Cleaning Your Outdoor Furniture

Depending on where you live, it may be time to start thinking about getting your outdoor furniture prepped for winter storage, or maybe you are gearing up to extend your patio season into fall, or better yet, perhaps it's just another day in paradise where you live. Regardless of your locale, now is a great time to think about giving your outdoor furniture a little refresher and brushing away some of the tell-tale signs of a summer well lived. Before you head outdoors with a full arsenal of heavy-duty solvents and chemicals let's just relax for a moment, put down the pressure washer, and see what the experts suggest when it comes to cleaning your patio furniture.

Less is More

Is your cleaning persona that of a fighter not a lover? Do you tend to gravitate to tough verbiage and hard tag lines in the cleanser isle, like "for life's biggest messes" and "tough stain fighting action"?  If so, fight your instinct to grab the "serious" pressure wash nozzle and turn to mild soap and water first. According to most Care and Maintenance guidelines for cleaning outdoor furniture, the best practice is to mix a mild soap like dish detergent with warm water, wash by hand and then thoroughly rinse with clean water. A soft bristle brush helps get into cracks and in-between woven materials. Follow up with a soft absorbent towel to dry.

Fabrics and Cushions

Never dry clean or machine wash cushions, sling, or umbrella covers as this will result in shrinkage or damage. Again, the best cleaning method is to use mild soap and water. If you are still having a hard time getting mildew or other stains out, look for a commercial outdoor furniture cleaner and protectant and follow the instructions. The sun also has incredible cleansing power, so after rinsing, stand the cushions on end to dry in a sunny spot. If you are storing for winter or live in an area where birds and trees are plentiful, you may want to invest in outdoor furniture covers.

Outdoor Rugs 

The recommendation for cleaning outdoor rugs is to blot any stains immediately with a clean sponge or cloth and then rinse with a hose. Placing a towel on the underside of the rug and one on top and then applying pressure (walk on it) also helps to lift stains. If you have a fence or gate to throw the rug over it will help speed the drying process.