With summer just around the corner, many of us are preparing our outdoor spaces for the upcoming season. While your patio, lawn and garden may require some cleaning, trimming and planting, your outdoor furniture should receive an equal amount of attention. If you have purchased a set of high quality outdoor furniture you have made a sizable investment. The following tips will not only help you to spruce up your furniture for the summer but also help protect your investment and make sure you get the most out of your patio furniture.
After a long winter your outdoor furniture is in need of a good cleaning. Ideally your furniture wasn’t left outside unprotected and you either used furniture covers or stored the furniture and/or cushions somewhere dry. Even if stored or protected, dust and other contaminants build up over time and accidents happen such as food, drink spills and bird droppings.
Cleaning Outdoor Furniture & Cushions
While outdoor furniture was designed to be left outside and endure the elements, some casual upkeep and maintenance will prolong the life of your furniture and increase the pleasure of using your outdoor rooms. At least twice a year your furniture should receive a good cleaning. Patio furniture frames, cushions and slings are made of different materials and should be cleaned separately and with different products. For a regular cleaning, spray off your furniture with water first to get rid of standing dust and loose particles. A solution of mild soap and water will take care of the majority of your cleaning needs.
For spring cleaning you may begin by vacuuming cushions. This will prevent an accumulation of dust being forced into the cushions or turned into mud by water spray. For the tougher stains like wine, berry juice, tree sap, oil and grease you may use a product designed specifically for patio furniture like 303 Patio Furniture Cleaner or 303 Fabric Cleaner. If using a furniture cleaning solution designed for the frames or vinyl straps, try to avoid your cushions and slings. Some products used on frames may damage or strip color from fabric or slings.
Cleaning outdoor fabric is much like cleaning furniture. Simple preventive measures such as turning your cushions down when not in use will keep dust from building up on seating surfaces. Regularly vacuuming or shaking the cushions will help as well. Again, cleaning with soap and water will take care of most stains. For tougher stains, outdoor fabric leader Sunbrella recommends the use of 303 Fabric Cleaner. Whenever using a cleaner be sure to fully read the instructions first and use it as instructed.
Outdoor Furniture Protectants
Whenever you thoroughly clean outdoor furniture and fabrics, you inadvertently strip the protective coating that was applied at the factory. Most furniture manufactures recommend reapplying this coating by the using 303 Patio Furniture Protectant for furniture with a matte finish like powder coated cast aluminum. This solution acts almost as a sun block, leaving the furniture with a repellant finish that prevents sweat, body oils, soiling and other contaminants from building up. For furniture with a gloss finish, treat it like your car and use an automotive wax.
Your outdoor fabrics may lose their stain protection as well. Once again, Sunbrella recommends the use of 303 High Tech Fabric Guard. Before applying 303 or any cleaning solution or fabric guard, be sure to test it first on a hidden area of the fabric. If any color rubs off, do not proceed. As always be sure to carefully read the instructions before applying.
Before a long road trip it is always a good idea to have your vehicle inspected to make sure all fluids are at their right levels and that you have proper tire pressure. The same goes for your furniture. Before a long season of heavy use you want to check your furniture’s moving parts and screws. If you own a swivel rocker for instance, make sure that the screws that connect the chair body to the base are snug. On all tables (dining, bar height and occasional tables) be sure that the bolts and screws that connect the legs to the tabletop are tight. If a table is often moved around on a patio, over time those screws tend to loosen up and cause the table to wobble.
Putting your best foot forward
Adjusting and replacing the foot caps on your patio furniture’s legs can help level your furniture on uneven surfaces and prevent marring your floors. Over time foot caps (glides) tend to wear down and sometimes even snap off. Adjustable foot caps (glides) may need pliers to initially break them free, as the threading can get dirty. “Cup glides” on wrought iron furniture legs will wear down over time and can eventually cause damage to your floors and furniture frames. Fortunately Forever Glides makes replacement foot glides for both cast aluminum and wrought iron furniture that are easy to install and will self-level.
Other blog articles you might find interesting:
How To Keep Outdoor Rugs Looking New
Reasons You Should Consider Outdoor Patio Furniture Covers
Need help finding the right outdoor furniture?
Download our “Outdoor Furniture Buying Guide” for FREE!
Loaded with important information about the different types of patio furniture materials and styles as well as great style tips from our team of designers, you’ll find everything you’ll need to help you create your own backyard escape. As an added bonus, we’ve also included a useful checklist that you can complete and take with you when you go shopping for patio furniture.
The Patio Furniture And Outdoor Living Blog at Today’s Patio