One of the biggest downfalls of backyard living is the dirt and grime that can accumulate on outdoor furniture. While it may not be seen upon first impressions, anyone who is wearing white will quickly find out if that patio furniture is clean, or dirty. To save on embarrassment and save your sanity, these tips and tricks will go far in helping you to avoid that embarrassment. It’s far easier than you thought to keep your outdoor furniture clean.
It may appear to be easy to keep furnishings clean in the beginning. However, over the course of time, dirt and grime can cause your outdoor furnishings to deteriorate. Thankfully, proper cleaning and care for your outdoor furnishings can help to maintain their integrity. Start by planning to clean your outdoor furniture at the beginning and end of each season. Only minor cleanings should be required in between these regularly scheduled cleanings. There are a lot of easy tips and tricks to keeping your outdoor furniture clean and lasting for many years to come.
There are some easy strategies to help maintain the integrity of your outdoor furniture. Regardless of the material, you can invest in covers for outdoor furniture that will help to protect the furniture from the elements. Sun, dirt, and water can all cause damage to outdoor furniture. This can be avoided easily if you use slipcovers. It also helps to make cleaning a breeze as slipcovers can easily be tossed into the washing machine and dried in a dryer or hung to dry.
Even if outdoor furniture is covered, it’s still recommended that it be cleaned frequently or up to four or five times annually or at the start and end of each season. Plan to clean in-between seasons as required. Don’t fret, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. It won’t require you’re renting a power washer or any special tools unless the manufacturer recommends that the furniture is power washer friendly. Power washers can damage some furnishings so be mindful of this before embarking on using such equipment to clean your outdoor furniture.
With any kind of outdoor furniture, you can start with these basic three steps to clean and maintain your outdoor furniture:
Gently wipe down the surfaces with a slightly damp cloth. Follow up with a dry cloth to help loosen and remove any dirt or debris that is missed. Work from top to bottom and side to side to avoid drips and any standing water or cleaner.
Use a gentle cleaning product after knocking off the dirt and debris.
Allow the furniture to completely dry before using it or covering it back up. This will help to prevent molds and mildew from forming.
These 3 steps will ensure that your furniture has the basics done. Always start with these three steps before embarking on a deep clean, it will make the deep cleaning much easier and the result will be much cleaner.
Each section below has a guide for cleaning different types of materials on outdoor furniture. Make sure to read over it carefully. You’ll be a professional cleaner in no time at all. You won’t have to worry about your guests unexpectedly sitting in a dirty chair or on a dirty couch or swing
Plastic Outdoor Furniture
Cleaning outdoor furniture that is plastic is very easy. Use a gentle cloth with some warm soapy water to wipe off light marks, dirt, debris, and cobwebs.
If you have deeper stains, especially if the furniture is white, you may use a diluted bleach solution. Always test a small area in an inconspicuous place first to ensure that it won’t change the color of your furniture. Remember, wear protective clothing and gloves when using a diluted bleach solution. Rubber gloves and even safety goggles are strongly recommended.
Don’t forget the underside of outdoor furniture, Use an old toothbrush to clean nooks and crannies if required.
Rinse the furniture well after the above-mentioned steps. Allow it to air dry. If you’re using bleach, make sure that you’re not rinsing it into the grass or an area where it can cause damage.
After it’s fairly dry, you can use a dry cloth to finish the drying process. This can help to avoid water spots.
Wood Outdoor Furniture
Wood may seem more daunting and challenging than plastic, but it can deliver some great textures and gorgeous finishes. Don’t let it intimidate you! There are a lot of great cleaning products out there for wood. After taking a moment to dust the furniture with a dry or slightly damp cloth, use a gentle cleanser to give the wood a nice deep clean.
Oil-based soaps like Murphy’s Oil Soap work well for outdoor wood furnishings. There are no harsh chemicals and it’s really easy to apply. You can also use a quick DIY cleaner if you take a moment to search online and find a recipe.
Take your time and work small areas with the product to ensure that each area is properly cleaned. Wood can have open and rough textures that may require more elbow grease but the reward is well worth the effort. If needed, use a toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies and make the wood shine.
If any mold develops over the winter months, allow the piece to dry out completely before removing the mold. Gently scrub the area and allow it to dry. Use a dry brush until the mold flakes off of the furnishings. After cleaning, check the entire piece for any missed mold. You want to remove all of the molds to make sure it doesn’t return.
