Now that spring has returned, patios across the country are being put to good use. If your outdoor furniture is overdue for a thorough spring cleaning, here are some general maintenance tips to make sure it stays in great shape for years to come. As always, reference your furniture’s manuals for the specific instructions for your exact items.
Wicker furniture can be cleaned with a hose or pressure washer on the lowest setting. Remove the cushions before spraying down the furniture. If water isn’t enough, use a sponge with mild soap mixed in cold water. After the furniture has dried completely, apply a paste wax to the frame to keep it shiny and water-resistant. During the off-season, store cushions indoors, and keep the frames covered.
Wooden furniture that’s been coated with an exterior-grade varnish can be cleaned using soapy water. Be sure to completely rinse the furniture with clean water before allowing it to dry. Any wooden furniture that is not teak or cedar should be stored indoors during the off-season.
Aluminum, wrought iron and steel frames should be cleaned with water and mild soap. Most modern metal frames are rust-resistant or rust-free, but if yours isn’t, you should use paste wax or naval jelly to prevent them from rusting.
Resin furniture is the easiest to care for. Spray it off with clean water, then allow it to air dry. If any scuff marks are present, use a gentle abrasive to eliminate them. Mildew can be removed using a mixture of 1 cup bleach, 2 cups detergent and 1 gallon of water.
Acrylic: Remove acrylic cushions before cleaning. Spot-clean stains with a sponge and mild soapy water, then rinse with clean water. To prevent mildew, allow items to dry completely before using or storing. Some types of cushions are mildew-resistant, but if you have a problem with mildew, use a mixture of 1 cup bleach, 2 cups detergent and 1 gallon of water to clean. Mix well, and spray on the entire cushion. Allow it to soak for 30 minutes, then scrub with a sponge or clean rag. Rinse with clean water, and let the fabric dry completely.
Cloth: Machine wash canvas covers on a gentle cycle. Add bleach for white items if the care tags allow it. Hang outside to dry. To avoid shrinking, stretch the cover back over the frame before the fabric dries completely. Store fabric furniture indoors during the off-season.
After pulling your umbrella out of storage, the cover needs to be washed, and the umbrella frame joints need to be oiled. Wash covers with a soft-bristled brush, mild soap and cold water. Use a spray lubricant on the joints of a wire-frame umbrella. Use paste wax on a wooden-frame umbrella to restore its shine. Store umbrellas indoors during the off-season.
With these simple care routines, you should be able to kick up and relax on your patio furniture for many seasons to come.