Your patio furniture needs maintenance like the rest of the household… maybe even more. So how to clean patio furniture and refresh your outdoor setting to its former glory? Read on to learn more.
The good news is that cleaning patio furniture can be simple and quick if done consistently. With a few tips, some work, and some right supplies, your patio setting can look brand new in no time.
This article will discuss how to properly clean different types of patio furniture with natural ingredients that aren’t harsh on its material.
Typical Patio Furniture Materials
First, let’s look at the materials from which patio chairs and tables are usually made.
Various materials are used to make them, including plastic, metal, wood, wicker, resin, and aluminum.
- Plastic patio pieces can be lightweight and weather-resistant, making them an economical choice.
- Metals like aluminum, steel, wrought iron, and cast iron, are popular materials because of their durability and ease of maintenance. But they are not maintenance-free, and cleaning metal patio furniture is necessary.
- Wood patio furnishing tends to be heavier and more expensive than the other options but can add character and a natural look to any outdoor space.
- Wicker has become popular due to its lightweight and versatility, but it requires proper maintenance to prevent fading over time.
- Resin is an excellent choice for outdoor living spaces, as it’s durable and easy to maintain. To keep resin looking its best, regular cleaning is necessary.
- Aluminum is light, strong, and weather resistant, making it a good choice that doesn’t require as much upkeep as some of the other materials listed here.
Cleaning Products for Different Types of Patio Furniture Materials
The cleaning product you should use for different outdoor materials will vary and depend on the material and fabric. It is essential to use gentle and non-abrasive cleaners and water for metal.
- Warm water with dishwashing soap works best for plastic chairs, but do not use harsh chemicals as they can damage the surface.
- For wood surfaces, it is best to avoid bleach or abrasives and opt for a special cleaner designed specifically for wood, such as Murphy Oil Soap.
- Use caution when using commercial cleaners for resin furnishing, as many are too abrasive.
- Finally, if your patio chairs and table are made from wicker or bamboo, they may require specialized cleaners explicitly designed for them.
Be sure to follow the instructions on any cleaner before using it to ensure that your patio furniture set is properly and safely cleaned.
If there are mold or mildew build-up spots, use a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar to help remove them.
Use an abrasive cleanser with a sponge for stubborn stains or dirt patches for more effective results.
You’re well-equipped to tackle even the most demanding outdoor cleaning tasks with all these items.
Read more: How to Clean a Patio Umbrella?
Before cleaning, remove any dirt build-up from cushions and frames. Use a stiff brush or broom to sweep away residue on hard surfaces if necessary.
For fabric cushions or covers, shake them out vigorously outside before bringing them back inside for washing and drying (if they are machine washable).
Once all these preliminary steps have been taken, you can begin deep cleaning your patio furnishing!
Techniques for Cleaning Delicate Fabrics and Fine Details
You can use some special techniques when cleaning delicate fabrics or fine details in patio chairs and tables (toothbrush, obviously!).
- For upholstered chairs and sofas, you’ll want to use a mild detergent and warm water to spot-clean any dirt spots. You may also need to scrub the fabric with a soft brush or toothbrush if the dirt is embedded in the fibers.
- For more delicate materials such as wicker or rattan, it’s best to use a gentle cleaner designed explicitly for them.
- If your patio furniture has details like buttons or tassels, use a softer cleaning cloth to avoid damaging them.
- Additionally, when you start cleaning the complex detail work of an outdoor furniture piece (such as curves and scrollwork), you should use Q-tips soaked in soapy water to gently remove dirt and dust build-up without damaging anything.
When cleaning these areas, avoid using harsh cleaners and do not apply excessive pressure.
Read more: How to Clean Mesh Patio Chairs
Deep Cleaning Strategies
If you’ve done the basic cleaning of your patio pieces and it’s still not looking its best, then it might be time to employ some deep-cleaning strategies (for example, if you need to clean mold off from your patio furniture).
Pressure washing is an option if your outdoor furnishing is made from plastic or metal and can handle this type of pressure.
Use an appropriate cleaner for the material, set up the equipment correctly, test it on a small area first, and ensure you do not damage any painted surfaces with too much pressure.
Tip: Whatever cleaning method you use, test first in a small, unnoticeable area to ensure it’s a colorfast material.
For wooden pieces, chemical cleaning solutions are not recommended by experts. Hand washing with soapy water is the safest option for cleaning wooden chairs and tables.
Make sure that whatever product you use has been approved by the manufacturer of your wood units! Many chemicals may STRIP AWAY protective coatings or cause other issues over time.
Be sure to wear rubber gloves when using these products and rinse off all residue thoroughly after application. Your patio should look brand new in no time!
Protect Your Patio Furniture From Getting Soiled or Damaged in the Future
There are some steps you can take to PROTECT your outdoor patio setting and keep it looking fresh for years to come.
- First, invest in good quality furniture covers that are waterproof and lightweight. Covering the pieces will keep dirt and moisture away, making them much easier to clean if they get dirty.
Read more: Can Patio Furniture Covers be Washed? (hand wash vs machine wash)
- Another way to protect your patio furnishing is to store it away from direct sunlight when not in use, as too much exposure to UV rays can cause fading and damage over time.
