In order for your outdoor furniture to last, you need to clean it properly and frequently. You should have furniture cleaning at least four times a year: at the beginning of the summer, at its end and a few times in between. Organize cleaning however it suits you, but it is the best to divide attention between the materials and clean them separately.
Use a clean cloth that is dampened with a mixture of water and some mild dishwashing detergent and simply rinse your plastic furniture by hosing it down.
However, you can make your own cleaning products: mix ½ cup of washing soda with a gallon of warm water; or use 3 tablespoons of automatic dishwasher detergent with gallon of warm water and simply wash your furniture with cloth.
For colored plastic you can use ¼ cup of vinegar that is mixed with 1 quart of warm water, but for white plastic avoid using bleach and chlorine because it will eat away your furniture. For some stubborn stains you can use clean rag dampened with distilled vinegar or sprinkle baking soda on a wet sponge and peel away the stains, without scratching the surface. After using any of the techniques for cleaning plastic furniture, protect it with automotive paste wax.
For cleaning glass surfaces of your furniture, it is the best to use dish detergent and some home cleaning options. Avoid using scrub brushes, because those can damage the glass; instead, use glass-save nonabrasive materials to remove any debris stuck on the surface. After cleaning with detergent and water, you can spray some white vinegar onto the surface and wipe it with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.
When you are not using the glass table, you should cover it with a tablecloth to avoid unnecessary cleaning, and you should also clean the underside of the glass at least once a month and prevent grime. As for the frames of your glass surfaces, you should clean them according to their type of material.
Wood and Wicker Furniture
Wicker and wood outdoor furniture needs careful and thorough maintenance in order to be durable and sparkly. You can use mixtures of a mild oil-base soap and warm water, gently scrub the furniture and rinse with water. Another homemade cleaner you can make includes the mixture of ¼ cup of ammonia, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 quart of warm water, and your furniture will be as good as new.
Outdoor furniture made of teak, ebony, birch and many other types of hard wood will need sanding at least once a year and application of proper coating. As far as wicker furniture is concerned, you should hose it down once in a few weeks, in order to avoid any piling up of dirt in crevices. Also, make sure to regularly wipe your wooden outdoor furniture to keep it free of dirt, excess water and debris, and give it the most perfect protection.
Aluminum furniture could be tricky to clean because of oxidation. Before you decide to clean such furniture, make sure to remove any imperfections by using a metal polishing paste, or with a help of 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water. Remember to avoid chemicals such as ammonia and trisodium phosphate, because such (alkaline) cleaners cause oxidation and damaging of your furniture.
To perfectly maintain aluminum you need to wash it frequently with water, remove any scuff marks by using a soft cloth dampened with some nonabrasive cleaner, and you need to fight off the rust by sanding it off of your furniture and consider repainting it with rust-resistant paint. Other metal furniture, such as wrought-iron, you should protect by sandblasting or powder-coating it, and after every cleaning coat it with automotive wax.
Treat your outdoor furniture properly, and it will promise you durable comfort and stylish patio. Each piece should be handled according to its materials, and make sure to take care of your furniture during all the seasons.
A student of architecture from Sydney. She writes regularly about home improvement and likes to read about sustainable architecture and design. In her free time, Lana loves cycling and spending time outdoors.