Celebrating the Seasons

From May 2008 E-newsletter

Get Outdoor Furniture Primed for the Season

As you prepare to celebrate another season outdoors, take steps to get your furniture in tiptop shape for a new summer of fun.

PVC and Plastic Furniture

Cleaning this furniture is as easy as it gets. Simply wipe down with a household cleaner, rinse off, and you're set. Clean heavily soiled or stained areas with baking soda. Remove mildew using a mixture of one cup of bleach, two cups of detergent, and one gallon of water. Rinse well.

Wicker and Rattan

Cleaning this furniture requires a softer touch. First, dust off the furniture using a soft, but firm, brush. Then wipe it down with a cloth dipped in soapy water (wring out excess moisture). For tough stains or dirt buildup, a soft toothbrush will get into the crevices that the cloth won't. Remove mildew with a solution of ammonia and water. Once clean, allow the furniture to dry completely — moistening wicker and rattan softens the fibers, so sitting on it while damp can ruin the shape. Once it's completely dry, apply a paste wax to the frame to keep it shiny and water-resistant.

Aluminum, Steel, or Wrought Iron

Wipe down with soapy water (using dish soap). If metal furniture is not rust-resistant, apply a paste wax to protect it and help prevent rust.


Redwood and cedar: These can be left as is. However, a sealer will keep the water out, reducing cracking and splitting, and will restore color. Before applying a sealer, sand down any rough areas. Wash and scrub with soapy water. Allow to dry completely before applying sealer.

Teak and similar woods: Oiling is not necessary. It restores color but if it's not done correctly can encourage mold and mildew.

Painted wood: Wipe down with mild soapy water, rinse, and dry.


Outdoor cushions: Spot clean with laundry detergent and water. Mix one tablespoon of laundry detergent with warm water in a spray bottle. Shake well to dissolve the detergent.

Fabrics/hammocks: Machine-wash on gentle cycle. Do not dry in dryer. Place damp fabrics back on furniture or frames to avoid shrinkage or hang outdoors to dry.

Umbrellas: Use cool water and soap and scrub with soft bristle brush. Clean and lubricate metal joints with a spray lubricant such as WD-40. Wooden frames should be wiped down and waxed with a paste wax to restore wood and for added protection.

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