Patio Furniture

Protect your patio furniture against the elements. CREDIT: Wicker Paradise (Flickr)

Patio furniture can suffer from abuse at the hands of summer heat, humidity, and general wear and tear. There is no single solution for caring for outdoor furniture, as different materials respond differently to various weather situations and require specific care to prevent excessive wear and damage. Protect your investment by learning how to properly care for your patio furniture this summer season.

Give Frequent Wash-Downs

Patio furniture can accumulate dust, dirt, and other debris fairly easily over the course of a summer. A quick wash-down and rinse can go a long way toward keeping your furniture clean and grime-free. Combine a mild dish detergent with warm water, and use a clean sponge to gently wash down the surfaces of the patio furniture. Use a bucket of cool water or a hose to rinse.

Clean and Protect Cushions

Removable cushions found on couches or chairs require separate care. Use a spot cleaner to remove any stains, and then hand-wash the cushions or run them through the gentle cycle of the washing machine. Allow the cushions to air dry before using them to prevent mildew growth. Before using them outside, apply a fabric protector to both sides of the cushions to prevent fading and to preserve their color during the summer.

Consider the Type of Material

The most commonly used materials in patio furniture include wrought iron, cast aluminum, and teak. While wrought iron and aluminum can be easily cleaned with a soapy solution, teak generally requires extra care. Teak will develop a grey patina over time if left uncleaned. To prevent this patina from developing, the furniture must be regularly cleaned with a scrub brush and soapy water to remove surface oil.

Protect Metal Furniture

If your patio furniture features metal frames, consider protecting the metal with a water-repellant, UV-resistant product. Simply follow the instructions provided on the outdoor furniture protection product when applying it to the framework of the furniture. Be sure to work the protector into all crevices and cracks, and allow it to completely air dry before using the furniture again.

Remove Mold and Mildew

Fungus can develop on patio furniture over a long winter, or when proper precautions are not taken when allowing wet furniture to dry. To remove stubborn mold and mildew, slip on a pair of gloves and spray the furniture with two parts bleach to one part water, combined in a spray bottle. After approximately 10 minutes, rinse the furniture with a hose to remove the bleach solution.

Invest in Furniture Covers

One of the easiest ways to protect your patio furniture while it’s not in use is with furniture covers. Furniture covers not only protect the furniture from rain, sun, and other outdoor elements, but they will also help to keep the framework cool, ensuring comfortable seating when you’re ready to use your patio chairs. Protective covers are available for your patio umbrellas as well as for patio chairs, tables, and other types of outdoor furniture.