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How to clean and maintain your outdoor furniture

Tips to keep your patio set-up fresh and ready to entertain at a moment’s notice

After investing in good quality outdoor furniture, you want it to last as long as possible. Unfortunately the elements can make that a challenge, so some preventative maintenance is in order to keep your pieces looking their best.

Materials matter

Most outdoor furniture combines a mix of several materials. Wicker has different maintenance needs than vinyl, canvas, plastic, stainless steel, aluminum or teak. Get to know what your pieces are made of and what they require to stay in tip-top shape, following care information that is specific to each material.

Products and methods that can help

If your furniture is pretty heavily soiled, use a hose to spray off any dirt or debris. If all it requires is a light cleaning, use a dry, clean cloth to dust it and help maintain its look.

When it comes to cleaning, gentle cleansers are always best. To tackle stains, you can make your own soap mixture: just use a bit of mild detergent or dish soap mixed with water. Be sure to use a soft brush—avoid those with hard bristles—and don’t scrub too hard or abrasively as you don’t want to damage the fabric or cause it to pill.

Stick to a cleaning routine

You may find it helpful to stick to a cleaning schedule, remembering to perform certain tasks weekly or monthly.

Make sure to clean off your patio furniture at least once a week. This means brushing off any twigs, leaves or debris that has accumulated and scrubbing off any dirt and grime. The reason is to make life easier for yourself—the more often you clean, the less there will be to do. Stains and dirt can become embedded, even in tougher, more durable outdoor upholstery fabric; the faster you get to any marks, the more likely they will remain on the surface and be easier to remove.

In season, give your outdoor furniture a good, thorough cleaning once a month. Tackle any staining that has occurred, give your upholstered cushions a good wash and make sure they dry out fully in the sun. Fabric should always air dry and not be exposed to the heat of a steamer or a dryer, whether gas or electric. Remove any cobwebs or traces left behind by birds, bugs or wildlife, even nearby flowers, bushes and trees. Keeping these pieces clean and tidy on a monthly basis means it will never get too dirty and you’ll be ready to welcome guests at a moment’s notice.

Accessories and covers

The same advice applies to any outdoor accessories you have. If you have an outdoor rug, maintain it regularly and look for signs of wear and tear. If you have an outdoor fire pit, a cover for the burner is essential. Cover your fire pit with an outdoor protective cover (only after it has fully cooled, of course) to protect it from the rain and snow.

While it adds an extra step, experts also recommend that you cover your outdoor furniture with a high-quality protective cover when it is not in use. It takes just a few extra minutes before you head back indoors but makes a world of difference to your pieces, sheltering them from the sun’s harsh rays, rain and wind.

Feel free to ask staff for their recommendations too.

Ashley HomeStore North offers a wide range of furniture pieces, artwork, decorative accents and storage solutions for every room in your home. Looking for more great design ideas?

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