by Craig Blake
Sitting outside on your patio furniture on a warm summer day can be very relaxing; patio furniture can also turn your back yard into the perfect gathering place for a summer barbeque. However, patio furniture is not something you want to replace every spring. With proper care and cleaning, you can enjoy your outdoor patio furniture for many years. When outdoor furniture is purchased new, care instructions are usually included. Over the years, these instructions have a tendency to get lost. Instead of throwing up your arms in surrender, use the following tips to maintain your outdoor furniture.
Clean it: You can clean most garden furniture with soap and water. A pressure washer with 1200 to 1350 psi is useful for cleaning many types of patio furniture, but you must use a low setting. Wicker patio 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. Wood patio 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 and then allow the patio furniture to dry completely. Fabric outdoor furniture, such as hammocks and cloth chairs, should be machine-washed using the gentle cycle. Add bleach for white items and hang them outside to dry.
Protect it from water: Apply a paste wax to the frame of your patio outdoor furniture to keep it shiny and water-resistant. Some types of wicker are weather-resistant, making care easier. For wood, make sure you are using a product that won't ruin the varnish. Many wood-friendly protective pastes and waxes are available to keep patio sets safe.
Keep easily ruined items inside: Store patio furniture cushions indoors and keep frames covered during the off-season. Just one rain storm can make outdoor cushions unusable. If they are caught in the rain, hang patio furniture cushions out in the sun to dry off. Outdoor wood furniture, with the exception of teak and cedar, should be stored indoors during the winter.
Care for the covers: Try to store fabric furniture indoors during the winter. Umbrellas, especially, require maintenance after being in storage. Patio furniture 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. Once the summer season is back, wash outdoor furniture covers and place them back on the frames. To avoid shrinkage, stretch covers over the frame before the fabric is completely dry.