While most outdoor furniture might be built to withstand the harsh beatings of the elements, a little t.l.c once or twice a season will freshen up your patio look and help you feel much better about the furnishings you offer to your guests. There’s a huge selection of styles available and a surprisingly long list of materials that are safe outdoors, or others that can be rendered in weather-safe coatings, ranging from metals -like cast iron, aluminum, steel or wire- to various woods -hardwoods like Teak, Mahogany or White Oak and softer woods like Cypress or Cedar- and while plastics are more popular than most, resin and other polymer products are also well-liked. So while there are many things for outdoor furnishings to be made from, there doesn’t need to be a trove of equipment required to clean it all. The simple methods, done efficiently, are usually the best.
Keep Things Out Of Direct Sun
Often, space is a problem, but if you have it use it. Stack up your plastic chairs out of the sun, they’ll last ages longer and won’t become brittle and probably be less likely to snap when a hefty guest comes to visit. In general, the sun is harsh on all things under its glare, so keeping furniture in the shade will improve the lifespan and keep that fresh look for much longer. If sunlight is unavoidable, we suggest making sure that the coatings they’ve been treated in are in good condition and don’t need renewing, and the structures are still strong and not starting to come apart from expanding and contracting as day and night heats and cools things, especially metals and woods. Getting some pull-over covers for chairs and tables is a really good idea, they’re easy to use and a lot cheaper to replace.
Washing The Covers
Speaking of covers, when you’re out shopping for your new garden furnishings, try to get chairs with removable covers on the cushions. Machine- and hand-washable options are available, making it easy to just slip the covers off, and back on after a wash to remove more than just the usual leaves and garden debris.
Cleaning With Baking Soda
Wiping down surfaces of the furniture with water containing some Bicarb is said to help break down oils and sticky spots without causing damage to the product or coating, and we strongly suggest keeping away from strong cleaning chemicals like bleach. Rather opt for a nonionic surfactant, soaps like basic dishwashing liquids, these are really good at emulsifying organic oils and dirt. Just remember, a little goes a long way, so a half-teaspoon in a gallon of water will be strong enough to wash away that stubborn dirt you couldn’t get lifted with the vacuum cleaner or hand brush.
So, after riding out a couple of seasons in the sun, your outdoor furniture is going to need some renewing, a lick of paint as grandad used to say. Please remember, maintenance performed well has its reward in the appreciation of the items we get to keep on using. Some things just don’t need to be replaced, just revived.