How to Properly Care for Outdoor Furniture

Posted by Marketing on Monday, May 8th, 2023 at 1:57pm.

Middle Tennessee is overflowing with appealing amenities, adventures, and auditory delights, which continue to draw newcomers to our neighborhoods. However, we believe that the natural beauty with which we’re surrounded is the crowning gem of every corner of Tennessee.

As a homeowner, you have the opportunity to create an outdoor oasis in your own back yard. Landscaping, outdoor cooking areas, beautiful lighting, and a fire pit is a great start, but your outdoor living space will fully come together when you purchase a set of your dream outdoor furniture! 

To keep your back yard looking stellar year after year, it’s essential that you learn to properly care for your outdoor furniture pieces. We recommend a thorough cleaning every six months: once in the spring, and once in late fall before your furniture goes into storage.

No matter the material, our guide below will tell you just how to keep your precious patio furniture gleaming.

General Cleaning

All outdoor furniture can benefit from a gentle cleaning with a dry, soft-bristle brush. Follow up this initial sweeping with a rinse in cool, clean water. If your patio furniture needs further attention, begin with a mild cleanse using the following method:

  •       Add ¼ cup of mild dishwashing liquid per gallon of water
  •       Use your soft-bristle brush or a clean sponge to scrub dirt, grime, and mildew from surfaces
  •       Rinse with cold, clean water
  •       Pat dry with a clean, lint-free cloth

Please do not use chlorine bleach, oil soap, acid-based cleansers, or abrasive cleaners. If you decide to try anything other than our recommended mild soap solution, find a hidden area to conduct a patch test. Wait until your patch test has completely dried before you proceed on the rest of the furniture.

Weather Issues

Even if your furniture is labeled for use in all weather, we do recommend drying all types of furniture thoroughly after a bout of rain. No matter your furniture style, keeping it as dry as possible can only prolong its usable lifespan.

Removing Mildew and Other Molds

Mildew and other types of mold are sporing fungi, so it’s essential that you follow steps that will prevent the further spread of these contagious organisms. Scrubbing and sanding are mechanical measures that will remove mold, but you must wear gloves and a mask, then discard any cleaning implements that cannot be fully disinfected.

Cleaning Wooden Furniture

If your wooden furniture is high-quality and intended for use outdoors, it is meant to withstand the conditions in your yard. You can choose from sealed or unsealed wood; while sealed wood stays looking new longer, it doesn’t develop the silver, ashen patina that will soon grace unsealed wood.

If your furniture has developed mildew or staining, follow the directions on powered oxygen bleach (never chlorine bleach) to prepare a hot water cleanser. Use your soft-bristle brush to scrub your furniture with this solution, then rinse thoroughly.

Stains that do not respond to this treatment can be resolved by gentle sanding along the grain. Use fine-grit sandpaper, and follow up with several rinses.

Wicker Furniture

This delicate woven furniture cannot withstand harsh cleaning methods and sanding, so preventive cleansing is of utmost importance. Sunlight will damage wicker, so this type of furniture is not recommended for areas of your yard or patio that receive a lot of bright, direct light.

When it comes to removing dirt and leaves from your wicker, your vacuum’s soft-bristled attachment is your best friend. To clear out stubborn grime, use a dry, soft paintbrush with firm, short strokes.

Finally, use our mild soap solution and a soft sponge to clean the wood along the weave. Be careful about the amount of water you use; too much will damage your furniture.

Plastic Furniture

Plastics used in outdoor furniture are usually UV resistant, fungus-resistant, and can be cleaned with our mild soap solution and a sponge. Rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.

Metal Furniture

All metal furniture not made from aluminum is susceptible to rust, which is why powder coating, varnishes, sealants, and paint are used to preserve them. For this reason, we recommend carefully inspecting your metal furniture no less often than once per year for cracks, chips, or flaking of these protective coatings. If you notice any of these defects, seek out repair or refinishing as quickly as possible so that rust is not able to take hold.

Metal furniture that has intact coating can be scrubbed clean with our mild soap solution, rinsed, and patted dry with a clean, lint-free cloth. Work on a dry, warm day to ensure no moisture lingers in the joints.

Fabric-Covered Furniture

New, high-quality outdoor furniture is covered in impressively high-tech performance fabric designed to resist the deleterious effects of sun, rain, and grime. We recommend frequent dry brushing, vacuuming, or wiping this material down with a barely-damp cloth. To avoid staining, mop up spills immediately and try to prevent sunscreen and bug spray from being transferred to your furniture. If these products do find their way onto your furniture, it’s time to clean up promptly.

It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s directions to maintain and deep clean your furniture. Check the fabric’s tags or the user manual that came with your furniture. You may be instructed to hand-wash, machine-wash, or dry-clean your fabric covers.

If your covers can be hand-washed or machine-washed, you will likely also be able to use chlorine-free bleach to remove mold or mildew that manages to find a foothold during the rainy or humid months.

To maintain your furniture’s fabric protection, the manufacturer may recommend re-coating with a material-specific spray at least once a year.

The Takeaway

Outdoor furniture can take your back yard from cute to luxurious, but this level of comfort and aesthetic charm can only last as long as your care and maintenance efforts do. Splurge on the furniture you’ve always wanted, then care for it as you do your automobile and your home kitchen. You’ll be rewarded for your hard work year after year as you enjoy your time outdoors!

Leave a Comment
Format example:
Format example: