Scrub a Dub! How to Make Your Patio Furniture Sparkle

Summer has arrived, and it’s time to uncover that patio furniture or drag it out of the garage. But before settling under the refreshing shade of your awning with a cold drink in hand, there’s something you need to tackle first: learning how to clean patio furniture. 

Musty, mildewy, dusty, and covered in cobwebs, your outdoor oasis might be in need of some TLC. Fortunately, with a little elbow grease and know-how, you can have your patio furniture looking like new. So roll up your sleeves, grab a sponge, and get ready to make your patio furniture sparkle with these tips. 

Why Clean Your Patio Furniture?

After being stored away or covered up throughout the fall and winter seasons, your patio furniture can accumulate dirt, mildew, and even mold. Regular cleaning helps extend the life of your furniture since dirt, grime, and buildup can lead to premature deterioration of many fabrics and materials. 

And let’s be honest; nothing puts a damper on outdoor relaxation quite like sitting on dirty, mildew-covered cushions or dining at a table caked with last season’s debris. Cleaning your patio furniture is not only a matter of hygiene but also a visual treat for the eyes.

How Often to Clean Patio Furniture

To keep your patio furniture looking its best, regular cleaning is essential. However, how often you clean depends on several factors, including the climate you live in, usage, and type of material. As a general rule of thumb, though, aim to clean your outdoor furniture at least once a season. Here are some other instances in which you might wipe down items on your patio:

  • Monthly: Light cleaning once a month helps prevent dirt buildup and keeps furniture looking fresh.
  • After Heavy Use: Clean your furniture after heavy use or outdoor gatherings to remove spills, stains, and dirt.
  • Seasonally: Perform a thorough cleaning at the start and end of each season. Doing so ensures your furniture is ready for use and properly stored.

Cleaning Different Types of Patio Furniture

1. Fabric (Cushions, Umbrellas)

Fabric items like cushions and umbrellas need regular cleaning to stay fresh and free from mold and mildew. In general, most cushions can be spot-cleaned with a mild detergent and water solution. For tougher stains, you may need to use a fabric-specific cleaner or have them professionally cleaned. Here’s how to clean outdoor furniture cushions and other similar patio fabrics.

  1. Use a soft brush to remove any loose dirt and debris.
  2. Prepare the cleaning solution by mixing mild detergent with warm water.
  3. Scrub the fabric gently with the soapy water using a soft brush. Pay attention to seams and crevices where dirt can accumulate.
  4. Rinse with a garden hose or pat the cushions with a towel to remove all soap and excess water.
  5. Allow the fabric to air dry completely in the sun to prevent mold and mildew.
  6. Use a fabric protector to help repel dirt and water in the future (optional).

2. Metal

Metal furniture, such as aluminum or wrought iron, is durable, stylish, and relatively easy to clean. However, it can be prone to rust if not properly maintained. Use these tips to clean your metal patio furniture pieces thoroughly. 

  1. Remove loose dirt and debris with a dry cloth or brush.
  2. Mix a solution of warm water and mild dish soap.
  3. Use a soft brush or sponge to clean the furniture with the soapy solution. Avoid using abrasive materials that can scratch the surface.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with the garden hose to remove all soap.
  5. For rust, apply white vinegar directly to the affected areas or use a paste of baking soda and water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub gently and rinse.
  6. Dry with a soft towel to prevent water spots.
  7. Apply a coat of car wax to metal surfaces for added protection against rust and corrosion.

If your metal furniture looks a little worse for wear, a fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into it. Painting metal furniture can revitalize its appearance while simultaneously protecting it from rust and corrosion.

3. Wicker

Wicker adds a classic and charming touch to any patio. However, this material can be delicate and requires regular cleaning to keep it looking its best. Here’s how to clean wicker furniture correctly.

  1. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove loose dust and dirt from the wicker. If you don’t have a vacuum, use a soft brush.
  2. Mix mild dish soap with warm water.
  3. Dip a soft brush or sponge into the soapy water and gently scrub the wicker. Be thorough but gentle to avoid damaging the weave.
  4. Use a garden hose with a gentle spray setting to rinse off the soap. Avoid using high pressure, which can damage the wicker.
  5. Wipe down the wicker with a soft cloth or towel and allow it to air dry completely. Ensure the furniture is dry before using it or putting cushions back on.

4. Wood

Wood furniture adds natural beauty to your patio but requires special care to prevent damage and maintain its appearance. Follow these steps for an irrefutable clean. 

  1. Brush off any surface dirt with a soft-bristled brush.
  2. Mix warm water with mild dish soap.
  3. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the wood along the grain to avoid scratching.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue, but do not saturate the wood. 
  5. For stubborn stains or mold, use an eco-friendly solution of one part white vinegar to three parts water to treat affected areas. Scrub, rinse, and dry.
  6. Allow the furniture to air dry completely in the sun.
  7. For added protection and to restore the wood’s natural glow, apply teak oil following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Additional Tips for Wooden Furniture

  • Oiling: Apply teak oil or a similar wood oil to maintain moisture and protect against the elements.
  • Sanding and Staining: Sand down rough spots and apply a fresh coat of stain or sealant to keep the wood looking fresh.
  • Teak Wood Maintenance: Teak furniture can develop a beautiful silvery patina over time. If you prefer the original golden color, regular oiling is necessary.

5. Plastic

Plastic patio furniture is popular because it’s relatively affordable, lightweight, and easy to maintain. However, it can get pretty grimy after being stored away. To ensure you’re cleaning patio chairs, sofas, tables, and other plastic furniture correctly, follow these steps. 

  1. Use a garden hose to remove loose dirt and debris from the furniture.
  2. Mix mild dish soap with warm water in a bucket.
  3. Dip a soft brush or sponge into the soapy water and scrub the furniture, paying extra attention to any stains or spots.
  4. Rinse off the soap with the garden hose. Ensure no soap residue is left.
  5. For tough stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply it to the stains, scrub gently, and rinse.
  6. Allow the furniture to air dry completely before using or storing cushions.

CORT Furniture Outlet: Your Destination For Furniture and Decor

Cleaning up your old patio furniture to kick off the spring and summer months is a great way to keep using older items. But if all the scrubbing in the world can’t salvage a stinky, moldy old chair, consider upgrading at CORT Furniture Outlet. After all, we know a thing or two about cleaning up furniture – all CORT Furniture Outlet items are Clean Certified. That means that once items are retired from their life as rental furniture through CORT, our team inspects, repairs, and thoroughly cleans them.

With discounts of up to 70% off on high-quality furniture for every room inside and outside your home, CORT Furniture Outlet can help you find the deals you love without compromising quality. Visit your local CORT Furniture Outlet in person or online today.

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