How to Care for Your Outdoor Furniture
Dust, leaves, and other loose debris are likely to gather on any furniture that has been left uncovered during extended periods without use. Start your cleanup by using a brush or dry cloth to wipe away any loose materials. Wood, metal, plastic, or fabric may be sprayed down using a garden hose with a spray attachment to dislodge lingering surface debris.
Plastic and resin furniture is inexpensive and comes in a wide variety of styles, making it the most popular choice for deck and lawn furniture. It also happens to be the easiest to maintain. Skip the abrasives (which can scuff the surface) and simply spray with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe down with a sponge or damp cloth to keep plastic furniture looking good.
Wrought iron and stainless steel are popular choices for outdoor furniture for their durability and ease of maintenance. In most cases, metal patio furniture will easily return to “like new” condition by using a sponge or brush to clean surfaces with a quarter cup of mild dish soap added to a gallon of warm water.
The greatest enemy of metal furniture is rust. Although metal patio furniture is often painted or coated with a rust-resistant finish, these will wear away over time. If rust is detected, use steel wool to remove oxidation and consider re-painting the furniture to prevent future problems.
Using a power washer may be tempting, but it is likely to scar or otherwise damage softwood and is strongly discouraged. Instead, use a mild oil soap or soapy water and a soft brush or sponge to remove any grit or grime. Wicker may require a toothbrush to get into the weave and can be time-consuming. To ease this chore, clean regularly to reduce build-up.
Hardwoods like teak will clean up nicely when you use a weak solution of laundry detergent or one of the many commercial products available specifically for the job. Work in small sections and dry thoroughly when finished. Resist the urge to use teak oil on your hardwood furniture, which can encourage mildew.