January 25, 2016
How do you turn an empty yard into an additional room for your home? By adding outdoor patio furniture! Sure the heart may reside in the home, but the yard belongs to the home just as much as any other room. Homeowners should not ignore decorating the yard, regardless of the typical outside climate. Cold regions have benches, chairs, and barbecue grills, while hot regions can have poolside or beach furniture along with umbrellas or canopies. As much as patio furniture can add to a home, nothing else takes more physical punishment than outdoor furniture. The outdoors can do harsh things to furniture, from residual chlorine water splashing from a swimming pool to rain, hail, or snow buffeting the furniture’s exterior. As much as have to clean and care for the interior of our homes, we have to clean and care for the furniture that we leave outside exposed to nature. Most furniture designed for the outdoors typically can withstand the elements, but an annual cleaning can go a long way toward making them last for many years to come.
Today’s fabrics and cushions made for the outdoors come with extreme durability, but dirt and grime can wear away even the toughest weaves. Cleaning cushions starts with dusting off surface dirt using either a brush or a loose towel. With the dust removed, use a sponge or soft bristle brush to apply a solution of a quarter cup of mild detergent diluted in a gallon of water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all the soap and allow the fabric to air dry, and the cushions will return to its original bright and cheery appeal. If you have canvas cushion covers, you can remove them and toss them in the laundry. Otherwise, use a bar of Fels-Naptha soap and a soft bristle brush to clean the covers. This solution also works well for removing tough stains like bird droppings from canvas awnings.
If you take good care of your furniture, then they will likely require a quick vacuuming and wipe with a cloth soaked in a mild detergent dilution. Scrub off stubborn grime with a bristle brush dipped in the same solution, then rinse with a cloth soaked in plain water. For wicker that has started to dry out or split, wait for a breezy day to mist it with a hose and allow it to dry in a shady spot. Do not do this more than twice a year – doing so will weaken the glue joints.
Dirt and grime can cause mildew to grow on teak, so they require thorough scrubbing with a solution of equal amounts of mild detergent and water using a bristle brush. Do this once a year to ensure that the teal remains free of mildew. Oiling the teak can help it retain its buttery gold hue and prevent the wood grain from cracking, but increasing its moisture content can also make it mildew more easily. Consult with your manufacturer before applying oil to your teak to get a product recommendation if you decide to move forward with it.
Most metal garden furniture comes with a protective coat finish that makes it impervious to the elements. However, that finish eventually wears away. Inspect your metal furniture carefully every spring. If you see any rust damage or bubbles in the varnish, use sandpaper to remove the damaged area, then apply new paint or varnish. Strong acids, such as bird droppings, can wear away your furniture’s protective finish. Inspect your furniture regularly and remove droppings as soon as you see then. Also consider giving everything a good wiping with a cloth dampened in a mild detergent solution a few times throughout the season.