Summer is here, so it’s time to get out the patio chairs, crack open your favorite beverage, and enjoy the warm weather. We appreciate the sun and relaxation while it lasts, with lazy weekend barbecues and brilliant summer sunsets.
In most areas, the summer only lasts a few months, though, so it’s also important to properly care for your patio chairs before you cover them or put them away for the season. Sure, you can save these tips for the end of the summer, but you can also do these cleaning tasks throughout the summer to really maintain your patio furniture’s appearance.
Follow Manufacturer Guidelines for Specific Cleaning & Care Advice
Patio chairs and tables are made of all different materials. Some are metal, some are wicker, while others are plastic. Some outdoor furniture is even made from special wood-replicating plastics, such as these Polywood Modern Adirondack Chairs.
Every manufacturer will provide care procedures in the owner’s manual or on the packaging. It’s important to start with this information for the best patio chair cleaning and preservation advice.
But beyond the manufacturer specifics, we’ll delve into some general upkeep tips to keep your patio furniture looking great for many summers.
Dust or Vacuum Dirt, Dust & Pollen
Start your patio furniture care routine with a simple wipe down. You can use a dry cloth for this, but a Swiffer Duster works even better on plastic or metal outdoor furniture.
If your patio chairs have fabric cushions, you’ll have good results with a hand vacuum like the Black+Decker Dustbuster. This will make sure you get not only the dirt you can see but any that has worked its way into the fabric.
Wash Off Any Dirt, Mold, or Mildew
Even after sweeping or vacuuming your patio furniture, you may still have some work to do. Dried-on dirt, mold, and mildew are all potential culprits keeping your patio chairs from looking great. This is especially true if you’ve had a particularly wet summer season.
While soapy water works well, some stains require something a little more aggressive. CLR Outdoor Furniture Cleaner is formulated to remove dirt and grime from patio furniture made from many different materials, including:
- Wrought iron
Just spray your furniture down with CLR Outdoor Furniture Cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, wipe it with a cloth or sponge and rinse.
It’s a good idea to wear household cleaning gloves while doing this because while the formula is non-abrasive, it can irritate sensitive skin. But you don’t have to worry about your landscaping, as the biodegradable formula won’t hurt your grass.
Special Metal Furniture Care Tips
You’ll face some additional challenges with metal patio furniture. The biggest issue with furniture made from any metal other than aluminum is rust. While your furniture likely has paint and a clear coat of varnish to protect it, small cracks in this finish can lead to the onset of rust.
How do you combat this?
Keep Your Metal Furniture as Dry as Possible
Your metal patio chairs and tables are certain to get wet from time to time if your patio doesn’t have a roof. Even if it does, when you clean your furniture off you’re certain to use some liquid. The important thing is to remember to thoroughly dry any metal furniture after it has gotten wet. Moisture leads to rust, so avoiding this at all costs is important.
But if you’ve already spotted some rust, you can still take action.
Sand & Refinish Metal Patio Chairs
As long as you’re just starting to notice rust, it likely isn’t too deep. This is good news, as you can use sandpaper to clean off the surface rust. Yes, you’re going to get into the metal a little bit, but this is the nature of rust. Rust is oxidized metal, so by sanding you’re removing the weakened and discolored layers of the metal. This is important because rust will continue to burrow deeper into the material if left without treatment.
After you’ve sanded away the rust, you’ll want to touch up the paint and add a protective clear coat. If you’re ok with a slight mismatch, you can try to match the paint color to the best of your ability. If you want it perfect, though, you can check with the manufacturer to get the paint code for an exact match.
For a clear coat, Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear Enamel should do the trick. Apply this to the freshly painted area to add a layer of protection against rust.
Cover Your Furniture Before Storing It & During Use
Of course, the easiest way to keep your furniture in tip-top shape is by covering it with a furniture cover. Some outdoor furniture comes with custom-made covers for a perfect fit. If yours did not come with covers, you can buy third-party covers like those offered by Treasure Garden.
Whether or not you keep your furniture covered during the warmer months, it’s important to at least put covers on at the end of the summer to keep it looking great for the following year.
Proper Care For Patio Chairs Involves Cleanliness & Protection
Regardless of the material, you’ll need to keep your patio chairs clean from both dry debris and stains if you want them to maintain their like-new appearance. Dust them off, then clean them with soapy water or another outdoor furniture cleaner for the best results.
To protect against rain as well as to help prevent mold and mildew, you’ll want to consider covering your patio chairs and furniture while in storage as well as when they are outdoors. Long story short: It’s wise to put away or cover your patio furniture any time you aren’t using it.