Outdoor Furniture Cleaning and Care Guide
Ideas and Advice

Outdoor Furniture Cleaning and Care Guide

As the days get longer and evenings are warm, it's fun to gather outside with friends and family, and it's important to know how to care for your outdoor furniture. Outdoor patio cushions experience a lot of wear and tear during the spring and summer months, and your metal patio furniture can suffer if it's not properly maintained. Let's look at how to care for teak and other common patio materials.

Caring for Plastic

Caring for Plastic

Plastic is pretty durable, but it's notorious for accumulating grime and stains. Luckily, it's pretty easy to clean with a simple mixture of 1/2 cup baking soda and a gallon of water. You can also substitute the baking soda for a few tablespoons of dishwasher detergent. Gently scrub with a damp rag and wipe away stains and built-up dirt.

If your plastic patio furniture is especially dirty, you can use distilled vinegar, and if they stain is especially stubborn, use a bit of baking soda for abrasive, but gentle scrubbing.

Caring for Teak/Wood

Caring for Teak/Wood

Teak and wood furniture can get dull and dusty, and wiping them down regularly can help to keep them looking clean. You may also want to spray your wicker furniture with a hose every once in a while, since dirt likes to settle in all of its tiny cracks and crevices. It's also a good idea to clean your teak and wood furniture with a mild oil-based soap that's diluted with warm water. Additionally, you can use a solution made with 1/4 cup ammonia, 2 tablespoons vinegar and a quart of warm water.

Some people like to wash their wood furniture with wood cleaners, but take care to read the instructions first. Sometimes diluting the solution is necessary. It's also a good idea to sand and add a protective layer of finish to your wood furniture occasionally. This includes finishes like oil, stain, or polyurethane.

Caring for Fabric

Caring for Fabric

Outdoor pillows, cushions, and umbrellas are especially important to care for, and it's important to remove stains as soon as you see them. Use a stain remover and follow the instructions to lift stains from the fabric. You can also scrub away stains with a solution made from warm water and a few drops of detergent.

Luckily outdoor fabric is usually treated to prevent fading and stains, but these chemicals wear off over time. You can purchase and add a layer of UV protection to your outdoor fabric, which acts like sunscreen for your cushions and pillows. It's also a good idea to bring your fabric furniture inside when it's not in use, and especially when storms or snow are in the forecast.

Caring for Metal

Caring for Metal

Metal patio furniture looks lovely and can last for years, but there are several things you can do to keep it looking shiny and new. Metal tends to rust, so sand away any spots as soon as they pop up along with any paint that begins to flake off. If you want to repaint your metal furniture, just make sure you use a rust-resistant primer and paint.

Oxidation is a common problem with aluminum furniture, so be sure to remove as much of it as you can with a metal polishing paste. You should also wash your aluminum furniture often and remove any scuff marks with a non-abrasive cleaner.

Wrought-iron furniture can be sandblasted or powder-coated to keep it nice for many years. Additionally, many people apply a layer or two of automotive wax, to further protect the wrought iron from the elements.

Related Questions

What is the longest-lasting outdoor furniture material?

Wrought iron is the longest-lasting material. In fact, if properly cared for, it can last for decades.

Can I leave my outdoor furniture out in the rain?

Yes, you can, but it's not recommended. Depending on the material, when exposed to water, your outdoor furniture can rust, rot and mold, and it that kind of damage can't always be repaired.