The warmer months are here! Although this winter seemed like it would never end and the warm weather lagged behind the official start of spring, the mercury is slowly creeping up everyday. This means it’s time to spend more time on our patios, basking in the sun and warm breeze that hits your face. Before you relax, though, you’ve got to make sure your patio furniture is set to be sat upon.
Plastic Patio Furniture
This is probably the easiest type of patio furniture to clean, as plastic doesn’t rust and its durability helps it last for years. Take a minute or two to swipe off any clumps of dirt, grass or other debris so the actual cleaning is easier, and then prep your solution: a cup of vinegar, a gallon of water, and a couple of tablespoons of dish detergent (use less if you’re using liquid detergent).
You can also occasionally use a splash of bleach for stains, but regular use will eat away at the plastic and cause it to degrade. A handy alternative is to go with baking soda, which provides a grittiness that’s great at scrubbing. And if you’re still not pleased with that, just paint it another color!
Wicker Patio Furniture
This is also an inexpensive, yet durable, material used for patio furniture, and cleaning it is almost as easy as plastic. Attach a soft brush on the end of your vacuum and clear away any loose bits, and then use a mild oil-based soap (e.g. Murphy Oil Soap). Make sure you use a soft brush to avoid damaging the wicker, and wet it with water first. You don’t have to fully clean it that often, but it is a good idea to hose it down every couple of weeks to maintain it.
Closely related to wicker in terms of cleaning methods is teak, and all you have to do is use the same oil-based soap and soft, damp brush.
This metal is pretty laidback in terms of maintenance and durability, but that doesn’t mean you get off scot-free. The most important thing is to keep an eye on chipped or peeling paint and touch those up right away, as this helps to seal it and prevent corrosion.
If the aluminum is painted, just use soap and water to clean it, making sure to dry it completely as opposed to letting it air-dry. If it’s not painted, use a metal polishing paste and avoid baking soda at all costs; the scrubbiness of it will slowly destroy the unpainted aluminum.
Many homeowners love wrought iron because of its elegance and ornateness, but it comes with one major drawback: it gravitates to rust like there’s no tomorrow. One common way this is combated is with manufacturer’s applying rust-resistant paint to it, which you can buy to touch up yourself.
Another way of keeping your wrought iron patio furniture looking good is to sand down any rusty bits as soon as they crop up. This isn’t particularly fun and it’s a task that requires patience and dedication, but it’s a heck of a lot easier than tossing away rusty furniture and buying a new set. To clean it, just use water and a mild dish soap.