To-Do #8: Clean Outdoor Patio Furniture
Weather, temperature changes, the sun, and pollen can wreak havoc on outdoor patio furniture. Here are some quick tips for cleaning a variety of furniture materials.
Outdoor Furniture Cleaning Tips:
- Wrought Iron: Scrub with soap, smooth rough spots with a wire brush or sandpaper, spray with a rust-inhibiting metal primer, and apply several coats of metal spray paint in the desired color.
- Aluminum: Remove oxidation by scrubbing with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. Use automotive rubbing compound, or soap and very fine steel wool, to remove any oxidation, being careful not to scratch the aluminum. Rinse and allow to dry thoroughly, then apply automotive paste wax to protect the finish.
- Plastic and Resin: Scrub with a dampened sponge sprinkled with baking soda to gently scour away grime. Remove mold and mildew by mixing up 1/4 cup white vinegar in a quart of water. Spray it on the surface, let it sit for 10-20 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and let the furniture dry in the sun. White furniture can be cleaned with a weak bleach solution. Shine the furniture by applying automotive paste wax.
- Wood: Scrub cedar, redwood, and pine furniture with a solution of 1/4 cup ammonia and two tablespoons white vinegar per quart of water. Clean teakwood using a solution of laundry detergent, bleach, and water applied with a scrub brush. If desired, apply teak oil after the furniture has thoroughly dried.
- Fabric: If fabric covers are machine washable, remove them and launder according to the instructions on the tag. Replace the covers on the cushions while still wet to reduce shrinkage and ensure a tight fit. Attached cushions can be cleaned by mixing a squirt of dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon of borax in a quart of water. Spray down the fabric and scrub with a sponge or soft brush, and allow to soak for 10-20 minutes. Rinse with a hose and allow to dry. Mildew stains can be removed using regular bleach for white fabrics and color-safe bleach or oxygen bleach for colored fabrics.
For more information, see our article on How To Clean Outdoor Patio Furniture.