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Expert Tips to Make Your Outdoor Furniture Long-lasting

Outdoor furniture requires extra care. Follow these expert tips to maintain your outdoor furniture all season long.

outdoor furniture by a swimming pool

Do you like those sun-soaking sessions while sipping fresh orange juice in your garden? You can’t deny that your outdoor furniture plays a role here. Whether you are outside sun-soaking, reading a book, or spending quality time with your family, they are highly functional and your best friend. A beautiful set of furniture instantly amps up your garden because it is not only functional but also aesthetic.

However, unlike indoor furniture, outdoor furniture is prone to environmental damage which we seldom take care of. The dust, scorching sun, rain, and bugs impact outdoor furniture in different ways.

So, I have some expert tips and general guidelines to maintain and protect your outdoor furniture to make them look brand new throughout the years and seasons.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Outdoor Furniture:

Tips for maintaining Wooden Furniture:

Wooden furniture is the most common outdoor material in the lawn or garden. They are quite resistant but that does not mean they should not be maintained and cared for. Stains, mildew, and bird droppings need to be taken care of.

For stains and mildew cleaning, you can mix oxygen powder with warm water and rinse the area off. Whereas if the stain is tougher to rinse, then mix wood brightener with hot water. This solution will clean stubborn stains but should be used with care and according to the given instructions.

As a crucial step of maintenance, wooden furniture needs to be sealed with a sealer. This is not a regular step, but you need to do it at least once a year. The sealer restores the color and makes the material waterproof, dustproof, and dirtproof. Polyurethane acts as a great sealer and you should buy polyurethane for outdoor usage for better results. Consult a furniture manufacturer for how often the sealer must be reapplied.

Warning: DO NOT use chemicals like chlorine bleach. These will ruin the wooden fibers.

Tips for maintaining Metal Furniture:

Among all the materials, metal is the hardest to maintain. Metals are prone to rust, corrosion, chipping, and wrought. Although metal furniture is durable, they are incapable of tackling weather conditions without extra protection. Too much sun can deform the shape, rainwater and moisture corrode it, and the coating comes off over time.

You can start off with a gentle, mild cleanser solution and a soft-bristle scrubber as a routine cleaning. Primarily, it will clean off all the dirt and light stains your metal furniture might have. However, don’t rub it too harshly, or else the coating will chip. On the other hand, to remove rust and stubborn stains, sand the area with sandpaper, rinse it and apply a few coats of paint. Between each coating, there should be a time gap to let one layer dry. Avoid painting on rainy or humid days.

If your environment is salty the metal will corrode, no matter how good the stainless steel is. In that case, inspect the furniture frequently as your routine job. Use a lint-free cloth to apply a coating of good-quality auto-wax. The wax will temporarily combat rust.

Tips for maintaining Wicker Furniture:

Wicker furniture is weaved from traditional split or rattan and is aesthetically pleasing. However, they are sometimes constructed and weaved from metal or coated paper. Wicker furniture has a varnish coating or two for a shiny finish and layer of protection.

Sunlight is the key damage source of wicker furniture. Therefore, the best way to maintain your wicker furniture is to cover it. Cover the wicker furniture with protective clothing if you are going out for two to three days or more. For cleaning purposes, the tiny holes between the weaved braids need to be cleaned with a vacuum. It is not possible to clean each of the cavities manually.

Try not to use too much water, abrasive cleaners, or harsh scrubbers on wicker furniture. It can weaken the rattan fibers and damage it. Dusting, vacuuming, or brushing wicker furniture regularly is enough for preventing dirt, mold, and mildew buildup. If you notice the paint is chipping, then you can recoat it with paint.

Tips for maintaining Plastic Furniture:

Even though plastic furniture is not very pretty, they are cheap and easy to carry. Plastics are extremely malleable and can be shaped into many forms. Whatever their shape or form, cleaning plastic is quite convenient. You can clean it with any type of detergent or cleaner of choice. However, scrubbing too harshly can scratch the material.

If your furniture manufacturer suggests, you can use chlorine bleach and water solution to clean extremely tough stains. In that case, the bleach should be sufficiently diluted.

Sometimes, too much sun exposure discolors or fades away the shininess of plastic furniture. So, after really sunny days wipe the furniture with a soap and water solution to remove sun residue.

Since plastic furniture is cheap, they wear out quickly. If your plastic furniture wears out and needs replacing then you can contact a reliable home remodeling center for beautiful options. They will remodel your outdoor area to look pleasing with proper furniture placement.

Tips for maintaining Cushions:

Cushions made for outdoor furniture are usually made from performance fabric. This means the fabric is made to withstand sun damage, rainwater, and mildew mold growth. They are different from regular indoor furniture cushions because they are solution-dyed.

If the cover is removable, then you can machine wash them in cold water. Otherwise, you have to do manual cleaning. Of course, to increase its longevity, you must avoid using harsh abrasive cleaners and heavy-bristled brushes.

Other than that, regularly dust the cushions to keep them tidy. For sudden spills, immediately clean the area with a mild soap solution and let it dry. Some cushion fabrics can have a water-resistant coating that disappears over time. For this, apply a coat of fabric protectors to restore the water resistance.

General Guidelines

Below are listed some common guidelines for all types of furniture.

  • Use a gentle cleaner: For washing furniture, always opt for mild cleaners. It could be your regular dishwashing liquid or fabric cleaner, for instance. The cleaner should be diluted with twice the amount of water. Then you can use a soft-bristled brush to scrub them gently. Also, do not leave furniture damp; wipe the furniture with a soft-fiber cloth after cleaning them.
  • Do not use harsh treatments: Sometimes, people use chemicals, bleach, or abrasive detergents to clean their outdoor furniture. However, those ingredients are harmful to any kind of material in the long run (excluding plastic). If you are unsure of a new product, then patch test it on a hidden area of your furniture.
  • Light dusting is always key: If you lightly dust your outdoor furniture every day, then you won’t have to bother about washing them every now and then. Light dusting with a broom keeps the surface dust-free and looking new. Make sure the broom does not have hard or rough bristles, or else it might scratch your furniture. Dusting can also be done with a dry soft-fiber cloth.
  • Cover it: If you do not have any plans of using your outdoor furniture or are going on a vacation, then cover it up. Depending on the place you live in, you can choose many types of covers. For instance, if your climate is usually rainy, then buy a waterproof covering to protect your furniture from water.
  • Follow the instructions: When you buy furniture, it is crucial for you to read the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings regarding the furniture's care. Sometimes, there are specific instructions for not using certain products. If you don’t follow the instructions, then the furniture may get damaged and the manufacturers may not provide you warranty support.

Final Thought

I hope these tips were helpful for you and have made you learn something about maintaining your outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture is fun yet a hefty investment and needs to be cared for properly. You can avoid most damage with just simple and frequent cleaning and rinsing. However, for cases of massive wear and tear, you may need to replace the furniture.