Say goodbye to winter by preparing your outdoor space
It’s about time to clean our outdoor furniture! We occasionally have a day that’s nice enough to sit outside, so you don’t want to miss the opportunity because your furniture is too grimy to sit on. Ready?
♦ Before getting the furniture wet, thoroughly brush off dust, dirt, leaves, and cobwebs. Brush removable cushions, too, and set aside.
♦ Wicker: For natural, unpainted wicker, clean with an oil-based soap meant for wood like Murphy’s Oil Soap mixed with warm water. You can also mix up your own soap: 1/4 cup ammonia, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 quart warm water. Use a scrub brush like Speed Cleaning’s Tile Brush and rinse the brush often, then hose the furniture down. When it’s completely dry, you can rub the wicker down with a little olive oil on a cloth to prevent drying out and splintering.
For painted and synthetic wicker, wash down with warm water mixed with a few drops of dish soap. Use a sponge or cloth on painted wicker so you don’t damage the paint. You can use a brush on synthetic wicker, which will help get into the grooves.
♦ Wood: You can use the solutions mentioned above, but be careful when scrubbing with a brush as softer woods like cedar may actually mar. Brush in the direction of the wood grain, or just use a sponge or cloth. Teak is a very dense, hard wood, so a light scrubbing should be fine.
♦ Metal: A solution of warm water and dish soap should do the trick, followed by a good rinse with the hose. Use a sturdy, smooth cloth (not terry) to avoid shredding and leaving lint. Keep an eye out for rust spots, which are important to sand down and cover with paint sooner rather than later.
♦ Plastic: If warm water and dish soap don’t cut through the grime, step it up with ¼ cup of dishwasher detergent (it has a little more cleaning power than dish soap) mixed in a gallon of warm water. Wash down the furniture with a soft cloth or sponge and then rinse. Another great product to use on plastic as well as fiberglass is Speed Cleaning’s Fiberglass Cleaner. You can’t use abrasives on plastics and fiberglass without dulling the shine, but this cleaner cuts through grime (and soap scum in the bathroom!) without harming the finish.
Before you know it, you’ll be planting flowers, and in some parts of the country, you already are! This is a great time to give outdoor furniture a good cleaning. Hello, spring!