Open Air: A Guide on Maintaining Your Outdoor Furniture
November 27, 2018
Since they are exposed to more elements than the furniture pieces inside the house, outdoor furniture need extra TLC. If you’re the type who doesn’t really spend much time in the garden or the backyard (given that the country’s weather encourages you to stay in your rooms and turn the air-conditioning on), and only uses these spaces when having guests around, better check now if your wicker chairs and wooden benches are in good condition.
For some general rules:
- Ideally, outdoor furniture must be cleaned every month; if not, at least four times a year. The key is not to wait until you see dirt buildup before cleaning.
- Store the furniture indoors during wet season to prevent damages that may be caused by the heavy rains and winds.
- Most outdoor furniture can be cleaned with mild soap and water or a soda/vinegar and water solutions.
Outdoor furniture pieces are commonly made of wood, metal, glass, plastic, and fabric. For these particular materials, specific cleaning methods may apply.
- Regularly wipe wood with soft fabric to remove dirt and keep it dry.
- For more thorough cleaning and protection, wood cleaners are available in the market.
- Consider annual sanding for hard wood. To sand means to smooth or polish with sandpaper, which is available in most hardware stores. After sanding, apply a coat of protective finish like oil, varnish, or polyurethane coating.
- What you have to take care of with metal is its luster. Wash it frequently with a mixture of dishwashing detergent and warm water. Scrub the surface, rinse, and then dry.
- Remove rust and damaged paint with sandpaper.
- For wrought-iron furniture, consider sandblasting, where a jet of sand is propelled by compressed air or steam. This method is also good for cleaning glass and stone.
- Glass requires more effort to maintain. To begin with, you can easily see if it has already gathered dirt—and it’s prone to collecting dirt.
- When not in use, cover glass tables.
- Clean with a solution of one part vinegar and four parts water.
- Regularly wipe it with microfiber cloth or paper towel to prevent scratching. Microfiber does a good job of not leaving streaks when the glass dries.
- Don’t forget to clean the underside of the glass at least once a month.
- Plastic furniture are durable and are the easiest to maintain, as they have high chemical resistance.
- One downside of plastic, though, is that it can be easily scratched; therefore, avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Hose plastic furniture first before scrubbing it with a cleaning solution, then rinse afterwards.
- For stubborn stains, use distilled vinegar.
- Avoid using chlorine and bleach for white plastic.
- Cushions and seat covers are usually made of canvas or synthetic materials. Most of these are machine-washable, but set the washing machine to a delicate cycle. Put the covering back on the furniture while still damp to maintain its form.
- If the cloth can’t be removed, gently brush off stains with a scrub brush dipped in laundry soap.