do the job again, so you want to make sure you remove it completely. Wear a mask to clean the furniture, and start by scrubbing the mold away with a scrub brush and water, using strokes that push the mold away from you. Pay special attention to parts of the furniture that come into contact with the ground, because they will be more prone to mold. Once you’ve scrubbed away the visible mold, mix water and soap in a bucket to create a cleaning solution. Wearing gloves, dip a cloth into the solution and apply the cloth to the entire set of patio furniture. Wipe down the set and dry it to get rid of any moisture, which could provide an hospitable environment for mold to return. Double check the furniture to make sure you didn’t miss anything. To prevent future mold and mildew growth, wipe down your furniture whenever it is exposed to rain, snow, or water from any other source. You can also apply a mold-resistant sealant, and this will further protect it from mold. If your metal furniture is not afflicted with rust, oxidation, or mold, you can wipe it down with cleaner, or you can choose to pressure wash it, with your washer on the lowest setting. Make sure, however, to dry it thoroughly afterwards.
- No matter what kind of outdoor furniture you have, it’s likely to have a cloth component. This may be canvas, or it may be upholstered cushions. Canvas seats are often the easiest to clean, because if they are removable, they can be tossed into the washing machine. Before you do so, though, make sure to read the tags or instructions, or check the website of the upholstery manufacturer so that you will not risk damaging the material. If they are machine washable, wash them on cold, to prevent fading, and don’t put them into the dryer. It’s a better idea to put them on the furniture damp so they’ll maintain their shape. If the stains are persistent, you can make a solution of one part bleach to one-quarter part detergent, in up to a gallon of water, and soak them for 30 minutes or so before washing them. Try not to wash them very often, instead spot cleaning them to keep them looking clean.
- Cleaning outdoor patio furniture cushions can be a little more complicated. If they can be removed from the furniture, it is not too hard to spray or soak them on both sides with a solution of one teaspoon dishwashing detergent, one quart of warm water, and one tablespoon of Borax. If the cushion covers are removable, take the cushion forms out before treating them. Once you’ve applied the solution, let it sit for 15 minutes or so, then use a hose to rinse the cushion before setting it on its side to dry. When it is almost dry, spray the cushion with a fabric protector. In between washings, vacuum cushions frequently, or shake them to get rid of any dust or debris. If you can’t take off the cushions, you can use the same cleaning solution and a scrub brush to clean them. Outdoor cushions are made to be resistant to fading and mildew, so they should be able to stand up to a good scrubbing. In fact, some people use a pressure washer to clean outdoor cushions without using chemicals or detergents. It is best to only use this method on removable cushions, though, taking them off of the furniture one at a time and putting them on a tarp before using the power washer to clean the front and back of each cushion. As with the other cleaning method, apply a fabric protector when the cushions are nearly dry. However you choose to clean your cushions, always check the manufacturer’s instructions before you begin. There are different types of fabrics used for outdoor furniture cushions and accessories, and not all can be washed the same way.
- If you have glass tables, they can be washed just as you’d wash glass surfaces indoors. For seriously dirty glass surfaces, start by spraying them with a garden hose. Then, use soapy water or a mixture of water and white vinegar and a soft sponge or microfiber cloth to scrub the table. Once it’s nearly clean, use glass cleaner to get rid of any streaks.
How often should lawn furniture be cleaned? It depends on the type of outdoor patio furniture you are cleaning and how quickly it gets dirty. It’s a good idea to clean it after a storm or whenever it looks dirty, and do a quick clean-up if you are going to use it or entertain guests. The more frequently you do a quick clean, the less often you will have to do a deep clean. When you’re not using your furniture, cover it with cloth covers to protect it, and store it during the off season to keep it safe from winter weather.
At Villa Outdoors, we always strive to provide the gold standard in customer relations. From offering furniture made with the highest quality of materials to prioritizing customer service, we want to make sure our clients are 100% satisfied. Our pieces are designed and hand selected by our team, made with durable materials and trend forward design. Whether you are looking for traditional or modern outdoor furniture, or you need something custom designed, we can help you find the perfect pieces for your outdoor living space. What’s more, each of our patio sets is made with recycled materials, so you can enjoy your outdoor environment with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re protecting the overall environment. Our furniture sets the standard in durability and weather-resistance, and we offer free, fast shipping, no matter what you need or where you need it delivered. Let us help you optimize your patio’s potential by calling us at (800) 765-5036 or contacting us through our website.