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Spring Cleaning

The signs are clear: all around us, trees are budding, flowers are sprouting, birds are chirping. These signals mean it is time to start getting your patio space ready so you can embrace the season without missing a beat. The days are getting longer and it’s exciting to get out, shake off the winter dust, and enjoy this beautiful time of year. Spring has sprung!

Before you jump ahead of yourself and start planning the outdoor season kickoff party, we advise that you get the spring cleaning out of your way first. Also, keep in mind that if you make it a habit to spray and/or vacuum off your patio furniture during the summer and fall months, spring cleaning will be just that much easier. Keeping your furniture investment clean will prolong its life, its good looks, and be more inviting to use.

Knowing what your furniture is made of will help you determine what you’ll need to do to best get the cleaning accomplished. For most everything, a simple bucket of warm water, a little liquid dish soap, and a soft sponge or brush works great. If your furniture is teak or another wood product, we carry specifically formulated cleaners from our wood manufacturers.

Begin by removing your protective covers. The covers we offer are washable in your clothes washer and then allow to simply air dry. Otherwise, a little liquid dish soap and a hose will suffice. With those done, you’ll be all set for fall. Make sure they are completely dry before storing them so they won’t mold or mildew. Next, before putting your cushions on the frames, give everything an initial rinse. Then simply soap everything down with a soft brush and rinse well. Quick and easy… just like we all like cleaning to be!

As for cleaning your cushions, plan on tackling them on a warm sunny day so they can dry thoroughly without leaving water lines. You may consider quickly running a vacuum over them initially in order to pull out the fine pollen and dust that has settled over the past year. Extracting this out of the cushion fibers prior to washing can help promote longer life. If you don’t have the time or desire to take that step, a little soap and water will mostly do the trick. If your cushions are 100% solution-dyed acrylic (like Sunbrella) you can mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and a little dish soap to get any tough stains out. Please keep in mind that bleach can have harmful effects on the natural environment around you. Please follow all safety and environmental precautions according to the bleach label. Sunbrella has more information here and here.

In summary:

  • Brush off loose dirt.
  • Spray on a cleaning solution of water and mild soap.
  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean.
  • Allow cleaning solution to soak into the fabric.
  • Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed.
  • Air dry.

After rinsing your cushions completely, set them up in the sun with the seam edge down. This allows the water to drain out of the cushions faster. Let them dry completely.

On a side note: It is not a good idea to put your cushions in your clothes washer or dryer. This will disfigure them and possibly melt the acrylic fabric… you won’t be happy with the results. 🙂

Now that everything is clean and dry you may consider other maintenance steps to protect your patio furniture. If your frames are a smooth metal you can apply a non-hazing automotive wax to shine everything up and help prevent finish oxidation. Always be sure to do a test patch on the underside first. Avoid doing this on an intricate metal design as it will prove difficult to apply the wax thoroughly. You will want to seal any stone or tile table tops with a reputable stone enhance/grout sealing product. As for wood products such as teak or ipe there are many products available to clean and protect. Here at Leisure Living we offer such products from Kingsley Bate here and here and Jensen Leisure here and here.

Last, but never the least, start planning that party! Spring cleaning takes a little time and effort, but the end result will pay dividends. You will prolong the looks and life of your furniture. You will also be more apt to go out and enjoy it when it’s clean.

And so the adventure begins… enjoy your spring!

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