We all know that doing a massive clean of our outdoor furniture after winter isn’t always the easiest and most enjoying task. Preparing your furniture for outdoor entertaining during the warmer months is particularly important if your outdoor furniture has been sitting outside completely exposed to the elements and gathering more than just dust.
Below are some handy hints and techniques you can adopt to keep your setting in tip top condition and ensure long lazy afternoons in the backyard reading, snoozing and celebrating.
Getting started is easy – clear away any loose debris that may have collected on your furniture over the winter. With a brush or a dry cloth, wipe down your furniture to remove loose leaves, twigs, dust and loose debris.
You can also hose down certain materials to remove any surface debris. Be sure to use a hose with a soft spray attachment and only use this if your furniture is made of powder coated aluminium/stainless steel, synthetic wicker, water safe fabrics, plastic, or teak. If you are unsure whether your setting can be hosed down, please contact one of our showrooms to discuss.
Synthetic Wicker and Teak Furniture
Once you have brushed away excess debris and hosed down your furniture, it is best to use a mild soapy water with a soft brush or sponge to give your teak table and chairs and really good scrub.
Wicker – with its tight weaving may require a fine combed brush to remove hard to reach dirt and grime. Regular cleaning/hosing of wicker outdoor furniture will mean you can avoid a once a year scrub-a-thon trying to get your wicker furniture looking spick and span.
Teak outdoor furniture will clean up very well when you use a weak solution of regular laundry detergent. If your setting has silvered off in the sun, simply washing your teak furniture will restore some of the warm orange colouring underneath the surface.
Be sure to allow your teak outdoor furniture to dry off, and resist the urge to use teak oil as this can promote the growth of mildew. Teak already has enough of its own natural oils, so we recommend leaving it to evolve and age gracefully outdoors.
Please do not use a power washer as it could scar the timber or damage your wicker furniture. It may seem like a quick and easy solution, however your furniture will appreciate a much more gentle approach.
Stainless steel and wrought iron are popular choices for outdoor furniture. When powder coated, both materials are easy to maintain and durable. Most metal outdoor furniture will look as good as new once cleaned with a sponge in conjunction with soapy water.
If un-coated, ensure that you only purchase outdoor furniture with commercial grade stainless steel – such as 316 EP (electro-polished). This makes the surface smoother, giving dirt deposits no chance to penetrate).
The major problem that arises with stainless steel outdoor furniture is surface rust. If you detect some rust build-up, this can be easily cleaned off with a scouring pad and stainless steel cleaner. Rinse well with clean water.
Polypropylene / Plastic Furniture
Plastic outdoor furniture comes in a wide variety of shapes, styles and colours.
Not only is it extremely durable, it is very easy to maintain. All you need is a simple all-purpose cleaner and a cloth to wipe down and clean your plastic outdoor furniture in readiness for spring and summer. Choose a cleaner that is non-abrasive to avoid scuffing the surface.
Do not leave thick dirt/grime or animal droppings on the surface for too long. If the surface becomes stained it can be very difficult to remove.
Outdoor Cushions and Protective Covers
Outdoor cushions look fantastic and have the ability to bring an outdoor space alive. They bring the comfort and functionality of your indoor living area, outdoors in the open air.
However, if they aren’t clean or have been left to gather dust and grime over winter – no one will want to sit on them.
The good thing with fabrics used for outdoor furniture is that there are multiple ways to clean them and to ensure they are ready to use and brighten any outdoor space. Some cushion covers can be removed and washed on a gentle washing machine cycle. Always air dry them, and put the covers back onto the inserts when the fabric is slightly damp (if the covers are completely dry it can be very difficult).
The safest way to spot clean outdoor fabrics is to use a mix of dish soap and warm water.
If unsure – consult the furniture manufacturer and use their advice, or do a small test underneath the cushion to make sure you don’t damage the fabric.
We highly recommend bringing outdoor cushions indoors or undercover during winter or heavy rain to ensure the longest life possible.
If you don’t have enough indoor storage space, protective covers will be the best winter accessory for your outdoor setting. Simply remove the covers when you are ready to entertain outdoors, and your setting will be ready to go – no cleaning necessary!