Summertime backyard parties, pool gatherings, cookouts and family fun all mean the patio furniture is finally getting used after being stored all winter! Here are some simple care tips to keep your investment looking great during throughout the season. Find out the best methods to clean your outdoor patio furniture.

Power washing the deck to clean it off for the season might be a good thing, but it might be too strong for some of the patio furniture. Know what the manufacturer suggests for each item you have.

Avoid abrasive, harsh chemicals that could pit, scratch, or stain. Getting overly aggressive with a steel brush or similar scrubbing object might damage the finish.

Different Types of Patio Furniture

Patio furniture comes in all types, styles, and sizes now. It’s helpful to know how each piece is made, and how to clean and protect it so that it will last.

Wicker furniture should have a coat of clear varnish, paint, or another sealant to protect the surface. Throughout the season, remove dirt, pollen, and other debris from within the wicker weave by using a brush attachment on a vacuum. A dry paintbrush also works to dislodge particles from the wicker. When paint needs touch-up work, first sand the area slightly with a fine-grit sandpaper, then repaint as needed.

Wood furniture is typically treated to protect it from the outdoor elements. Weather can be harsh, especially hot sunshine, so cleaning and touch-up conditioning might be necessary. Wet, rainy weather can cause mold or mildew growth. It’s a good idea to cover furniture when not in use. However, if you see evidence of stains or mildew, it’s best to deep clean the wood surfaces to stop further growth and protect the wood.

Metal furniture can be susceptible to rust when left outdoors. Manufacturers usually adhere a powder-coat finish for protection, or they are painted or varnished. Regular cleaning with a mild detergent is helpful. As with other types of furniture, light sanding and touch-up paint may be necessary to remove rust stains or mold.

Resin or plastic outdoor furniture is made with chemical additives to protect them from the sun, fungus, and other common stain-causing elements. Regular soap and water cleaning keep them looking nice.

Best Ways to Clean Your Outdoor Patio Furniture

Any of the above furniture may have upholstered cushions to make them more comfortable. Your deck stain might be perfect, and the chairs arranged beautifully to take advantage of the sunset while grilling. But if the cushions look stained, nobody will want to sit on them.

Your chairs might include popular brands such as Phifertex, which is used on a lot of the sling chairs, and Sunbrella®, which is durable and manufactured to last for years.

Sunbrella® fabrics are made to withstand heat, sunlight, and rain. The fabric is breathable, allowing air to pass through, which helps keep things cool on the patio. They also build in UV stable pigments in the dyeing process, which protects you from damaging UV sun rays. Sunbrella® fabrics are also mold and mildew resistant and can easily be cleaned with a bleach solution without compromising the color.

Keep Sunbrella fabrics looking good by hosing them off on a monthly basis with clear water. This helps prevent dirt from becoming deeply embedded in the fabric and eliminates the need for more frequent cleaning.

The Sunbrella website offers the following:

  • Always use a mild soap such as Woolite or Dawn dishwashing liquid.
  • Water should be cold to lukewarm.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.
  • Air dry only. Never apply heat to Sunbrella fabrics.
  • Do not use a power washer/sprayer.
  • Do not use vigorous abrasive scouring action to clean areas with graphics.
  • Do not use harsh cleaners/solvents, such as acetone, to clean areas with graphics.
  • Do not machine wash

In cases where heavy cleaning is needed, the manufacturer suggests helpful information.

Sunbrella fabrics do not promote mildew growth, however, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric. To clean mildew, or other stubborn stains:

  • Prepare a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach and one fourth cup mild soap per gallon of clean water.
  • Clean with soft bristle brush.
  • Avoid brushing the ‘edge’ of the vinyl graphics. Brush from the vinyl graphics out; away from the edge of the vinyl.
  • Allow mixture to soak into fabric for up to 15 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed.
  • Air dry.
  • Repeat if necessary.
  • Re-treatment of fabric for water and stain resistance will be necessary.
  • Remember to protect the area around your Sunbrella if using a bleach solution. Carpet or other fabrics that are not Sunbrella may have an adverse reaction to the bleach.

A pdf version of these instructions is available for downloading on their website, CLICK HERE to get it.

Store Patio Furniture to Prevent Future Problems

Temperature fluctuations, water and ice can affect the durability of the frames. It’s best to cover each item during off-season or store them inside a shed or barn.

Initially, store pieces upright to be sure all water has drained out of grooves and cracks. If you need to stack to condense storage space, be sure there is no moisture remaining. Check for and remove all spider webs or other signs of critters making nests.

When you’re getting ready for each grilling season, you probably inspect the grill outdoor equipment. Take some time to be sure your furniture is safe to use also. Tighten any screws, replace any worn, wobbly pieces, and make sure they are clean and inviting.

If you’d like a new look and want to reupholster some of your outdoor patio furniture cushions, contact D & N Upholstery to order Sunbrella® fabrics or other marine vinyl that would look great on your deck!