fall patio furniture cleaning

Preparing Outdoor Furniture for a long Winter's Nap

If a summer's worth of outdoor entertaining has taken its toll on your patio furniture, now is the time to clean it  - before you stash it away for winter.

No matter what type of patio furniture you have - wood, iron, or metal - it should be cleaned and minor repairs made before settling in for a long winter's nap.

That way, they will be ready to roll again next spring.

Here's the fall patio furniture cleaning routine to get your outdoor furnishings primed for storage.

The Rewards of Fall Patio Furniture Cleaning

Fall patio furniture cleaning has its rewards: You'll have comfortable, attractive pieces that can be pulled out of storage and used on those occasional warm winter days. Repairing old outdoor furniture in the fall usually costs half what you'd pay for new replacements.

Replace worn straps and cushions, re-cover patio umbrellas and furniture as needed now, when prices and wait times for repair are often much less.

In the spring, patio furniture repairs can take eight to 12 weeks because suppliers are swamped with orders. 

Cleaning Vinyl Patio Furniture

  • Wash vinyl straps and vinyl-coated fabrics with a bit of laundry detergent mixed in a bucket of warm water. Use a rag or a soft-bristled brush to scrub straps, breaking down baked-on or sticky stains carefully as not to mar the sheen.
  • Never use bleach on vinyl because it can damage the finish, allowing the porous material to stain, fade, and weaken faster. Elbow grease is your hero here. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Fall Patio Furniture Cleaning to Remove Rust 

If you catch them when they first adhere themselves, the dark spots are relatively easy to clean away with soapy water.

For really tough stains and spotting, Blast Liquid Soap can be used - safely - as a last resort.

Wrought Iron, Aluminum, Umbrellas and Hammocks

If you have wrought iron patio furniture, chances are you have light rust spots. Most middle- to high-end manufacturers use a sophisticated paint process to inhibit rust, but they cannot prevent it.

There's no such thing as rustproof wrought iron. It just has to be watched over and cared for. These fall patio furniture cleaning tips can help.

  • To remove light rust spots from wrought iron furniture, use a rust dissolver applied with a metal brush. Then apply a primer and touch-up paint. 
  • Clean aluminum patio furniture with a car-rubbing compound, then coat with clear car wax (Turtle Wax is green) to protect the elements' finish. 
  • Brighten dingy umbrellas and fabric chair cushions using cool, soapy water and a nylon brush, followed by a thorough rinsing to remove any cleaner residue. Then open the umbrella and let it air dry. 
  • Check that all the umbrella spokes are in their sockets, that the mechanics are working correctly. And that the seams of all the seat cushions are intact. 
  • Hammocks - both polyester and cotton - need extra care to survive a cold, wet winter. Clean a hammock by submerging it in a bathtub or large sink filled with warm water. Scrub any grimy spots or blights with mild dishwashing detergent and a nylon-bristle brush. Allow the hammock to air dry thoroughly. 
  • Put your hammock in a dry, sheltered area, such as a shed or a garage. Don't roll it up - moisture can get trapped inside, allowing mildew to grow. And by the time spring comes around, it won't be usable. Instead, fold it in half and hang it by its end rings. 

Cleaning Wood Patio Furniture

Wood patio furniture in backyard.

A fall patio furniture cleaning for wood furniture, whether it's the most expensive teak or inexpensive redwood, should include a  gentle sanding away of surface dirt and grime.

Follow with an exterior penetrating oil to keep the surface looking lustrous. 

Wood is a lot like skin. If you were sitting in the sun, your skin would dry, age, and crack.

Wood does the same thing. Teak Oil not only protects the wood but keeps it looking good as well.

Extend the Life of  Your Patio Furniture

The key to extending the life of patio furniture is preventative maintenance. Clean regularly, keep seat cushions indoors when not in use, and invest in patio furniture covers. Store furniture in an upright position to allow for proper drainage. 

Storing outdoor furniture upside-down may cause water to accumulate and freeze inside the frame, causing premature structural damage. 


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