Your Reading List

Caring For Patio Furniture – for Jul. 23, 2010

Before purchasing patio furniture check warranties, care instructions and necessary maintenance of materials. Be sure the furniture you choose is durable and that parts will be available when you need them.

Teak will last a lifetime. The hardwood teak tree is native to Southeast Asia and Africa and grows to be 100 feet tall. The only maintenance necessary for teak furniture is periodic cleaning. This should be done with a solution of laundry detergent, bleach and water. Use a soft bristle brush to clean your furniture. When you are finished, rinse the entire piece to remove the dirt and any remaining solution. For deeper cleaning and tackling stains use a teak cleaner. This will remove the silver-grey patina and restore the furniture’s original colour.Tip: For extra protection apply a teak sealer.

Cedar wood is naturally resistant to weather and over time changes to a silvery-grey weathered look that many people prefer. Unfinished northern white or western red cedar can be cleaned using a solution of 2 cups bleach to 10 cups water and

1/4 cup liquid detergent. Scrub with a soft brush. Other choices for wood furniture are: cypress wood (resists insects and rot), Brazilian hardwood (heavy and durable) and pine (resists weather, decay and insects).

Cedar may be stained, painted or left as is; there are a variety of stains suitable for finishing cedar patio furniture. Choose a deep penetrating stain in order to preserve the wood and retain its natural beauty. The stain should have mildew inhibitors and water-repellent additives. All penetrating stains go deep into the wood but do not form a surface barrier. This eliminates blistering and peeling (these stains are perfect for woods that have knots and coarse grain). All of these factors make stain preferable over paint. Follow manufacturer’s instruction for application. Reapply every two to three years.

If choosing to paint outdoor cedar furniture remember that all exterior paints will flake and peel over time. When this happens, scrape and apply new paint every other year in order to keep cedar furniture looking beautiful. Always follow the manufacturer’s direction when applying exterior paint.

Tip 1:Avoid using oil-based exterior paint on cedar patio furniture because it attracts dust and dirt.

Tip 2:For regular cleaning of finished cedar patio furniture, wipe with a damp cloth.

There are several reasons that cast aluminum makes a great choice for patio furniture. It is lightweight and resists rust. Also, cast aluminum can be as beautiful as other patio furniture constructed from different materials, and it is simpler to care for and maintain. Clean with soap and water.

If the paint on aluminum furniture is in poor condition, rub it gently with a piece of fine sandpaper to smooth it out. Use carwash polish to buff the furniture back to its original lustre.

If the finish of wicker furniture becomes damaged, bring it back to life by using a permanent marker, nail polish or touch-up paint that matches the colour and blends away the exposed areas. To give wicker a whole new look, spray paint each piece with a can of outdoor spray paint (use a spray paint formulated for outdoor wood and wicker). Apply several coats, on all sides of the furniture.

All-natural wickers tend to dry out if left in the sun. Therefore, keep natural-wicker outdoor furniture in shady areas such as under trees, umbrellas, or on a shady side of the house.

If you choose to completely repaint your wrought iron patio furniture, use a paint that is specially formulated for metal. Be sure to rough up the metal with sandpaper so that the paint adheres.

If wrought iron becomes stained, sand with a light sandpaper and apply touch-up paint. Apply thin coats of paint and allow paint to dry between coats.

Plastic patio furniture is maintenance free and lightweight. To maintain, hose when dirty or clean with dish soap and water. Plastic furniture is great for the family on a budget. Modern plastic furniture is made to look like real wood without the hassle of stain and paint.

When cleaning vinyl patio furniture, never use a harsh brush or bleach. The brush may create pores in the vinyl, damaging it and causing it to lose its shape. The bleach may deteriorate the vinyl over time. Unless the furniture is badly stained, only use dish soap and water to clean dirty vinyl furniture.

When positioning patio furniture, allow at least a foot of floor space around each piece to avoid a crowded look and two feet for traffic flow paths.

Store all patio furniture covered in winter, preferably in your garage or basement.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming! Check out my website!

ReenaNerbasisahighlypopularprofessional speakerandtheauthorofthree nationalbestsellers,HouseholdSolutions 1withSubstitutions,HouseholdSolutions 2withKitchenSecretsandHousehold Solutions3withGreenAlternatives.Books andHouseholdSolutions1,2and3Cooking/ CleaningGiftPacksareavailableonlineorby calling:204-320-2757.

About the author

Reena Nerbas's recent articles



Stories from our other publications