Tips from Brent to Care for your Furniture

Posted On: 04-01-2016
By: Brent Glaze, Outdoor Living Consultant

I get calls each day about how to clean and care for outdoor furniture. I thought I would put down a few basic things that would help in extending the life of your cushions, slings and strap furniture.
So much of what is popular these days consist of fabric cushions. Customers come in and see all the sofas and chairs with the big thick cushions and say they would be afraid to put these outside, but these are not fabrics that are inside on your living room furniture. They are made to be outside to take the abuse from the harsh elements. What is needed is to routinely care for your furniture to maximize the longevity and durability of the furniture.
Fabric Cushions
Hose these off monthly with water. This allows pollen and pollutions from  nature to wash off or drain through the cushion goods. With slight stains, use mild soap and water. 2 capfuls of mild soap to a gallon of water is recommended by most manufacturers. Never use bleach unless specifically listed as a cleaning agent for your fabric. For really stubborn stains, Spic and Span or a fine fabric cleaner is needed along with a sponge or clean cloth. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry. Hint: Cushions dry faster if they are allowed to stand on their sides while drying.
Mesh Slings
Most stains can be cleaned with a solution of cold water and mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and remove all soap and allow to air dry. Solution dyed acrylic and PVC coated yarns do not promote mildew growth. However, mildew ay grow on dirt or foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric. For really stubborn stains or mildew, prepare a   mild solution of one cup of bleach and 2 capfuls of mild soap per gallon of water. Allow to soak in, scrub vigorously with a clean cloth and rinse with water and allow to dry.
Strap Furniture
Just like a frame, Vinyl strapping should be cleaned frequently with a mild soap and water. In area with high concentrations of acid in the rain, fog or smog, vinyl should be cleaned with water and ammonia mixture. Make sure you lift up and clean beneath straps or lace intersection. The use of a commercial casual furniture cleaner will help lift embedded dirt and oil. Caution,  Some suntan lotion and oils that contain “papa” may cause permanent discoloration. Remove substance from vinyl by cleaning mild soap and water solution followed by fresh water rinse.
Synthetic Wicker
Synthetic wicker can be used in direct sunlight. Wipe down the frame with a mixture of water and liquid detergent when it needs cleaning, generally 2 or 3 times a season.
Teak Furniture
Untreated teak will develop a silvery-gray patina which helps protect the wood. If this is the look that you would prefer, simply clean your teak once or twice a year with a brush and a solution of liquid soap and a small amount of household bleach dissolved in warm water. This will eliminate most of the dirt, air pollutions and algae. Most teak manufacturers also produce their on cleaners that can be should in place of mixture above. If you prefer to maintain the original teak color, Clean our teak and apply a coat of teak sealer. Just remember, the next time you clean your furniture, you will have to strip the sealer off before cleaning.
Lubrication of swivels, wheels and hinges.
From time to time lubrication of all moving parts is recommended to extend the life and minimize squeaks or noises. Use WD-40 or a similar lubricating product. Follow manufacturers instruction for use.
Natural granite, Travertine, Slate and Stone
Tabletops should be resealed every 6 to 12 months, it takes only a few minutes to distribute an even coat of the sealer and then wipe the top dry. This will help with stains and protect the top in winter from letting moisture set in and freeze. For weekly cleaning, avoid ammonia based cleaners which can break down the sealant.
Covers are made for all styles of furniture these days. They will help protect from the elements as well as outdoor critters, insects and spiders.
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