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How to clean Outdoor Furniture & Upholstery




How to clean Outdoor Furniture & upholstery

With the warmer weather finally arriving, I thought it would be a good time to  share with you all how I clean my outdoor furniture or at least give it a good spruce. Outdoor furniture can be made of many different materials so I thought it might be best to create a few how-to’s below.

The key is to know how you wish your patio furniture to look and know what material your outdoor furniture is made of, especially for wooden outdoor furniture, as if left untreated, your wooden outdoor furniture  will develop a weathered silver patina, perhaps it will even grow lichen (if you like a country look -it can be very attractive) and being naturally rot resistant, it will require little further maintenance.  If however, you want your wooden outdoor furniture to look fresh as the day it was made, a little more maintenance is required.  So please see my top tips below:

Type of Outdoor furniture: Wood

How to clean wooden outdoor furniture:  This includes Teak, Oak, Iroko.

In order to clean wooden outdoor furniture effectively you will need a few things: 
Dish Wash
a bucket of warm water
Alternative Bleach

a soft bristle brush
and a resealing oil.

How to deep clean your wooden outdoor furniture:
At the beginning and end of the season, it’s best to start with a deep clean - this will protect your furniture from the UV rays and keep it safe whilst in storage.  So step one is to use the dish wash and bucket of warm water - with the soft bristle brush to remove any tough stains or mould - for extra power add a cap full of alternative bleach (this is oxygen based not chlorine so it will not harm your furniture or the environment) or you can use a mix of 50:50 Water and distilled vinegar. By using a soft bristle brush you will not damage the surface of the wood (just brush in the same direction as the grain). Once it is completely dry, lightly sand the surface of the wood, to remove any discoloration, ideally you should do this by hand (in the direction of the grain again) as you will have more control than if you use a machine sander. (You don’t want to reshape the wood, just remove the top layer). Now you are ready to reseal - once it is completely dry, apply an oil sealant with a soft cloth.  You can find lots of different types of oils - some also contain dyes which can enhance its colour.

How to keep outdoor furniture clean:
How to clean outdoor furniture:  This includes  wood (all types), plastic and wicker.

You will need:
Linen Dish Cloth
Dish Wash
a bucket of warm water

This is much simpler than the deep clean, once a month wipe your outdoor furniture down to keep it clean using a soft wet cloth, dipped in a warm (dish soapy) solution.
Another tip is when you are going away on holiday or you know it’s forecast to rain for the next two weeks - use furniture covers. Even though your outdoor furniture is designed to live in all weathers, by covering it - it will save you having to clean it so often! If you can use breathable covers to avoid as any damp and heat mix could potentially cause mould.

To finish I thought I would cover how to clean outdoor cushions.

As your cushions live outside in the elements, there’s a very good chance that they will get dusty and dirty and even perhaps the odd bit of bird poo (eek). So it’s well worth considering cleaning your cushions every month or so to keep them looking fresh and giving them a good clean at the beginning and end of the season before you put them away (so that they don’t go mouldy in storage).

So here’s a simple method to clean your dirty outdoor cushions:

You will need:

Washing machine or bucket to hand wash in
Laundry detergent
Alternative Bleach
Soft brush
Scented Vinegar
Linen dish cloth
Carpet beater (Optional) 

To deep clean your outdoor cushions, I would advise doing it at the beginning and the end of the season. As follows:

If your outdoor cushion covers are removable and machine washable - remove and wash on a cool heat setting and wash with a clothing wash detergent.  Allow to dry in the sunshine.

If they are hand-wash only pop them into a lukewarm bath (or bucket if you have a large enough one) , add two capfuls of laundry detergent, mix well then add the covers - mix them well in the water and leave for 30 minutes. Drain. Then rinse under cold water until the soap is removed. Allow to dry in the sunshine.

I wouldn’t suggest cleaning the cushion pad as this can cause issues with mould.  I would however suggest, once every couple of months giving them a light beating (on the lawn preferably or somewhere outside), using a carpet beater ideally or a smooth stick if you haven’t got one. This will remove any dust building up inside the cushion pads (and a fun work out for your arms!).

If your cushion covers cannot be removed from your outdoor furniture, all is not lost you can still clean them! Just mix 30ml of dish wash with 500ml of water and place into a spritz bottle. Spray the cushions lightly with the solution and using the soft bristle brush, scrub the cushions.  Wipe any residue away with a Linen dish cloth. Now remove any excess water with a clean towel. Press to remove - do this all over your cushion - top, bottom and sides. Once completed leave dry naturally - preferably in the sunshine.

Finally for spot staining on your outdoor cushions I would just add a sprinkle of alternative bleach and a spritz of Scented Vinegar- it’ll fizzle and bubble a bit but that is it working, then simply brush lightly with a soft bristle brush. Leave for 15 minutes and remove with a clean damp cloth and the stain should have disappeared - if not just repeat until it has.

This should keep all your outdoor furniture looking wonderful and hopefully with a little care it will last a lifetime! To really finish your space off you could spritz the covers with Linen Mist to scent your space (Coastal Walks is my favourite!).

I do hope you found this helpful and as always, please do let me know if you have any questions and will try and help.

Talk soon,

B x