How to Clean Patio Furniture

Summer is outdoor entertaining season, and if you’re hosting an upcoming get-together, it’s time to assess whether your patio is up to the task. A few purchases might need to be made before the big day, whether it’s a bigger grill, additional seating or a few more pool toys. But you’ll also have to clean up your existing gear. If your patio furniture, for example, is looking a little worse for wear, it’s a cinch to clean it right up as long as you know which methods work for what materials. Here’s everything you need to know.

Wood
Whether it’s your wooden Adirondack chairs or the deck itself, wood can look dingy if it’s not properly taken care of. For starters, Reader’s Digest magazine recommended getting rid of any mildew with a white vinegar spray, which will not only remove the growth, but keep it from coming back for a while. Better Homes and Gardens magazine also suggested mixing up a solution of 1⁄4 cup ammonia, 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 quart warm water. Spray it on and work it into any small space with an old toothbrush.

After cleaning your wooden furniture or deck, keep it looking spotless by spraying it with the garden hose every few weeks to prevent dirt and debris from accumulating. Of course, it also helps to apply a fresh coat of sealant or a protective finish before the start of each season.

Plastic
Plastic furniture is a great addition to any patio because it’s light and easy to care for. Most of the time, all you’ll need is a mix of dishwashing detergent and warm water to get the job done. Just dip a rag into the solution and wipe it down, then rinse with the hose. For a more heavy-duty cleaning job on faded plastic furniture, Reader’s Digest advised using WD-40. Just spray it on the surface and buff it off to reveal a brighter, shinier surface. Better Homes and Gardens added that you can apply a coat of automotive wax to keep your plastic furniture looking like new.

Metal
Wrought iron, cast iron and aluminum are common metals used for patio furniture, and according to Better Homes and Gardens, rusting is the most common problem. Start by getting rid of any oxidized patches with a metal polishing paste or a mix of equal parts water and white vinegar. For an all-over cleaning, Real Simple magazine suggested using a simple mixture of water and dishwashing soap, then rinsing with the hose. For the finishing touches, Better Homes and Gardens noted that you can use a coat or two of automotive wax to protect your furniture between cleanings.

Glass
A simple glass cleaner or homemade vinegar and water solution is all you need to clean any glass furniture. Use a soft cloth to remove debris and wipe it down, then give it a rinse. Don’t forget to clean the underside of the glass too, which can become irreversibly dirty if you neglect it.

What type of furniture does your patio feature?