Warm weather has us eager for outdoor living, sharing meals and relaxing with friends and family. Outdoor furniture and rugs go a long way to enhance these experiences, but after sitting in storage all winter these items may require sprucing up before they can be used. With some simple maintenance and cleaning you can maintain the attractive appearance of your furniture for years of enjoyment. Here's what we at Blue Oak Outdoors recommend for our furniture.
Frames, Aluminum Table Tops and Finishes
Be careful to never allow water to build up in frames as this could cause corrosion and freeze damage in cold climates. Wash all frames and/or aluminum table tops with a solution of mild soap and water. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft absorbent cloth towel. Frames can be treated with a liquid wax for maximum protection against UV rays and/or salty damp air.
All-Weather Resin Wicker
All-weather wicker is made of either PVC, Polyvinyl Chloride or PE, Polyethelene. Clean by washing frequently with mild soap and warm water. Do not use abrasive materials or cleansers. Commercial vinyl protectors may stain cushions.
Fabrics and Cushions
Cushions, slings, and/or an umbrella may be cleaned by hand with a solution of soap and water with a thorough, clean water rinse. Mildew and heavy stains can be removed with a quality commercial outdoor furniture cleaner and protectant. Note: Never dry clean or machine wash cushions, slings or umbrella covers as this will result in shrinkage or damage. Do not steam or use water at temperatures above 100°F when washing.
After cleaning cushions, stand on an end and allow to drip dry. Never use a commercial or home dryer to tumble dry fabric goods.
Maintain your cushions and slings by storing them in a dry area out of the elements or cover them with commercially available furniture covers when not in use. If your furniture is being used in an area where birds and trees are plentiful, covering the cushions is especially recommended.
Natural Stone Table Tops
Blue Oak natural stone table tops are designed for normal outdoor use in residential settings. To maintain the natural beauty, we recommend applying a stone-enhancing sealer every six months to protect and restore the top. This step can be repeated each year and before the winter season.
If your table top is stained with products such as wine, soda, coffee, or other colorants of organic origin, clean these spills immediately with a mild soap, then rinse with water.
In extremely cold climates, it is recommended that table tops be stored in a dry indoor area or be covered with a suitable outdoor furniture cover. Be sure to allow space between the table top and the cover so that moisture does not collect on the table; this will promote airflow and allow moisture to escape.
Clean spills immediately by blotting with a clean sponge or cloth. Rinse with water from a garden hose. Lift rugs off the ground to dry thoroughly. A rug pad is recommended for carpet and hard surfaces both indoors and outdoors. For vacuuming, use a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar or one where you can set the bar to the highest pile setting. If your vacuum has variable power settings, set on low. Vacuum the full length of the rug, then turn and repeat to the next area, rather than using a back and forth motion.
Do not use bleach or solvents to clean any product.
By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
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