Caring For Outdoor Furniture

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It’s important to maintain your furniture, so it lasts as long as possible.

Follow our tips for caring for your wood, metal, wicker or resin outdoor furniture. To extend the life of your furniture, we recommend storing it indoors or protect it with covers during long periods of non-use.

Wood

Over time, wood tends to weather naturally, which further enhances its rugged character. However, it is important to care and treat your wood furniture regularly to prevent rot and decay. Once a year wash wood furniture with a mild water and soap solution: mix one tablespoon of bleach, five tablespoons of a gentle dishwashing liquid and a gallon of water, and softly rub the surface with a soft bristle brush. Thoroughly rinse and let it dry completely in the sun. Depending on the type of wood furniture you have (teak, pine, cedar, redwood, oak and eucalyptus are the most popular types), you’ll need to treat it with oil, stain or paint. Check your manufacturer’s instructions or ask a hardware store associate for help in selecting the most appropriate product for your furniture. Don’t forget to perform a hardware check once a year—tighten bolts and screws and replace hardware if necessary.

Metal

Metal furniture, such as wrought iron, aluminum and steel, bring classic form to any seating area and is loved for its durability and versatile nature. Another advantage? It’s fairly low-maintenance.  To keep your metal furniture clean, wash with water and mild soap. Most aluminum furniture is finished with a powder coating that resists damage. Simply remove any scuffs with a nonabrasive cleaner and a soft cloth.  If you live near salt water, you really should wash aluminum furniture monthly.  Check other types of metal furniture for rust. If you find some, remove it using fine grit sandpaper. When the rust is completely gone, touch up using an exterior, rust-resistant metal paint and allow to dry completely. Lastly, apply car wax to protect the area.

Wicker

Wicker, often made from willow, rattan or bamboo, brings natural texture and traditional looks to any setting. If your wicker is not made from “all-weather wicker,” it’s only suitable for covered outdoor areas. Both types should be cleaned regularly, though.  Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a soft, damp rag to remove dirt. It’s safe to hose off all-weather wicker furniture and use a mild soap solution. If painted furniture needs touching up, first remove the peeling paint with a soft wire brush.

Resin or Plastic

We love resin furniture for its low cost and portability, so stock up on these chairs for extra seating at your next outdoor event. Scrub plastic furniture with mild soap and water, rinse and dry. If your furniture is mildewed, mix a solution of three-quarters of a cup bleach and one tablespoon laundry detergent in one gallon of water and scrub with a brush or cloth. You can use the same solution to clean stains from nylon webbing and mesh. (Of course, don’t forget to protect your hands with rubber gloves.)

Have other ideas for how to care for outdoor furniture? Leave us a note in the comments below.

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