Patio furniture is bound to take some abuse from the elements, especially in Virginia Beach, as well as all the local cities of Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk and even the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the Eastern Shore of Virginia are impacted by the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. Salt water creates a unique challenge in caring for furniture use outside on patios even if it is an open sunroom space.
That’s why it’s good to give your outdoor furnishings some occasional TLC. While today’s outdoor fabrics and finishes are built to withstand the elements, an annual cleaning can go a long way toward making them last for many years to come.
Prior to cleaning, we strongly recommend checking your fabrics cleaning code for specific cleaning instructions. Many household cleaning agents are harmful to the color and life of a fabric, and cleaning instructions can vary depending on the nature of the stain. For regular cleaning, it is important to frequently vacuum or lightly remove dust or grime.
It is also important to allow cushions to dry properly or to keep them covered when not in use. While most patio furniture is highly resistant to weather, furniture covers can extend the life of your seating or dining pieces, especially if the furniture is exposed to extremes of temperature or wet, salty air. If your climate has harsh winters, it is best to stow furniture inside during the coldest months. Quality outdoor cushions are made to allow proper drainage, reducing the drying time. Some even use a water resistant jacket, making them even easier to care for.
How to Clean Woven Furnishings
Woven furnishings are made of durable and weatherproof extruded polyethylene resinweave. Light stains and soils may be removed with a solution of mild detergent and water, rinsed with clear water and dried thoroughly. Mildew and heavy stains can be removed with a quality commercial outdoor furniture cleaner and protectant. Woven furnishings may not be suitable for intensely hot climates.
TLC for Teak
Left alone to age, the natural color of teak furnishings will weather to a soft, silver grey. This process will take approximately nine months, depending on the degree of sunlight and rain exposure. Imperfections, which are inherent properties of the wood, will show over time, enhancing the beauty of the furniture. In humid or wet climates, or after rains, the wood may naturally expand and contract, causing the grain to rise. This is to be expected with exposure to the elements and will stabilize after the initial weathering occurs.
To maintain teak furnishings, use a soft bristled utility brush and stroke lightly in the direction of the grain to remove surface dust. For more stubborn dirt, the wood may be washed with a mild solution of four parts laundry detergent or dishwashing soap to one part bleach in water, then rinsed thoroughly and allowed to dry completely. Oiling the wood may cause mildew or irregular coloring.
Caring for Aluminum
Wash the furniture with a solution of mild detergent and water, rinse with clear water, and dry thoroughly. To all metal frames, apply a fine, clear automobile wax for maximum protection against harmful ultraviolet exposure and salt air.
For best protection, perform this maintenance two or three times per year in low pollution areas or more frequently in high pollution areas. Please note that these durable materials can be safely cleaned as often as desired.