Plans for the Weekend?
Mild temps and a light schedule means the patio is officially opening this weekend. Before you head outdoors with a full arsenal of heavy duty solvents and chemicals just relax for a moment, put down the pressure washer, and see what the experts suggest when it comes to cleaning your patio furniture.
Less is More
My cleaning persona is that of a fighter not a lover. I tend to gravitate to tough verbiage and hard tag lines in the cleanser isle, like "for life's biggest messes" and "tough stain fighting action". I buy magic erasers in bulk and stash Comet around the house like a squirrel saving up for winter. Naturally, my instinct would be to grab the "serious" nozzle for my pressure washer and a gallon of industrial grade cleanser while eyeing down the lounge chairs with an intimidating stare, but after speaking with the experts here at Blue Oak, it seems that all you need is a little mild soap and water to properly clean outdoor furniture.
According to the Care and Maintenance guidelines here the best practice is to mix a mild soap like dish detergent with warm water, wash by hand and then thoroughly rinse with clean water. I used a soft bristle brush to help get into cracks and in-between woven materials. The brains at Blue Oak also recommend following up with a soft absorbent towel to dry but after such a peaceful cleaning experience I was craving power so I grabbed my leaf blower and gave it the once over.
Just like your indoor stone surfaces, outdoor stone will best maintain it's natural beauty with seasonal applications of a stone-enhancing sealer. Check your local tile shop for recommendations. Here are some of the recommendations.
- Clean the surface twice
- Make sure the table top is completely dry (most recommendations say wait 1 hour after cleaning)
- Look for a sealer that will not change the finish (gloss or look) and read all instructions
- Work in sections so the sealer does not dry too quickly (results in streaking)
- Spray/spread sealer evenly over surface using a sponge, brush, or my personal choice, a flat paint pad used for edging
- Let the sealer soak in for just a few minutes
- Wipe off sealer really well with a clean cloth to avoid streaks
Fabrics and Cushions
I once had the brilliant idea to stuff my patio cushions in a big commercial washer and let high horsepower extract a summer of Sangria stains. When the cycle finished my cushions were a lumpy abstract rendition of their former shape. According to Blue Oak guidelines Note: Never dry clean or machine wash cushions, slings or umbrella covers as this will result in shrinkage or damage. Point taken. So what is the best way to clean fabric and cushions? Again, with the mild soap and water. If you are still having a hard time getting mildew or other stains out, look for a commercial outdoor furniture cleaner and protectant and follow the instructions. A method I have found very helpful is to apply cleanser and set cushions in the sun for a bit before rinsing. The sun has incredible cleansing power. After rinsing, stand the cushions on end to dry. If you are storing for winter or live in an area where birds and trees are plentiful, you may want to invest in furniture covers.
After a day of letting kids go wild on a recent photoshoot, we were left with some pretty tough chocolate stains on our outdoor rug. The recommendation here is to blot the stain immediately with a clean sponge or cloth and then rinse with a hose. I found that placing a towel on the underside of the rug and one on top and then applying pressure (walk on it) lifted most of the stain and rinsing with the hose handled the rest. If you have a fence or gate to throw the rug over it will help speed the drying process.
Refer back to our website for more tips on care and maintenance for your outdoor furniture and accessories, or shop new items and skip cleaning this season!