How to Care for Your Patio Furniture

How to Care for Your Patio Furniture

[Updated on 1 June 2020] Patio furniture should always last generations, but depending on the quality and the material,  some of it needs more care than others. To keep your patio furniture looking as good as the day you bought it, you need to know how to take care of it. Here you will find the best way to care for and preserve your patio furniture no matter the material from plastic to hardwood and everything in between. 

General Care Tips

  1. If you live in a place where the weather gets wet and cold for part of the season, it’s a good idea to store them somewhere dry during the winter. Even the toughest material can be ravaged by the cold. 
  2. Always read the manufacturer’s guidelines for the care of your furniture. 
  3. It’s harder than it sounds, but try to protect your furniture from severe weather. Things like hail and high winds will damage anything when given a chance. 

Wrought IronWroughtIron

  1. Regularly clean your wrought iron furniture with soap and water to clean off everyday dirt and grime. Always allow the furniture to air dry in the sun, but remember that wrought iron is metal and will get hot when left in the sun. 
  2. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive materials to clean your wrought iron; if they strip the paint from the wrought iron, they leave it exposed to corrosion and rust. 
  3. If you touch the furniture in any way while wearing sunscreen or bug spray, it is important to clean it as soon as you can afterward. 
  4. If you live in a climate that is cold and wet, it is critical to make sure that your furniture is completely drained of water and dry before storing it for the season. 
  5. If your wrought iron does have spots of rust, don’t freak out. Small rust spots are easily fixed. Your first step is to try to get rid of it physically with a wire brush or sandpaper. Light rust can often be brushed away. If the spot is a little more stubborn, treat it with phosphoric acid, which will change the composition of the rust into crusty, black, iron phosphate and allow you to brush away the flakes. After you brush away the flakes, clean the chair as you usually would with soap and water. 
  6. Once the furniture is clean, apply furniture or car wax and let it dry to add an extra layer of protection against the elements. 

Wicker

Wicker

  1. For daily upkeep of wicker furniture, the best thing you can do is to vacuum it using the brush attachment to keep dirt out of the weaves. 
  2. For stains or more stubborn dirt, you can use a mild dish detergent mixed with water and a washcloth or toothbrush to brush away the grime. If it is natural, the wicker always waits until it is completely dry to add weight to it; otherwise, the material will warp permanently.
  3. Always allow your furniture to dry completely in a sunny spot to prevent the growth of mildew. 
  4. Wicker is popular outdoor furniture, but if it is too hot or too cold, it can become brittle or warp. If the temperature threatens to go to either extreme, it is best to pull your furniture inside. 
  5. Inspect your wicker furniture regularly to make sure that the weave is tight, and it is not shifting out of place. If you notice that the weave has moved, just slide it back to where it is supposed to be with your finger. 

Aluminum

Patio Furniture care Aluminum

  1. Aluminum doesn’t rust, which is one of the reasons why it is such a popular material for outdoor furniture. 
  2. Cleaning aluminum furniture is often more about the finish than it is about metal. If your furniture is painted, use a cleaner that is appropriate for that paint. 
  3. The easiest way to clean this furniture is with a pressure washer, just spray it down, and you’re done. 
  4. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can wash it with a mixture of soap and water or a water and vinegar mix. 
  5. Rinse the furniture down with fresh water when you’re done. 
  6. Wipe it down with a dry towel or let it air dry, but know that aluminum furniture left in the sun tends to get very hot. 
  7. When the furniture is dry, wipe it with a car or furniture wax to help protect the furniture from weather damage. 

Plastic

Patio Furniture care Plastic

  1. The best way to clean recycled plastic furniture is to spray it down with a power washer. 
  2. If you don’t have a power washer, soap and water will do. 
  3. Unlike other materials, plastic is tough, so you can use a hard-bristled brush to get a deep clean, especially in the textured crevices. 
  4. Rinse with a hose to wash away all the dirt you dig out of those areas. 
  5. Rinse with a hose to wash away all the dirt you dig out of those areas. 
  6. You can leave it in the sun to dry or wipe it down with a towel if you want to use I right away. 
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Softwood

Patio Furniture care Softwood

  1. Softwood is easily damaged, so it is vital to take care when cleaning it. 
  2. For everyday cleaning, mix a solution of ¼ ammonia, two tablespoons white vinegar, and four cups of water.
  3. Scrub the wood with a soft-bristled brush using this solution then rinse it down with fresh water. 
  4. Allow the furniture to dry in direct sunlight. 
  5. Softwoods are not as resilient as hardwood, so it is important to seal or paint your furniture once or twice a year. 

Hardwood

Hardwood

  1. The best way to clean hardwood furniture is with an over the counter cleaner explicitly meant for hardwood. Follow the directions on the bottle for best results.
  2. Rinse the chair when you are done to remove any residue. 
  3. For light cleaning or in case of an emergency, you can use a mixture of dish soap and water and a soft-bristle brush. 
  4. Hardwood will gray over time due to sun exposure; it is not a great idea to stain hardwood because it locks in healthy oils in the wood.
  5. To prevent graying and help the overall look and feel of your chair, you can rub in teak or other hardwood oil twice a year to give it more life. 

Glass

Glass

  1. Add enough dish soap to the water to make it sudsy. 
  2. Use a microfiber or other cloth that is soft and lint-free. 
  3. Rinse the tabletop and legs with a hose or bucket of freshwater. 
  4. Allow the table to dry in the sun. 
  5. After the top dries, use white vinegar or glass cleaner for a streak-free shine.

Cushions

Patio Furniture care Cushions

  1. Many cushions have a zippered cover on them so they can be removed and sent through the washing machine. 
  2. If your cushions have a mildew scent, add a cup of color-safe bleach to the wash. 
  3. Vinyl cushions should be wiped down with soap and water and rinsed before being air-dried.
  4. Acrylics should first be washed with soap and water. If that doesn’t work, combine one cup of bleach, one cup laundry detergent and a gallon of water for a stronger stain-fighting solution. 
  5. Always dry any fabric as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew. 
  6. If cushions ever fray, you should always cut the threads instead of pulling them. 
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With a few exceptions, most patio furniture is cleanable with simple soap and water. When it takes a little more, most of those products are on hand or inexpensive and easy to obtain. The great thing about patio furniture, especially the sweet stuff, is when you put a little bit of work into its upkeep, it repays you by staying nice for years.