Spring Cleaning: Getting Your Patio Furniture Ready for Summer

As spring temps begin to climb, it provides a perfect opportunity to get outside and get patio furniture cleaned off and restored, ready for summer entertaining. Cleaning outdoor patio furniture can sometimes present something of a challenge, since dirt has often had several months to accumulate. This is particularly true in cold, wet climates, since snow and rain often create a thick mud that can coat outdoor furniture, making it hard to clean in the spring. Here is a breakdown of how to clean or restore different types of patio furniture to help you tackle the task. 

1. Wood

Wood furniture may be the hardest to clean because dirt sinks deep down into the grain. Probably the easiest way to clean wood patio furniture is with a high-pressure sprayer on a garden hose, but this will only remove so much of the dirt. Once you have cleaned it with a hose, let it dry and then use an oil based soap made specially for wood. You can also use a wood furniture polish with orange oil, as the oil will help protect outdoor furniture. This might also be a good time to sand down older furniture and cover it with a new coat of paint or possibly just give it a fresh coating of an acrylic or epoxy finish. This will not only help protect the paint, but it will seal the cracks and crevices that dirt gets down into.

2. Metal

Like wood, one of the best ways to wash off metal furniture is with a high-pressure power wash. Once you have cleaned off the majority of dirt and dust from metal furniture, you can take a bucket of soapy water and some old rags and give it a more thorough deep cleaning. Metal is also a material that is often painted and over time, the paint will crack, chip, fade and peel. Metal can also oxidize over time, giving it a faded appearance. Rather than repainting it, metal can be restored fairly quickly and easily by treating it with a coat of acetone followed by a silicone treatment.

3. Plastic

One of the best ways to clean patio furniture is with an oxidizing cleaner that foams and bubbles and removes dirt from cracks and crevices. For patterned plastic furniture, you can take a toothbrush or scrub brush to get deep into hard to clean areas. Be careful not to use a brush with bristles that are too firm or it will scratch the plastic. You can either use a bucket of water with some dish soap and oxidizing cleanser or you can use a spray on bathroom oxidizing cleanser. For more stubborn dirt, you can use baking soda to provide a mild abrasion that won’t damage the finish on plastic furniture. For stains, try washing it with white vinegar, but don’t use bleach as it will eat away at the plastic.

4. Glass

Any commercial glass cleaner can be used on patio furniture or even plain vinegar, but the easiest way to clean your outdoor glass is with plain water. Soak a small microfiber towel, old hand towel or cut up piece of bath towel in water and wipe the glass down. You may have to do this several times to remove all the dirt and grime. Once the surface is clean, take an old dry t-shirt or cotton rag and wipe the glass thoroughly dry. This will leave a clean, streak free surface. You can even use this trick on large patio doors and windows.

Cleaning your patio furniture doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. Generally, water is your best friend when it comes to outdoor furniture. While there are a number of cleaners that can help you with more problem areas, a good hosing down of your entire patio area, including your furniture, will give you a great start on a more thorough deep cleaning.

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