The cost for your patio doesn’t stop after purchasing your attractive and comfortable outdoor furniture. Since your patio furniture is exposed to the harsh Florida sun and other outdoor elements, you will also need to regularly maintain it.
You’d notice that after a few seasons on the patio, your furniture starts to show mildew, stains, and rust marks. Imagine how annoying it is if you were wearing a light-colored outfit and then sat on your dirty patio chair. It’s not just your clothes that will get ruined, eventually, dirt can damage the quality, durability, and appearance of your furniture.
That’s why it’s important to take care of your outdoor pieces, it will help maintain their appearance and increase their lifespan, making your investment on them worth it.
As a general rule, you should cover your furniture and store it and its accessories such as cushions during the off-season, which are the months when you don’t want to spend outdoors.
For cleaning, most of your furniture and its accessories can be cleaned with a sponge, mild soap, and warm water. You can also use a hose or pressure washer, but make sure it’s not too powerful. These cleaning methods don’t apply to all of your outdoor furniture or sometimes these won’t be enough, so how you clean your furniture will depend on the material. Patio furniture can be made out of wood (teak or cedar), wicker, resin or plastic, metal (aluminum, steel, or iron), and fabric.
When you purchase your patio furniture, it usually comes with instructions on how to clean and take care of it. If you still have it, make sure to follow the steps and find out the suitable products to clean your furniture and to avoid voiding the warranty. If you can’t find it, here are general ways on how you can maintain your outdoor furniture based on its material.
Wood Patio Furniture
Most types of wood used for patio furniture don’t easily decay and can withstand different weather conditions. Before you wash your wooden furniture, make sure that it’s coated with varnish. If it is, you can just wash it with soap and then rinse it with water.
For bird droppings, rust stains, or discoloration, you can use sandpaper and then rinse the affected area afterward. Don’t use chlorine bleach since it will damage the material.
To protect against dirt, the harsh sun, and moisture as well as to maintain the material’s color, use a sealer. For additional protection, apply a penetrating semi-transparent waterproofing wood stain (make sure the color matches) which also doubles as a mildewcide, once or every other year.
If you’re not going to use it for at least two months, store your wooden chairs and tables indoors, unless it’s made out of teak or cedar. Teak is actually the easiest material to maintain, no wonder it’s the most popular choice for wood outdoor furniture.
Wicker Patio Furniture
The wicker used for your furniture can be made out of rattan, coated paper, or split reed. They are usually coated with paint or clear varnish to make it water-resistant.
Make sure to remove all the accessories such as cushions before washing it. You can easily clean it with a pressure washer on a light setting or hose, but don’t use too much water or else it will weaken the material. If the dirt doesn’t come off, use mild soap and a sponge to scrub it away. After rinsing it thoroughly, let it air dry. Use a vacuum if there is still any leftover debris. For peeling paint, use sandpaper to remove the peels and then paint over it.
Water isn’t actually wicker’s worst enemy, it’s the sun. With our Florida sun, make sure you cover your pieces if you’re not going to use it for half a month or more.
Resin or Plastic Patio Furniture
Resin furniture is made out of plastic that had chemical treatments such as fungicides and ultraviolet stabilizers. This furniture is very low-maintenance and easy to clean. You can just use a hose or pressure washer to clean it.
Let it dry and then you’re good. If there is any leftover dirt, use a mild soap to scrub it off. You can use an abrasive to remove marks and stains.
If there is any discoloration, you can use a recolor kit to restore your furniture’s color and make it look shiny.
Metal Patio Furniture
Metal furniture is usually made out of steel, aluminum, and iron that was wrought, molded, or formed using tubing. Except for aluminum, other materials tend to rust which is why they are coated with paint, powder coating, or clear varnish.
Most metal furniture is rust-resistant, so you can just clean it with soap and water. To remove molds or rust, use sandpaper and then paint over it (make sure not to do it when it’s a humid day).
Use a lint-free cloth to apply naval jelly or wax to prevent rusting and corroding. For the glides or swivels on chairs, use silicon spray to lubricate it.
Fabric Patio Furniture
The fabric you will find on your furniture and accessories are typically chemically-treated to make it sun-, moisture-, mildew-, and stain-resistant. This applies to different types of fabric such as cotton blends or synthetic fibers like vinyl-coated acrylic or polyester.
If it’s stock-dyed or printed fabric, it is more prone to fading than solution-dyed fabric. You can check which type of fabric you have by looking at both sides. Printed or stock-dyed usually has a design on one side and only on the outside, while solution-dyed has identical designs for both sides and has dyed fibers and threads.
For removable covers, such as hammocks and other cloth, you can clean it using a washing machine. Use a mild soap and cold water, and then let it air-dry. Don’t use a dryer but place it back over the furniture or frame to prevent it from shrinking. Only use bleach products when the material is white.
For cushions made out of acrylic, you can remove dirt or stains using a sponge and soapy water. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and let it air dry before storing or placing it back to avoid mildew. Don’t wrap it in plastic if you plan to store it.
Of course, if you spill on it, immediately wipe it with a cloth dipped in soapy water. Be careful with sunblock or sunscreen since it can cause discoloration. If the fabric is starting to lose its stain and water-repellent coat, you can use a fabric protector to restore its effectiveness.
Store your fabric outdoor furniture and accessories if you’re not going to use them for more than a month.