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How to Clean Outdoor Furniture

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February 27, 2013

Once you have a major backyard project competed, you’re left with a stunning outdoor villa to enjoy. As you sit back with a tall glass of lemonade to relax on your brand new lounge furniture, you might think to yourself, “how can I capture this moment and live in it forever?”

The beauty of having your own custom backyard living space is that you can enjoy it whenever you wish. All you have to do is maintain your space and outdoor furniture so it remains in the same pristine condition it was back on that first day you were enjoying your new backyard. Below are some cleaning tips for common types of patio or deck furniture. 

wicker furniture calgary


Wicker furniture

The open weave design of wicker means that dirt can build up in all of the tiny spaces. Go over the furniture carefully with a portable vacuum or use a soft-bristled cleaning brush to brush out the dirt from between the weaves. Because wicker can be sensitive to rain and snow, we suggest only having wicker furniture under covered areas in your outdoor space.

Steel furniture

Steel furniture can be cleaned with stainless steel wipes or cleaning sprays. For an environmentally friendly backyard alternative, pour vinegar onto a soft scouring pad instead of harsh chemicals.

Wrought iron furniture

Most modern wrought iron furniture is powder-coated to prevent rust. Even so, the corners where the welding meets can still get rust build up. Rust can be removed by gently brushing over the rusted areas with fine-grained sandpaper. The trick is to use the sandpaper softly enough to avoid rubbing the paint off the furniture.

Teak furniture

This type of furniture can usually be cleaned by simply using mild dish soap and water with a washcloth. If stubborn stains persist, look for a specialty teak cleaner at your local gardening center.

wrought iron furniture

Wood furniture

Wood patio furniture can be cleaned with mild soap and water.

Use a soft bristle brush with a mixture of oxygen bleach and water to get off any mildew that has built up. Your wood furniture will stay in better condition if you use a sealant on it.

Plastic furniture

Similar to wood, plastic can be cleaned with soap, water and a washcloth. If you want to go

a step further, apply a coat of car wax to your plastic furniture for extra protection.

Aluminum furniture

Aluminum furniture can also be cleaned with soap, water and a washcloth. If the aluminum loses it’s natural sheen, you can restore it with a thin layer of car wax.

While cast aluminum furniture can stay outdoors all year around, tubular aluminum furniture should be stored indoors during the winter, because excess moisture can become trapped inside, which leads to peeling and cracking.

outdoor cushions

Fabric cushions

All of the fabric can be cleaned with soap, water and a scrub sponge. Stains can be targeted with a fabric stain remover. You can buy a fabric guard to spray your outdoor fabrics with from time to time to protect them from the elements.

The best way to preserve your outdoor furniture is to cover it or bring it inside when you know you won’t be using it for a long period of time. This can mean wintertime if you live in Calgary, or it can just mean you’re going on a long vacation. If you choose to cover your furniture, use a breathable fabric. Covers made out of plastic materials can actually trap in moisture and lead to mold or rust.

If you buy any specialty cleaning products to care for your patio furniture, always test them in a small area before cleaning all of the furniture. We suggest the underside of your chairs or cushions as a good testing area.

Avoid using pressure washers on your outdoor furniture. It may seem like a quick and easy solution at the time, but the power of these washers can put a lot of wear and tear on your patio furniture. 

To learn more about protecting your outdoor furniture, read the article here.

To view this article as a PDF, click here.
 

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