How to clean outdoor furniture

Summer is the time for entertaining and with the warmer weather ahead, it’s time to give your outdoor furniture a good clean.

If you’ve been storing it outside over the winter, then it’s likely to be looking a bit worse for wear. Luckily there are plenty of ways to give it a good spruce up and the method you choose will purely depend on what your furniture is made from.

Cleaning outdoor wooden furniture

Wooden furniture that’s been left outside can quickly deteriorate. Use these handy tips to get it back to looking like new again.

Firstly, you’ll need to remove the dirt. Use a soft bristled brush and gently brush the surface going in the same direction as the grain of wood. If the layer of dirt is quite thick then you can dip the brush in a mixture of water and laundry soap (bars are preferable).  Make sure you wipe the surface with a soft dry cloth afterwards to remove excess moisture and then place it in the sun to dry thoroughly.

Restoring outdoor wooden furniture

If your furniture is made from teak or other hard woods and is badly weathered, then simply brushing it down won’t be enough to bring back the lustre of the wood. It’s better to use a shop bought restoration product which you can buy from most hardware stores. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear rubber gloves and goggles as many of these products contain an acid component.

It can also be a messy job so make sure you put down a drop cloth or do it over the lawn to prevent staining your patio or deck.

Cleaning Plastic Furniture

The great thing about plastic furniture is that it’s easy to clean. You can simply mix dishwashing detergent in a bucket of warm water and use a sponge to wipe down the surface and then spray it with a hose pipe (if you have one) to get rid of the dirt and cobwebs.

Remember to clean under your table and chairs, as well as on top, as this is where spiders and other insects often congregate.

If your plastic furniture is getting old and has staining, then you can use a stronger cleaning product like a household cleaner. Scrub the furniture with a firm sponge and then leave the product on for a few minutes to work its magic before rinsing off. It’s advisable to use gloves, especially if you’re using bleach, to avoid skin irritation.

Cleaning soft covers like cushions and umbrellas

Some cushions are small enough to go in the washing machine however for larger outdoor furniture accessories you’ll need to hand clean them yourself.

The best way to clean both cushions and umbrellas is to use a soft scrubbing brush dipped in a mixture of detergent and warm water and gently scrub.

Areas of mould will require a more vigorous clean and you may want to apply a less diluted cleaning solution. Remember to rinse the fabric afterwards and lay it out in the sun so that it’s completely dry.

Outdoor furniture maintenance

Outdoor furniture can weather very quickly in the harsh sunlight so it’s important to look after it if you’re storing it outdoors throughout the year.

There are a range of products specifically designed for this purpose. For example, you can use a spray-on fabric protector for upholstery and apply wax to metal frames to stop them rusting or flaking.

Although wooden furniture often takes the most strain from the elements, it will benefit from a stain or water repellent to keep it looking rich and vibrant. It’s advisable to do this on an annual basis to ensure maximum protection.

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