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Friday, December 2, 2022

Caring for and cleaning up your outdoor furniture

Regular maintenance does not have to be a huge task

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Sheryl Novak
Sheryl Novakhttps://www.solutionsmexico.com/
Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian and owner of SOLutions Mexico, an online furniture store in Mexico. Sign up for our free newsletters, which deliver our top headlines twice a week.
Outdoor furniture can stay looking new with proper care. Photo: Courtesy

Outdoor furniture is not cheap.

It is essential to conduct regular maintenance to get the most value from your investment. There are many types of outdoor furniture frames and materials.

Here are some of the best ways to keep your outdoor furniture looking new for years.

Regular maintenance does not have to be a huge task. Most items only require an occasional wash with a solution of mild detergent and water. Rinse with clear water and dry thoroughly.

To protect metal frames from harmful ultraviolet exposure and salt air, apply a fine, clear automobile wax. Although you can safely clean metal-framed outdoor furniture as often as you desire, but it only needs to be cleaned about once every quarter.

Some suntan and sun block products can be very harsh on resin, cushions and straps, mesh and vinyl. So be careful to check the care instructions when you purchase your outdoor cushions.

If you have teak furniture, you have the option to either treat the wood or let it age. Without treatment, teak will age in about nine months to a soft, silver-gray color. All wood species have imperfections so allowing leaving your teak to age also means it will develop more character. It is also common in areas with high humidity for the wood to expand and contract naturally. Don’t worry — the grain will stabilize once the rains abate.

To clean teak, use a soft-bristled brush and stroke lightly in the direction of the grain to remove dust. If there is dirt is embedded, you can wash it with a mild solution of four parts laundry detergent or dishwashing soap to one part bleach, in water. Remember to rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.

If your outdoor furniture is manufactured with vinyl straps, it is worth it to apply a quality vinyl protectant. Difficult stains can be removed using rubbing alcohol applied with a soft cloth.

Outdoor furniture made with synthetic weaves is usually durable and weatherproof if they are made from extruded polyethylene resin weave. Be cautious of the lower grade plastic weaves that will crack within a few months in the sunlight here in Mexico. Most of the furniture at the big box stores now sell the plastic instead of the higher quality resin weave. Make sure to read the materials before you invest your hard-earned money on something that will last only one season.

Light stains and soils in both synthetic weave and mesh outdoor furniture may be removed with a solution of mild detergent and water. Rinse with clear water and dry thoroughly. Mildew and heavy stains can be removed with a quality commercial outdoor furniture cleaner.

Tables made with stone and marble tops can be maintained by applying a stone-enhancing sealer every six months to protect and restore the tops. If you need to remove a stain such as wine, soda, coffee or other organic spills, wipe up the spill immediately, wash with a mild detergent and rinse.

Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico, an online furniture store and an expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all budgets, in Mexico. 

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