Cleaning Outdoor Furniture
Spring has spring, the grass has riz...I wonder where the outdoor furniture cleaner is? Now that the snow has melted (for the most part) it's likely that your outdoor furniture is looking like it too had a rough winter. To brighten plastic, wood, metal or glass furniture follow these cleaning tips from Better Homes & Gardens:
WOOD & WICKER:
To remove winter grime use a mild oil-base soap like Murphy's Oil Soap mixed with warm water. Or if you prefer a DIY solution, mix 1/4 cup ammonia, 2 tbsp white vinegar and one litre of warm water. If using a commercial wood cleaner remember that wicker and painted woods may require diluting the solution.
For hard woods consider annually sanding and applying a fresh coat of protective finish like oil, stain or a polyurethane coating.
Regularly wiping down wood to remove dirt, debris and excess water is the best way to protect it.
Hose down wicker every few weeks to prevent buildup in crevices.
METAL, IRON & ALUMINUM:
If there is any oxidation on your aluminum furniture, remove as much of it as possible using a metal polishing paste or a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water. Avoid chemicals like ammonia or TSP as these are alkaline and cause oxidation.
Wash aluminum frequently to preserve its natural lustre.
Remove scuff marks from aluminum with a soft cloth dampened with a non-abrasive product.
On metal or iron furniture combat rust by sanding it off along with any damaged paint. Wipe off metal residues with mineral spirits. Use a rust-resistant primer before painting with a rust-resistant paint.
Have your iron furniture sandblasted or powder coated for extra protection.
To protect after cleaning, apply a coat (two for iron) of automotive wax.
Remove any stuck on debris with a glass-safe, non-abrasive material. Remember many scrub brushes will scratch glass!
Dish detergents are an effective cleaner. After an initial cleaning spray white vinegar or glass cleaner then wipe away with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.
Clean the underside of a glass table at least once a month.
Fix small scratches and chips in glass with a glass-repair kit.
Cover a glass table when it's not in use.
Clean frames of glass tables according to their material type.
A mild cleanser is best for plastic. Make your own by mixing 3 tbsp dishwasher detergent (it contains a mild bleaching agent) with 4 litres of warm water. For coloured plastic mix 1/4 cup vinegar mixed with 1 litre of warm water. For white plastic avoid chlorine and bleach as they can eat away at the material.
For stubborn stains dampen a clean rag with white distilled vinegar and wipe down the piece.
Don't use abrasive cleaners as they will scratch the plastic. Sprinkle baking soda on a wet sponge to create a mild abrasive that will peel away stains.
Use WD-40 to restore shine; spray onto plastic and wipe clean with a dry cloth.
After washing your plastic furniture protect it with a coat of automotive paste wax.
For best results, you should clean your outdoor furniture four times a year: once at the beginning of spring, once at the end of summer, and a couple times in between. Once a month is good!