If you have a deck or a porch with outdoor furniture in it, you’re lucky. Besides indoors, you have a great spot to relax and unwind, or socialize with family and friends. But with additional comfort comes responsibility. After a few seasons, your outdoor furniture will start to show their age and signs of wear and tear. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help you ensure your patio furniture’s beauty and longevity. Here’s how to take care of them, depending on material:
Most wood materials used for outdoor furniture has the potential to last long, and they naturally resist decay and withstand elements, especially hardwood. When left unfinished, hardwood naturally weathers to silvery-gray patina. Meanwhile, softwood is a less expensive choice, which is often painted or treated.
To clean, use a mixture of water with powdered oxygen bleach or detergent. Avoid using chlorine bleach since it will only damage the wood fibers. Just spray it and clean with a cloth. If you have a power washer, you can wash it on “light” to remove embedded dirt. Allow the furniture to dry overnight. When it’s not damp anymore, use a light-grade sandpaper and sand lightly along the grain. Rinse and allow it to dry again overnight. Then, apply teak oil or a semitransparent stain, while going in the direction of the wood grain. You will need to do this every season or every year.
The timeless charm of the wicker weaves make it a popular outdoor furniture material. Traditionally, it is constructed from rattan, reeds, willow or coated paper. But resin wicker is a more sturdy, practical and weather-resistant choice, since it is made of high-density plastic.
To remove dirt and debris that get caught in the woven wicker surface, spray it with water from your hose – just be careful with natural wicker since too much water can weaken its fibers. And, if your furniture has cushion on it, remove it first. If there are stubborn dirt that can’t be removed, use mild soap solution, scrub and rinse. Let it dry. Natural wicker is maintained by applying paste wax to keep it shiny.
Iron, steel, aluminum and other metals that can be wrought, cast into molds or formed into hollow tubes are used to create metal furniture. It is often found in patios, since it’s an ideal material for those who want something that will last for several years. Also, it heavy weight makes it ideal for areas that may experience windy conditions. Since the number one enemy of metal is rust, today’s outdoor furniture are typically finished with layers of varnish, paint and a powder-coating.
Metal outdoor furniture is easy to clean – simply use a mild detergent solution, scrub and rinse until stains and mossy patches are gone. Let it dry under the sun. If rust appears, sand the area lightly to remove it and apply primer. Touch-up paint if needed. It’s best to use rust-resistant paint to make it look new again. If your metal furniture isn’t rust-resistant, apply paste wax or naval jelly to protect it.
Resins and plastic
Resin and plastic are resilient outdoor furniture materials that are cheap and easy to maintain. These are made of either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene. If you prefer the look of natural wood, but you want a furniture that is maintenance-free, get wood-look resin furniture. You won’t need to worry about weathering, fading, re-painting or refinishing.
To remove most dirt and grime, simply spray the furniture using your garden hose. If there are stains or any dirt that got stuck, use mild detergent and water, and scrub gently. Rinse and let dry. Mildew and touch stains can be removed by using a solution of 4 parts water to 1 part chlorine bleach, if the furniture is white and if bleach is appropriate for the material as listed in the care guide. For colored furniture, you can replace bleach with white vinegar.
Patio and garden furniture nowadays have many options for cushions to bring comfort, style and color to your outdoor hideaway. Typically, acrylic cushions are used for outdoor settings because it is mold- and mildew-resistant.
To maintain, regularly brush off and remove debris from your cushions. Spills and stains must be wiped out immediately with a wet cloth with mild soap, then rinsed with a wet clean cloth. Cushion covers can be cleaned through machine-washing with bleach-free detergent. If you happen to have a problem with mildew, use soak the cushion cover on a solution of 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of bleach and 2 cups of detergent. Scrub with a sponge, rinse and dry completely. When storing during the cold months, don’t wrap the cushions in plastic, since any moisture that can be trapped in the plastic can cause mildew.