At the time of the year when the weather warms up, most homeowners are eager to bring out their patio furniture again. Before inviting any guests to come over, it’s helpful to give the furniture a good cleaning to look brand-new. Depending on the type of material your pieces are, there are different ways to complete the process. Here’s what you need to know about cleaning your patio furniture.

  1. Cleaning wood furniture

If you have wood furniture pieces, you need to gently scrub it with a white vinegar and ammonia solution. Make the solution with two tablespoons of white vinegar, one-fourth of ammonia, and a quart of water. Scrub the wood with a soft scrub brush. Once you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse your furniture with a garden hose. Allow the wood pieces to dry in the sun. If you’re not interested in creating your own solution, you can buy wood cleaners at your local hardware store.

Next, you’ll need to sand your wood furniture if it’s made of hardwood. Wood made of oak or teak can benefit from annual sanding. Use sandpaper that has a medium grit if you want to remove old finishes or scratches. If you’re just doing a light routine sanding, use fine grit. You can also use emery cloth or steel wool. After the furniture is sanded, use a wet cloth to wipe it down. Apply a protective finish such as oil stain or polyurethane coating. An alternative you can use is an exterior primer topped with an oil-based paint or exterior latex to protect the furniture from UV rays.

Spray any wicker patio furniture you have with a garden hose. If it still appears, use dish soap or oil-based soap and rub with a sponge and cold water. Once it’s dried naturally, you can apply a paste wax to help keep the wicker water-resistant and shiny. With teak, it’s important to remember to use teak-specific products. Order a teak cleaner and follow the instructions on the container. Then, apply either a teak oil, teak sealer, or teak protector to maintain the natural brown color.

If you’re interested in making a teak solution of your own, you can mix one quart of bleach, a quarter of laundry detergent, and one gallon of water. Apply the mixture on the furniture and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes. After the time has passed, scrub your furniture with a soft brush and rinse off with a hose.

  1. Cleaning plastic furniture

When cleaning plastic furniture, mix dish soap and warm water. It’s important that the water is warm as cooler water doesn’t clean the grime and dirt. Be sure the water isn’t too hot, either, as that can damage the furniture. Take a scouring pad and scrub the plastic pieces with the mixture. If after basic cleaning, the grime and mildew are still present, mix a quarter of a cup of oxygen bleach with water and dish soap, and scrub the mixture on the furniture.

For mildew on colored plastic pieces, use a vinegar solution. Mix a quarter cup of white vinegar and one quart of water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on the furniture. Leave it on for ten or twenty minutes, and then rinse the colored plastic piece with a hose. Let it dry in the sun. Be mindful that vinegar can potentially discolor older plastic furniture. You can also use baking soda to get rid of more stubborn stains. Sprinkle it on a wet sponge and rub it on the plastic furniture.

  1. Cleaning metal furniture

The first mixture you can try using to clean metal furniture is water and mild soap. Remove any cushions, put some dish soap in a bucket of water, and use a brush to scrub the surface of the furniture. Older metal pieces can sometimes be more prone to rust. You can apply a naval jelly or a coat of wax paste to help prevent any rusting. Next, rub steel wool or sandpaper on rusty parts. It’s important to remove any rust as soon as you notice it’s starting to build up. If there’s any oxidation on your metal pieces, it can be treated by applying a vinegar solution or a metal polishing paste. Oxidation is a chemical reaction between another element and oxygen, which leads to corrosion and rust.

Lastly, any scuff marks on metal furniture can be fixed with non-abrasive cleaner products. Be sure not to use brushes or abrasive cleaners as they can scratch up the metal. When applying a non-abrasive product, use a soft, damp cloth instead. For extra protection, you can have the iron furniture powder-coated or sandblasted for added protection and improved appearance.

  1. Cleaning fabric

Patio pillows can be washed in a washing machine set on a gentle cycle, and then tumble dried on low. One trick you can try is throwing some tennis balls in the dryer with the pillows. The tennis balls will help speed up the drying process and remove any excess moisture. For any patio pillows that aren’t machine-washable, you can just remove the covers off the pillow and wash them in your washing machine twice every season. You don’t want to wash your fabric every time a stain gets on it, as this can make the colors on it lose their vibrancy.

For smaller things to clean, soak a sponge with water and mild soap, and clean the spot. Mildew can be removed from your patio umbrella by using a vinegar solution and a scrub brush. Brush off as much of the mildew as you can, and then spray your umbrella with an equal mixture of water and vinegar on the problem areas. Wait about half an hour for the mixture to soak into your umbrella, then gently scrub the umbrella to get any leftover mildew removed. Afterward, spray it down with a hose, and let it dry in the sun.

Regularly cleaning your patio furniture can have your outdoor space looking really nice. Following these tips will help you have your patio furniture looking as clean as possible. If you’re considering adding gardening furniture to your outdoor space, you might be interested in learning about garden benches.