Getting your deck or patio ready for summer entertaining is a chore most people are looking forward to. If you stored your furniture and cushions over the winter, you are ahead of the game. If you didn’t, we have some simple tips to help get your outdoor furniture ready to go.
Energize Your Old Stuff
The first step is to clean and inspect your furniture. See what needs to be re-painted or repaired. Don’t toss your old furniture. Energize it with a splash of color or vibrant new fabrics on the cushions. You’d be surprised what a thorough cleaning and a fresh coat of paint can do!
5 Tips for Cleaning Your Outdoor Furniture
- Sweep or vacuum off dust and dirt – Covering your furniture while in storage will cut down on some cleaning but it does not eliminate it. Dust can build up. There may also be a few unwanted guests tucked inside.
- Give it a gentle cleaning – Don’t power wash them. The harsh spray can wear down any protective coating on the furniture or fabric.
- Avoid harsh cleaners – Start with mild dish soap and warm water. Some cushion fabrics are machine washable but use the gentle cycle. Never put them in the dryer.
- Fight mold – Sometimes mild soap alone will not remove stains. Use oxygen bleach and a soft scrub brush first. If you use chlorine bleach, test a small hidden section. Chlorine will kill the mold but it can break down your fabrics. Wear protective glasses and mask when working around mold.
- Dry in the sun – Allow your furniture to air dry completely. If you clean your umbrellas or hammocks, stretch them out to help retain their shape.
A Gentler Approach to Cleaning Outdoor Furniture
The material your outdoor furniture is made of will determine how you clean it. As tempting as it may be to power wash everything and be done with it, a gentler approach keeps your décor looking better longer.
How Do I Clean This?
- Wood: Use mild soap and a soft scrub brush to wash the dirt off. If the furniture is badly stained, try an oxygen bleach cleaner. You can also lightly sand it and clean with a wood brightener. After your furniture is completely dry, apply a clear sealant to protect the wood from UV rays, dirt and mildew. Do this every 1-3 years.
- Metal: Most metals except aluminum rust. Catching it early is key. Clean with mild soap and water and allow to dry completely. Sand rust spots and touch up with paint. Apply a clear sealant when dry to protect from sun and moisture. A good coat of car wax helps repel dirt. Spray silicone lubricant on any hinges, joints or springs. Inspect your umbrella pole and stand for rust damage, too.
- Fabric: Outdoor fabric resists moisture but it can get dirty and develop mold. Use a mild soap and let them air dry. Re-treat the cushion covers with fabric protector every year to keep them looking like new. Checked the foam inserts for mold. If badly soiled, freshen things up with new ones!
Did I Miss Something?
When getting your deck or patio ready, don’t focus only on your furniture. There are plenty of items that get overlooked and can use a good scrubbing. Here is a list of things to check out:
- The grill – Even if you used it all winter, give it a clean start for the summer. Use a wire brush to scrub the grill and the inside elements.
- Umbrellas – Remove the fabric and wash on the gentle cycle. Dry it outside. (Don’t fold them up wet! Mold will grow.) If the fabric gets wrinkled, iron on a low setting.
- Storage bins – No one wants to pull a pool float out with spiders on it. Take everything out and vacuum the interior. Rinse down the pool floats, too.
- Plastic deck chairs – Use mild soap and a scrub brush to clean them. For aging, discolored chairs, consider spray painting them in a bold new color.
- Outdoor ceiling fans – If your outdoor dining area or porch has an overhead fan, wash the blades and oil the motor.
Save Money by Maintaining Your Outdoor Furniture
Why buy new tables and chairs every year? By taking the time to clean and inspect your outdoor furniture, you extend its life. Spend a weekend whipping your outdoor space into shape. Summer is right around the corner and you’ll be entertaining family and friends before you know it.
From orbital sanders and grinders to paint sprayers and pressure washers, our expert staff is ready to help you find the right tool to clean and repair your outdoor furniture. Planning ahead? Want to make sure you stow your outdoor furniture the right way at summer’s end? Check out our blog, Outdoor Entertaining Storage Made Easy in 8 Steps, for tips on the best way to pack things away. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.