Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

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If you spend a lot of time outside, you likely make good use of your outdoor furniture. On a nice night, it can be relaxing to sit outside, enjoy a drink, and chat with friends. It can be less enjoyable, though; if your outdoor furniture is dirty.

If you've done the house cleaning already, you might be tempted to just hose them off, but the dirt can actually cause damage to some furniture if not washed well, and a thorough washing means getting rid of germs, too.

Cleaning By Type 

Each type of outdoor furniture requires slightly different care. Here’s how you can make sure yours is the best it can be:

Plastic. This is by far the most-used material for outdoor furniture. The standard white plastic chairs certainly get a lot of use, but they’re also among the first to show dirt and age.

According to the Queen of Clean at DIY Network, the best way to clean plastic chairs is to combine dishwasher detergent and warm water. Scrub the chair down, and if it’s a white chair, let it sit for 10 minutes to activate the bleaching agent in the detergent.

Rinse it off really well when you’re done and let sit in the sun to dry for a clean seat.

Aluminum. Aluminum folding chairs with woven plastic on the seat are another popular outdoor chair. Though aluminum shows its age quickly with dirt and pitting, it can be easily cleaned. 

Combine dishsoap with warm water, get the water sudsy, then scrub the chair well. Rinse immediately and let dry.

Painted or Coated Aluminum. This is what’s most often seen on outdoor furniture that also have cushions and look more like indoor chairs. The cushions are usually machine washable, but how do you care for the aluminum?

Use a strong scrubber sponge with your favorite all-purpose cleaner. Scrub the chair well, then rinse it, making sure you get it completely clean. Dry it with a towel to prevent spots and pitting.

Finally, if you want to take the extra step to make the chairs look their best and to protect them from wear and tear over the summer, use just a little bit of car wax and a soft cloth and buff the furniture.


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