Garden furniture: What is outdoor furniture care?

How to maintain a high level of outdoor furniture care

It may not be your favourite thing to do, but without proper outdoor furniture care your outdoor decor will slowly become an eyesore and unusable! Here is how to care for a few different materials in as quick and easy a way as possible.

PVC outdoor furniture care

The easiest of all the outdoor furniture to maintain, and one of its key selling points, PVC garden furniture care is a doddle! However as it is slightly porous it isn't quite as simple as just giving it a wipe down with a sponge, particularly if the PVC is white.

Fill a bucket or washing up bowl with warm water and a little car shampoo or washing up liquid, mix thoroughly and scrub the furniture thoroughly with a sponge. Though don't use the rough side of a sponge unless you absolutely have to as it can scratch the finish or remove any surface level UV protection that is sometimes sprayed on. We recommend using a toothbrush to really get into the nooks and crannies of the furniture, or to get rid of anything that is crusted on or leaves a stubborn mark, though probably don't use it to brush your teeth after...

White PVC may also need a mild bleach solution to keep it sparklingly white, or for any pvc furniture that is heavily mildewed.

After that give it a quick rinse with a garden hose, or a pressure washer if you want to be thorough! Dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots, and if you want to go the extra mile then finish it off with a quick coat of car wax to not only give it a shine, but also a bit of a water repellent layer! Not bad eh? It's that simple to maintain correct and proper PVC outdoor furniture care.

Wooden garden furniture care

The best way to clean your wooden garden furniture is with a soft brush and a good wood cleaner that can be picked up from any DIY or garden store. Always rinse well and allow to dry thoroughly before applying any stain or finish.

However, chances are that you've just glanced out the window and noticed that your deck chair is looking a bit rough and unloved, so as a good stop gap we recommend this: mix a solution of 2 parts non-bio washing up liquid with 1 part bleach in a large bucket of warm water. And make sure to mix thoroughly, these ingredients will stay separated unless vigorously stirred. Then give the wood a good scrub with a soft bristle brush and this solution will remove any surface dirt! Quick, easy, and you have all the ingredients to hand! Maintaining this outdoor furniture care couldn't be easier!

Then rinse with the hose to remove any leftover soap or dirt that the brushing missed. If you're looking for the weathered look then you can just stop here and bring your furniture inside for the winter. Job done!

However if you are want to rejuvenate your garden table or chairs then you'll need something a bit stronger. You'll probably want to use a caustic cleaner to remove the weathered patina, however each cleaner works differently and each wood will require a specific type so do your research thoroughly as we simply can't cover everything here!

After using the cleaner you may also want to sand it down to increase the surface area and remove any unsightly cracks or bumps if the furniture is a bit old and swollen from water retention. After this you'll then want to seal the wood with a sealing agent, however this again will be different for each wood, colour and type of finish, so do your research on the wood types and follow the instructions on the bottle!

Do not use varnish or non-recommended sealers on wood furniture as this can damage the wood and will require much more sanding/maintenance etc in the long run. You also don’t want to allow water to pool on the furniture for too long as it will damage it. So be kind and bring your lovely wooden furniture inside. It's that simple to provide proper wooden outdoor furniture care!

Powder coated metal outdoor furniture care

Another easy type of furniture to clean, powder coated metal furniture (such as the Harbour Housewares Bistro Tables) can be done with a pressure washer! If there are any large collections of dirt or surface deposits, such as bird droppings, try to remove them with a soft cloth or sponge prior to cleaning. Never use abrasive or soft abrasive powders and liquid, steel or Teflon pads. Also, do not use hard bristle brushes. These agents will damage and create scratches on your powder coating.

On to the fun bit: the pressure washer! Make sure to use it under low pressure though, if the pressure is strong enough to even move the furniture, it is most probably strong enough to damage the finish as well! Avoid using unfiltered water (rain water or ground water) as it often cause stains on outdoor furniture. It is recommended to use filtered water to clean and rinse powder-coated furniture whenever possible.

Never use chlorine or any other cleaning solutions with harsh and corrosive chemical properties even if they are mild. Use mild detergent instead, this is very unlikely to remove the finish, even if left on accidentally, and will be more than enough when combined with the pressure from the washer to safely remove any particles or dirt.

And that's really all you have to do! Not bad for a nifty bit of kit with a fancy name eh? Powder coated outdoor furniture care is a breeze.

And that's it! There are of course many other types of materials out there that your outdoor furniture could be made from, and each of those will require a different type of care, but we went with what is the most popular and what we are proud to display on our site!

Thanks for reading, we really appreciate it and hope you found it useful! Outdoor furniture care is one of those undocumented topics that people tend to overlook, and end up overspending on when they have to replace their furniture early. Let us know if you have any other ideas for outdoor furniture care that we missed!

And if you enjoyed this, why not read up on some of our other blog posts by our fabulous writing team.

Sincerely yours,

Jack Maile

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