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Patio Furniture

 

 
 

How to Clean Dirty Patio Furniture

Have you ever been invited to a barbecue and were dismayed when you arrived and found there was no where to sit because all of the patio furniture was really dirty?

Well you're not alone.

As a matter of fact, your furniture might be needing a little love right now. Instead of putting it off until tomorrow or the next day, let's get up and do something about it.

Try out a few of the cleaning tips I have listed below and you'll find that in no time your patio furniture will look just as good as it did the day you bought it!

Pre-Rinse the Furniture

Whether your furniture is aluminum, plastic or wood, remove any sort of covering or cushions and spray it down with your garden hose.

If you have a sprayer attached to your garden hose, turn the nozzle so the stream of water is fairly wide but still has enough force to remove any spider webs and dust.

Assemble a soft bristle scrub brush, a 1 gallon bucket and mix the following:

  • 3 good squirts (1/3 cup) of mild dishwashing liquid, such as dawn dishwashing detergent
  • Warm water

Quickly go over your patio furniture with a soft-bristled brush to remove some of the worst of the caked on mud, bird poop and mold or mildew that has started growing. Don't worry about getting it all, this will be taken care of in our instructions below.

After you are done, grab your garden hose and spray your furniture again to get rid of any leftover residue.

Cleaning Process

Don't use too much soap as the residue left behind will require more rinsing.

  1. Remove cushions and seat covering from furniture.
  2. Pre-wash patio furniture with garden hose, as described above.
  3. Clean the patio umbrella, as described below.
  4. Fill a bucket with warm, soapy water. You can use a mild dish washing liquid soap or slivers of gentle bath soap.
  5. If your furniture has mold or mildew growing on it, add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the warm water.
  6. Dip a large cellulose sponge into the bucket and start wiping down your furniture, paying special attention to the underside of chairs and under the table. If you are cleaning wood furniture, use a soft bristled brush instead of a sponge.
  7. Rinse the patio furniture off and allow to air dry.

Cleaning the Cushions

If the cushions for your patio furniture have cloth covers, wash them according to the directions on the label. If they're vinyl, follow these steps and don't forget to wash both top/bottom of the cushion and sides:

  1. Mix a cleaning solution of equal parts water and vinegar.
  2. Pour the solution in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the patio cushions.
  4. Scrub with a soft-bristled brush.
  5. Rinse with the garden hose.
  6. Set in the sun to dry.

Cleaning the Umbrella

If you have a table with umbrella, I recommend cleaning the umbrella first before you clean the rest of your the set simply because it's easier to work your way from top to bottom.

You will probably need a ladder or a step stool to do this. If you prefer not to use a ladder or step stool or forgot to clean your patio umbrella first, it's perfectly fine to take the umbrella off and place it on the ground, but remember to keep it open.

If your umbrella has sticky tree sap on it, apply a small amount of mineral spirits or denatured alcohol before getting it wet. It's best to dip the edge of a rag into the mineral spirits or alcohol and then wipe the sappy spots. Then use a clean cloth or sponge to rub the spot out.

  1. Spray both the top and the underside of the umbrella with the garden hose.
  2. Fill a bucket with warm, soapy water or make a mixture of water and baking soda, then scrub the umbrella with a soft bristled brush.
  3. Rinse off any remaining residue and open the umbrella completely to allow it to air dry.

Enjoy Your Clean Patio Furniture!

Great job! Your task is done. I'm sure you're feeling rather proud of your self.  When your patio furniture is clean, you can't help but want to spend more time outside and invite more guests over! In fact you now have a great excuse to host a barbecue and show off your deck and patio furniture to your guests.

Let the party begin!

Image courtesy of Fwonkas, CC BY-SA.


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Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.

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Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is a necessity, not a luxury when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)

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