- Fabric protection should also be applied regularly. It helps to preserve your items against extreme weather conditions like rain, snow, and sun exposure. The outdoor-specific protective coating will shield the material while maintaining its attractive appearance.
- Don’t leave wet items or potted plants on the table. This can cause mold and discoloration.
These extra steps each season will help prolong a bright, beautiful outdoor seating area for years.
These extra steps will protect your outdoor furniture during all seasons and help prolong a bright, beautiful outdoor setting area for years.
Other Maintenance Tips
Check the furnishing for signs of wear and damage before you begin a cleaning project.
- Doing a quick maintenance inspection can save you from further damage down the line.
- After all, prevention is key when it comes to patio furnishing care!
- Check your pieces for missing screws or parts and discoloration that may indicate mold growth.
Keep any metal parts lubricated as part of regular maintenance to ensure they don’t rust or corrode due to moisture build-up.
Tips and Tricks for Keeping Outdoor Cushions and Pillows Looking Their Best
Many patio cushions have removable zippered covers that can be removed for easier cleaning.
If the care tag indicates that the covers can be machine washed, throw them into the washing machine (on a gentle cycle).
But what about if your patio cushions do not have removable covers? Here are some tips and tricks on how to clean patio cushions and keep them looking their best:
1. Spot Clean with a Mild Detergent Solution – For tougher stains or build-up of dirt on your outdoor cushions and pillows, use a mild detergent solution with warm water to spot clean them. Scrub gently with a damp cloth to remove tough stains without damaging the material.
2. Rinse Thoroughly – Once you’ve scrubbed away any dirt or stains, rinse thoroughly with warm water to remove all detergent residue. Then air-dry entirely before putting it back on the frames of the chair or sofa.
3. Get the Right Cleaner – Get the right cleaner for outdoor cushions or pillows. Avoid harsh abrasives or chemical cleaners that could discolor your fabric or cause irreversible damage.
4. Vacuum Regularly – Vacuuming dust, dirt, leaves, and other debris can help keep your outdoor cushions and pillows looking their best by preventing dirt from becoming embedded in them over time.
5. Store Cushions and Pillows Indoors – When not in use, store your patio cushions and pillows indoors. Cushions and pillows stored outdoors are more prone to fading, mildew, and other damage from the elements. Keeping them inside helps to protect them from the sun, rain, and dirt.
And don’t put your cushions on the grass to avoid mud or grass stains.
The last option (and a time-consuming DIY project) is to replace the fabric on your patio chairs for a totally fresh look. Not only will your chairs look brand new, but you’ll also save money by not purchasing new furniture.
When Cleaning Patio Chairs and Tables, What Items Do You Need?
When cleaning outdoor setting, you’ll need to have some of the following items on hand:
- A soft cloth or brush for gently scrubbing surfaces.
- Mild soap, such as dish detergent or hand soap, to gently clean the furniture.
- Aluminum polish if your piece is made of aluminum.
- A sponge for wiping off excess soap and water.
- An oil-based cleaner (such as Murphy’s Oil Soap) for removing dirt and grime from your furniture’s surface.
- A protective sealant such as waterproof oil or wax to protect your chairs and sofa from further damage.
- Protective gloves for your hands.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should Patio Furniture Be Cleaned?
In general, it is recommended that you clean your outdoor patio setting once every two to three months to keep it looking its best. Regular maintenance will keep dirt and debris from building up on the surfaces of your furniture.
But the fixed interval might not be a good starting point for you! It all depends on the weather conditions, the environment, and how much you use your outdoor pieces.
For example, if your patio dining set is exposed to harsh weather conditions or gets dirtier due to everyday use, you must clean them more often than once a month.
However, if your patio setting is adequately protected from the weather and not used often, dust them off and clean them when needed.
If you live in an area with seasonal changes, you may need to deep clean the furniture twice a year—once at the beginning of each season.
Additionally, if you notice any potentially damaging harm on your furniture pieces, such as rust or mildew, you should clean them immediately before the damage worsens.
Are There Any Special Considerations For Cleaning Fabrics of Outdoor Patio Settings?
Yes, there are special considerations for choosing outdoor cushions. And also, cleaning the fabrics the right way.
The first thing to consider is whether the material is treated with weatherproofing treatments like waterproofing or UV protection.
If your outdoor textiles have been treated, you should check the label for specific instructions on cleaning them and what type of detergent is best.
Another important consideration is ensuring that your cleaning solution does not contain bleach or other harsh chemicals. These could damage the fabric’s color or protective treatments.
Finally, avoid scrubbing abrasive materials like steel wool on outdoor fabrics, which could also cause damage.
Are There Any Natural Cleaning Solutions That Can Be Used On Patio Furnishing?
Yes, several natural cleaning solutions can be used to clean outdoor patio pieces.
- you can use vinegar and warm water to clean tough stains,
- white wine or lemon juice to remove mildew and mildew stains, and
- baking soda to remove grease and gunk.
Additionally, club soda is excellent for removing minor stains on aluminum patio furniture.
You can also use a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice to remove discoloration from wooden outdoor furniture.
The Bottom Line
Cleaning the patio set can be a tedious task. But with some basic steps, you can have your outdoor furniture looking as good as the day you bought it.
So grab a bucket and cleaning supplies, get outside, and tackle that (boring) cleaning job!
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