Summertime’s in full swing. Here’s what you need to know to properly clean the most popular outdoor furnishing materials:
Cleaning wicker furniture can be tricky because dirt can accumulate in the delicate crevices of the weave. Wipe spills immediately, and vacuum or use a small brush on the furniture regularly to remove dust. If the wicker is soiled, use a soft bristle brush and mild soap to wipe it off. Then, rinse furniture with a low-pressure hose, and let it dry completely before sitting (moisture and pressure from use can cause the furniture to sag). During winter, store the items indoors, or use patio covers. Some furniture is water-resistant. If yours is not, coat the pieces with a sealant if you plan to leave them outdoors for a prolonged period.
Outdoor wooden furniture, such as teak is, relatively expensive and needs extra care to keep it in good condition. Spray with a wood cleaner, and scrub the surface with a soft brush once every two weeks. Moisture is to wood what rust is to iron, so make sure you always keep your wooden furniture dry. Dampness will cause the wood to mildew.
To combat weathering, apply wood oil and let it sit for several hours before gently wiping with a clean rag. Oil conditions the wood, restores the original color and provides added protection. During winter, deep clean the furniture before storing indoors, or invest in outdoor furniture covers.
Aluminum furniture is durable and versatile — and it doesn’t need much care because it doesn’t rust like iron. However, it is necessary to maintain aluminum to extend its life. Wash with a low-pressure hose to remove any accumulated dirt or debris. And avoid high pressure, as it could damage the finish. Spray a mixture of mild soap and lukewarm water onto the furniture, and wipe it off with a clean cloth. Gentle and repeated wiping helps remove the scuffs caused by other metal objects. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or other chemicals.
Clean wrought-iron furniture regularly using a rag dipped in a mixture of mild soap and water. Hose it off if there are intense stains — but be sure to dry it completely to avoid rusting. If the paint is wearing away, repaint it using a spray-on painter or a brush.