How to: Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

From The Washington Post’s home and garden tip of the week, June 30, 2011

Cleaning Outdoor Furniture  by Megan Buerger

Plastic Furniture: Add a few drops of mild dishwashing soap to a small bucket of water. Dip a clean cloth into the bucket and wipe down the furniture until the dirt and mildew is gone.

Aluminum Furniture: Add a mild dishwashing soap to water and wipe down with a cloth. To get rid of scuff marks, use a damp cloth and a small amount of Soft Scrub, as abrasive cleaners and brushes could scratch. Also, it might be helpful to use a toothbrush when scrubbing out any creases or seams the furniture piece has. After you’ve rinsed it off, wipe the surface dry with a new cloth. Although aluminum furniture doesn’t rust, it can oxidize and take on a cloudy sheen.

Wicker Furniture: Add a mild oil-base soap, like Murphy Oil Soap, to a bucket of water and stir. Dip a soft scrubber brush into the bucket and gently scrub the furniture down. To save time, hose down every few weeks to prevent dirt buildup in crevices.

Wrought-Iron Furniture: Follow the same procedure as the plastic furniture. If the pieces still need work, they may need to be lightly sanded. Many manufacturers will include a touch-up paint kit with the furniture as well. For extra precaution, cover the pieces with plastic to protect it from the elements when you’re away from home.

Teak Furniture: Use a soft scrubber brush dampened with water and a mild oil based soap. Scrub until clean.

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