How to Clean and Protect Outdoor Furniture

Image via Unsplash

During the colder months, your outdoor furniture tends to go unused, neglected, and uncleaned. Now that the weather is starting to turn and the seasons are changing, getting your patio furniture back in shape and looking great should be high on your to-do list. 

Replacing patio furniture can be costly, so knowing how to clean as well as protect these pieces from weather exposure is essential, especially if they have upholstered material elements. Here are some tips.

Furniture Cushions

If your outdoor furniture has cushions, you’ll need to check the cushions’ care instruction tags before you start cleaning them. Depending on what those instructions entail, the following considerations may apply.

Basic Outdoor Cushions

For cushions that you can’t unzip and machine-wash, but which are made of softer and more susceptible materials to dirt than vinyl, here’s what to do: 

  1. Create a solution of dishwashing detergent, warm water, and 1 tablespoon of Borax and place it in a spray bottle. 
  2. Spray down your cushions, taking care to get into any crevices, until they are saturated on both sides. Let them sit for 15 minutes. 
  3. Spray the solution off with a hose and set the cushions out in the sun to dry. 
  4. Treat them with a fabric protector before they are completely finished drying, and vacuum as needed between cleanings to remove any dust or dirt.

Vinyl Cushions

Vinyl cushions are one of the simplest materials to get clean. 

Simply mix some dishwashing liquid with warm water, dampen a microfiber cloth, and wipe down the covers. Repeat as necessary and let the cushions air dry.

Machine-Washable Cushions

Although you can place your machine-washable cushions in the washing machine, wiping down and pretreating the cushions before doing so is still a good idea:

  1. Follow the same instructions for vinyl cushions, and then remove the covers from the cushions and check your care instructions. 
  2. Use a gentle detergent and wash your cushion covers in warm water. 
  3. To dry your cushions, tumble dry on a low heat setting.

Canvas Material Seats and Backs

Most canvas is machine-washable, so if your piece of outdoor furniture has canvas that is removable, you can easily machine wash on a gentle cycle. Reattach the canvas to your chair or chaise while it is still damp to maintain the shape.

For upholstered furniture with nonremovable canvas, you’ll need a bar of laundry soap or castile soap and a scrub brush. Saturate the brush with the soap and start scrubbing the canvas. After getting out all of the stains, dirt, and other grime, rinse well with water and let the canvas air-dry.

Air-Drying Tips

When leaving your furniture out to air-dry, it is important that you stand your cushions up on their sides to allow the cushions to dry as well as possible. Blot up extra moisture with a towel and ensure that your cushions or upholstery pieces are completely dry before setting your furniture back up for use to avoid regrowth of mold or mildew.

How to Protect Your Furniture

In order to protect and maintain the cleanliness of your outdoor furniture, you’ll need to take some precautions. 

Shake Out and Vacuum 

Make a habit of regularly shaking out your cushions to get rid of dust, dirt, pine needles, and so on as well as vacuuming pillows and cushions on a weekly basis. 

Use a Fabric Protector Solution

Using a fabric protector will help protect the material on your outdoor furniture from the elements. Find a solution that includes UV protection in order to get extra defense against sun fading and bleaching.

Store Your Furniture During Off-Season

To protect your outdoor furniture during winter and make cleaning easier for next year, cover or store your furniture in a safe area during the colder months. You can also wipe down and clean your furniture’s cushions and store them indoors to avoid mold and mildew growth.

Call Us for Your Outdoor Furniture Needs!

Queen Anne Upholstery has been specializing in outdoor furniture upholstery repair and restoration since 1936. Our staff is trained and qualified with years of experience, so you can expect the highest-quality refinishing and reupholstering for your outdoor patio furniture. If your furniture needs a makeover, we can help. 

Contact Queen Anne Upholstery today to learn more about our outdoor furniture upholstery repair services!