During heavy use such as spring and summer months, make sure to wipe the wood down weekly to ensure that dirt, dust, and debris don’t impact the appearance of your nice wood furnishings. If you want to give older pieces a new lease on life, you can always sand and restain the piece. This can also allow you the option of giving dark pieces a lighter tone or vice versa.
This is a very popular choice when it comes to outdoor furniture. Its durability makes it a huge hit. white vinegar and a non-scratch pad are ideal for cleaning wrought iron. Gently scrub all surfaces and when done, wipe the areas with a slightly damp towel to remove any excess dirt. Avoid anything acidic other than the diluted white vinegar as this can scratch the wrought iron and damage it.
How To Clean Metal Outdoor Furniture
Other than soap and water, there are some great specialty products on the market today for metal furniture. Tina Mahony, who is the Director of Go Modern has graciously shared her tips:
Choose specialty cleaning waxes that will clean and protect the furniture that is comprised of stainless steel and aluminum. Many stainless-steel waxes are also good at removing oxidation deposits and preventing spots in the future.
Aluminum, as well as stainless steel, should have gone through the powder coating process at the manufacture to ensure long-lasting weather resistance. For occasional scratches or abrasions, there are corrector pens that dry quickly. These are available in matching colors. Choose solvent-free corrector pens to avoid any damage. Ask if you can purchase these when you purchase the furniture and you’re likely to get a great match to your furniture.
Plastic And All-Weather Wicker Furniture
Naturally, these are the easiest types of furniture to clean when it comes to outdoor furniture. They are low-maintenance and very user-friendly. They work well in all climates. All you need to do is lightly dust them with a damp cloth and if needed use a gentle cleaner that is free from bleach or any abrasives. Read your labels and ensure this before using any product on your furniture. Many people prefer to dilute such products with water before use to ensure a gentle cleaning action. WD-40 works well too and can help to restore the shine and make any plastic look brand new. for those who wish to go a step further, you can use a layer of car wax to prevent any elements from damaging the shiny surfaces.
Aluminium Patio Furniture
Another great option is aluminum. You can find benches, chairs, accent chairs, tables, and other aluminum furniture. Remove ay cushions before cleaning to ensure that you’re cleaning the entire piece. Per Anne and Will Massie, co-founders of heritage Outdoor Furniture and McKinnon & Harris brand, use a cleaner that is created for cars and boats like Meguiar’s Gel Wash. This is loaded with ingredients that will enrich the aluminum and protect it. Use a soft cloth-like microfiber or a soft sponge. Rinse well and you’re done.
Upholstered Outdoor Furniture
Always read the tags on upholstered furnishings and follow any of the manufacturer’s directions. Make sure that you have everything you need before you begin. There are important steps to cleaning upholstered furniture so make sure that you read and reread the tag before you embark on such an endeavor. Some upholstered furniture can have the slipcover removed and tossed into a washing machine, other upholstered furniture will have to be hand watched or spot cleaned. Gently wipe these down with a damp cloth and brush off any clinging debris. Use a diluted solution of dish soap and water that won’t damage the fabric. sometimes there will be mold, make sure to remove this with a dry brush after it dries. Wash according to instructions and you’re done.
Wicker Outdoor Furniture
There are different variations of wicker furniture. Some are woven from both natural and synthetic materials. Some are comprised of bamboo, or cane, or even rattan. These materials are all-natural and porous which means that they will soak in the moisture if they’re left outside on damp or rainy days. Nicole Hunt, a Product Development Manager at Article states that they also have minimal UV resistance. They can fade and dry out in hot weather conditions or sunlight. It’s important to keep them covered and out of the elements to help preserve them. Brush off any loose debris and using a soft nylon brush. A good way to tell if the brush is okay to use is to consider whether or not it would be gentle on your teeth. If so, you can safely use it on your wicker and rattan furniture. For deeper cleans, use a slightly dampened cloth to wipe the furniture down and remove any dust and debris that may have accumulated over the season.
Outdoor Sofa Cushions
If these have a removable cover, the cover may be easy to toss into a washing machine. In the meantime, Ikea, which has no outdoor cushions that can be removed, recommends hand washing. Wipe the surfaces down with a dampened cloth that has a gentle cleaning solution. After using a gentle cleaning solution, wipe the items dry with a dry towel. If there are any signs of algae or mould, use water and vinegar to remove the mould. Then simply wipe the cushion dry with a dry towel to ensure that all of the mould or algae have been removed.