Outdoor furniture is a large investment and not something you want to replace every spring. With proper care and cleaning, you can enjoy your outdoor furniture for many years. When furniture is purchased new, care instructions are usually included. Over the years, these instructions have a tendency to get lost. Use the following quick reference to maintain your outdoor furniture. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.
Outdoor Furniture Materials
Outdoor furniture and outdoor accessories are available in a variety of materials—wicker, wood, fabric, aluminum, wrought iron, steel and resin. Each material requires different maintenance methods. Monthly cleaning and maintenance can help the furniture maintain a good appearance and make your investment last longer.
Cleaning and Maintenance
You can clean most outdoor furniture with soap and water. A pressure washer with 1200—1350 psi is useful for cleaning many types of outdoor furniture, but you must use a low setting. In addition to cleaning, there are maintenance steps you can take to help your furniture last longer:
- Wicker outdoor furniture can be cleaned using a hose or pressure washer. Simply remove the cushions and spray off dirt and spills. If the wicker is especially dirty, use a sponge, mild soap and cold water to wash. Allow the furniture to dry completely. Then apply a paste wax to the frame to keep it shiny and water-resistant. Some types of wicker are weather-resistant, making care easier. Store cushions indoors and keep frames covered during the off-season.
- Wooden outdoor furniture that has been coated with an exterior-grade varnish can be cleaned using soapy water. Be sure to completely rinse the furniture with clean water. Wooden furniture, with the exception of teak and cedar, should be stored indoors during the winter.
- Fabric outdoor furniture such as hammocks and cloth chairs should be machine-washed using the gentle cycle. Add bleach for white items. Hang outside to dry. To avoid shrinkage, stretch back over the frame before the fabric is completely dry. Frames should be cared for based on the material. Store fabric furniture indoors during the winter.
- Umbrellas require maintenance after being in storage. Covers need washing and umbrella frame joints need oiling. Wash covers using a soft-bristled brush, mild soap and cold water. Use a spray lubricant on the joints of a wire-frame umbrella. If you have a wooden-frame umbrella, use paste wax to restore its shine.
- Acrylic cushions should be removed from the frame before cleaning. Spot clean using a sponge, mild soap and water. Rinse with clean water. To prevent mildew, allow to dry completely before using or storing. Some types of cushions are mildew-resistant, but if you have a problem with mildew, use a solution of one cup bleach, two cups detergent and one gallon of water to clean. Mix thoroughly and spray on the entire cushion. Allow it to soak for 30 minutes. Scrub with a sponge or clean rag. Rinse with clean water and allow to dry completely. When storing, never wrap cushions in plastic. Plastic does not allow the cushion to breathe and can cause it to mildew if there is any moisture present.
- Resin furniture requires the least amount of care. Simply spray off with clean water and allow to air dry. If scuff marks are present, use a gentle abrasive to remove. Mildew can be removed using a mixture of one cup bleach, two cups detergent and one gallon of water.
- Aluminum, wrought iron and steel frames require cleaning with water and mild soap. Many modern metal frames are rust-resistant or rust-free. If your metal furniture is not, paste wax or naval jelly can be used to protect from corroding or rusting.