Outdoor spaces are becoming more of a summertime favorite than ever before. Set the vibe with string lights, heaters or fire tables. Invite friends and family and soak up the benefits of being outdoors. Bringing the patio life to your home can be mentally rewarding and so enjoyable. You can get all the patio swag on the market, but if your furniture or cushions are stained and dirty, it takes the comfort and aesthetic level down a notch. Think of this space as an extension of your kitchen or dining room. You wipe your kitchen table daily and spot treat stains on chairs regularly so do the same out here.
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There are many different varieties and qualities of patio furniture. Do your research before making these big purchases. Depending on your climate, you may need one over another. Here are a few great things to look for:
- Hand-woven all-weather wicker/rattan or rust-proof metal are key features to stand the test of time in the elements.
- Good quality cushion fabric is important for durability and longevity. Sunbrella® fabric gets top marks for care and maintenance. It can be bleached for disinfecting mold and mildew and has the best UV protection and water repellent ratings.
- Deck/Storage boxes (Canada) (USA) are an excellent investment for storing cushions when not in use.
- All-weather furniture coverings (Canada) (USA) are a great alternative and offer protection. Make sure to measure correctly!
Climate aside, all the same culprits will find their way onto your outdoor furniture. Garden soil/mud, animal droppings, tree sap/buds or pollen. Live in an area under construction? Good luck with that dust! Moss, mold or mildew are also inevitable if the furniture is facing the elements and will cause all sorts of damage if you let it.
Brush off dirt before it gets crushed into the fabric. If you want to go the extra mile to preserve your investment, start taking your cushions into the house every night, store them in a deck box or use a cover. Umbrella covers (Canada) (USA) are ideal as well. Metal sets will last longer if you dry them well after rain. Even if they are rust-proof, it just takes a few minutes to ensure they last. Pay extra attention to hard to reach areas like the joints and screws.
Our go-to cleaning product for patio furniture is hands down blue Dawn® Dish Soap (Canada) (USA). No matter what type of furniture or material you are dealing with, the gentle effective suds will be your best bet. If you are doing an entire sectional or multiple chairs mixing a 1 tbsp of blue Dawn® dish soap and a gallon of hot water is best. Use a sponge to apply the suds, allowing them to penetrate the fabric. In some cases you will need to clean seam-to-seam as spot-cleaning can leave water marks. After the cushion cleanse, use the leftover Dawn® water to tackle cobwebs around your patio and decks. They are sticky and suds are great for this.
Try to blot liquid spills right when they happen with a clean dry cloth (Canada) (USA). Mix up a spray bottle of blue Dawn® dish soap and water to have handy to spray down spills before they become set-in stains. Most outdoor spills or messes tend to have some factor of oil or grease to them. Yes, this even includes sunscreen stains.
Set in Stains:
A soft sponge or soft bristle brush (Canada) (USA) can be used to work out the dried messes that have sat for a while. For deep set stains such as grass or food, make a paste of powdered Tide® (Canada) (USA) and hot water. Gently work the paste into the stain until gone, then rinse with water. Check out this article for tips on how to remove protein stains, and this article for help with food stains.
Most removable cushion covers can go in the washing machine, make sure to check your labels first. A scoop of powdered Tide®, delicate cycle, zippers closed and hung to dry. This should be a pre-season and end of season job.
Pro Tip: Number the cushions and corresponding cushion covers so you know which goes on what.
When it’s time to bring out the big guns, pressure washers (Canada) (USA) work wonders on all types of outdoor furniture and their fabrics. Rinsing soap suds and surface dirt is a breeze. They are well worth their price tag, if in the budget. Always spray cushions on a cement surface to avoid grass or mud stains. Tables with shatterproof glass will need to be polished with Windex® (Canada) (USA) after they have dried. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of pressure washing all your hard furniture and patio surfaces during Spring and Fall Cleaning making them ready for season or storage. While you have it out do your house siding and outdoor railing and fences. Don’t stop there, do your windows! You can tackle your windows with the help of this article.
We LOVE our Ruggable Rugs around here including their outdoor versions. They add texture and depth with an element of luxury, all while being easy to maintain. They can be swept, hosed down, or thrown in the washing machine. They are stain, water and fade resistant and are the perfect statement to any outdoor space and stand the test of time.
Outdoor living can be hard work but it is completely worth it. We at the #cleaningarmy are all about maintaining your investments and creating less work in the long run.
Enjoy your Patio!
- Katie W @GoCleanCo