Outdoor patio furniture can become dirty and smelly over time, especially if you don’t store it properly during the off-season. During the spring and summer months, airborne dust and moisture can create a grimy film on the outside of your tables and chairs. If your patio furniture needs a little TLC, grab a few basic cleaning ingredients and get to work.
How to Clean Patio Furniture
Most types of patio furniture can be cleaned using a homemade all-purpose cleaner. Combine a quart of warm water with a teaspoon of dish detergent and a teaspoon of borax. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle to make application a breeze. Saturate the furniture with the solution, and be sure to get all of the little creases and crevices. Allow the cleaning solution to sit for approximately 15 minutes, and then rinse it off with a garden hose on high power. Allow the furniture to dry out in the sun.
- Cleaning Canvas: Check to see if your canvas seats and chair backs are machine-washable. If not, I recommend using a scrub brush and a mixture of 2 gallons of warm water with ½ capful of mild liquid laundry detergent (without bleach). Use a sponge and wash the canvas with the solution. Rinse with a garden hose, and allow the furniture to air dry.
- Cleaning Wood: If possible, keep your wooden patio furniture covered when not in use. For light cleaning of wooden furniture, wipe down the surfaces with a cloth moistened with a mild soapy solution. If your wooden patio furniture needs a deep cleaning, gently scrub in the direction of the wood grain with a soft brush and a solution of water and dish detergent.
- Cleaning Plastic: Plastic patio furniture may still look dingy after an initial wash. To deep-clean plastic furniture, combine a quarter-cup of dish detergent and 2 tablespoons of oxygen bleach with a gallon of water. While wearing rubber gloves, scrub the plastic to remove any dirty areas.
How to Eliminate Mold and Mildew
Borax is a naturally occurring material that can be used as an effective cleaner and deodorizer. Borax also kills mold and mildew and inhibits mold growth. Unlike bleach products, borax is chemical-free and does not emit harmful gasses. To eliminate mold and mildew on your patio furniture, mix a cup of borax with a gallon of water. Once dissolved, pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray the furniture. Use a cloth or soft scrub brush to wipe away the mold. No rinsing is necessary.
How to Clean Patio Umbrellas
Keep your patio umbrella looking its best by cleaning it regularly, preferably monthly. Start by vacuuming or brushing off any loose dirt using a soft brush. Next, combine ¼ cup laundry detergent with a gallon of warm water. With a soft brush, work the solution into the fabric. Allow the detergent to sit on the fabric for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with a hose. Move the umbrella to a sunny area where it can air-dry.
Avoid Common Cleaning Mistakes
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when cleaning patio furniture is not following the manufacturer’s guidelines. These instructions are designed to teach homeowners how to properly care for their furniture and avoid damage: Be sure to follow them. You’ll also want to avoid using the wrong cleaning products, since many household cleaners are too harsh for upholstery and can cause discoloration. Before using any type of cleaning solution, first, apply it to a small, inconspicuous section of a cushion to see what effect it has on the material. This simple test can help you avoid a costly mistake.