Regardless of the type of outdoor furniture you have, some guidelines apply.
- Start with water and a mild dishwashing detergent. The gentle mixture won’t scratch or bleach.
- Always test any specialty products in an inconspicuous place first. Two new environmentally friendly cleaning products from Canadian companies: Simple Wash (biowash.com) and Eco Mist All Purpose Cleaner (ecomistsolutions.com).
- Don’t use a power washer, says Stephanie Hauser of Hauser Company Stores, a Canadian manufacturer of casual furniture celebrating its 60th year. “If you look at what power washing can do to your deck, imagine what it will do to furniture.”
- Take care of your pieces now so you’ll enjoy them for years. “It all depends on how disciplined you are,” says Christina Siokas, seasonal merchandiser for RONA. “If you maintain the furniture religiously at the end of each season, it will last. And bringing it indoors whenever you’re not using it is the best way to preserve it.”
- Cover up with breathable fabric furniture covers. (Although waterproof, vinyl doesn’t breathe, so it can trap moisture, leading to mould.) While covers aren’t an absolute necessity, they can extend the life of your patio set. Use them over the winter in particular, if you can’t store your pieces indoors, says Andrew Bockner of Andrew Richard Designs.
- Dress up tired furniture with a new umbrella and colourful cushion fabrics to give it a whole new look, says Christina.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.