Summer is over and it’s time to pack up outdoor furniture for safe keeping over winter. Before putting your patio tables, chairs and umbrellas away, give them a good cleaning so they’ll be ready for action — and relaxation — on the first pretty spring day.
- Place outdoor furniture on the patio or driveway so you won’t be working on muddy ground.
- Set the sprayer nozzle on the most forceful setting and blast any dirt or dust off furniture. It may be tempting to use a power washer, but they can damage wicker, wooden furniture and painted surfaces.
- If the canvas fabrics can be removed from chairs, throw them in the washing machine and put back on while still damp to preserve their shape.
- Use the right tool for the right surface. Use a sponge to clean cushions, colored surfaces or wicker; a scrubbing brush on wood, canvas and metal; or use steel wool on unpainted metal.
- Mix a gallon of water with a quarter cup of dishwashing liquid. Thoroughly wet each piece of furniture with the soapy water to remove any remaining dirt. Scrub wooden furniture in the direction of the grain.
- If you need something stronger to clean plastic furniture, don rubber gloves and mix a gallon of water with a quarter cup of powdered dishwasher detergent or a couple of tablespoons of oxygen bleach.
- For mildew on plastic, mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and wear rubber gloves to scrub the furniture. Repeat if necessary.
- Thoroughly rinse and allow to air dry before putting furniture in storage for winter.