Investing in our outdoor living space is nice, and the designing and decorating part may be fun, but maintaining it is another story altogether. Because our outdoor furniture pieces are the most exposed to natural elements, they are also the most vulnerable to wear and tear. And if we want them to last for a long time, we need to give them the tender loving care they deserve. Here are some tips and pointers for cleaning and caring for your outdoor furniture.
Find the right furniture material
First of all, you need to know that some materials are more durable than others when exposed to sunlight, rain, snow, and other natural elements. Some of these materials include:
- Teak wood
- Sunbrella fabrics (perfect for upholstery!)
- Fiber cement
- Fiber stone
When looking for furniture, don’t forget to ask the designers or the experts specifically for these materials. They will be sure to point you to pieces that can withstand harsh weather better than others. Some designers take into consideration that these pieces will be used for outdoor spaces, so many of them ensure that certain materials are weatherproofed and can last longer than the regular furniture piece.
Provide protective elements
After finding the most nature-friendly furniture pieces, you need to ensure that you protect them the best you can and not just wait for elements to do their work. Consider investing in a roof of some kind, like a removable tent you can set up anytime it’s about to pour. If you live in an area with wild animals, you also need to ensure that your yard is protected from them. An aluminum composite fence gate can help keep wildlife away.
One thing you need to remember about cleaning your furniture is to listen to the manufacturers’ instructions. If the pieces come with a manual, make sure to keep it as a reference so that you know exactly what to do when you feel like the furniture pieces need some cleaning. If no manuals came with the furniture pieces, visit the store’s website to find the information you need. If the website does not include cleaning instructions, look for the store’s contact information and get in touch with them.
If you still can’t find the information you’re looking for, here are some general tips for cleaning furniture pieces made of specific materials:
- Use a damp cloth and a water-based shampoo from the supermarket to spot clean spills and dirt from your furniture. Be gentle while wiping down the stains; fight the urge to do it aggressively. Let the piece dry naturally as well. Remember not to scrub fabrics too hard since it might grind the stain into the fabric even further.
- If you have furniture pieces made of teak wood, keep in mind that they only require teak guard reapplication every 3 to 5 years. When reapplying the guard, make sure to follow the instructions on the label so as not to damage your furniture.
- If you have an outdoor rug, you’ll be happy to know that the occasional gentle shake and regular vacuuming are enough to keep it in perfect condition. While you can hose and scrub your rugs, you need not machine wash or dry them. Let them air-dry as well.
- Outdoor pillows are not like regular pillows; you can’t machine-wash them. But the good news is that the fabrics that make up outdoor pillows can be washed with a hose, so you can wash them the same way you would your rugs—be more gentle.
- Avoid using regular cleaning products because they can contain harmful chemicals that can damage or tarnish the finish of your furniture. Opt for safer products that might have gentler ingredients.
Keep them looking new
The best way to keep your outdoor furniture looking new for a long time is by investing in a trivet, coaster, or placemat. The key is to protect the finish. Even if the store promises that the furniture pieces have been weatherproofed, you will benefit greatly from covering them when the skies threaten to pour. Remember that wear-and-tear doesn’t happen overnight; it happens due to long-term neglect and consistent exposure to inclement weather. Do all that you can to protect your furniture as much as you can. Prevention is better than cure, as they say.
Caring for our homes does not end with designing and decorating. If we want our design to last a long time, we need to maintain it—outdoor living space included. Do all that you can to enjoy your outdoor furniture for a long time.