In recent weeks, I have personally (and very capably) detailed of the interior of my SUV, dusted and de-cluttered my entire bedroom (and closet), meticulously scoured my shower grout, and reorganized my kitchen cabinets. Phew! I’m tired! But it feels so good when the job is done and everything feels fresh and new for Spring! Next on my never-ending Chore List: Clean the patio furniture. The sun is out and it’s time to barbeque! It’s a good thing cleaning the patio furniture seems like a more daunting task than it actually is - and lucky for me, and my pocket book, I don’t need to purchase any special detergents – soap and water work best for this job!
Here at Casual Elements, all of our outdoor furniture comes with Sunbrella Fabric Cushions, but most outdoor fabrics these days can be easily cleaned with soap and water. While most outdoor fabric is mold and mildew resistant, the grime that collects on top is not. Mildew grows on dirt, pollen, food, and other organic matter. So, the best way to keep your cushions looking great is to take preventative measures. Brushing debris from the cushions after windy days, rainstorms, and dinner parties is particularly helpful. This ensures that the food source for spores does not become embedded in the fabric.
Also, routine washing (approx 2 times per year) will prevent mold and mildew from forming. This is very simple if you have removable covers. Just throw them in the washing machine and lay them out to dry. If you have Sunbrella fabric cushions, machine wash in cold water, using normal amounts of mild laundry soap and add 1 cup of bleach (note that bleach may discolor non-Sunbrella fabrics). Machine drying is not necessary since Sunbrella fabric air-dries very quickly. If your covers are not removable, lay them out on a clean, flat area and spray them down thoroughly with a hose. Use soap and water to clean with a soft bristle brush or sponge. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and remove as much water as possible from the cushion. You can do this by kneeling next to each cushion and pressing firmly from the top of the cushion to the end. You can hang them or lay them out to dry. Be sure to turn them over once after approximately 4 hours.
For any synthetic outdoor cushion, spot cleaning can be done using a spray bottle with water and mild soap. Spray the cushions and lightly scrub the area with a soft bristle brush or sponge. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue and dispose of excess moisture by blotting with a clean towel. For Sunbrella fabrics, heavier stains and mildew may be removed using a solution of 1 cup bleach and ¼ cup mild soap per gallon of water (again, please note that bleach may discolor non-Sunbrella fabrics). Spray the entire area and let soak for 15 minutes. Use a soft bristle brush or sponge to gently scrub the area. Rinse thoroughly so that there is no soap residue remaining and allow fabric to air dry.
It takes very little time and effort to maintain a fresh and inviting outdoor space. So, don’t put it off until the day of your next party! Routine care ensures that you will always be able to offer your guests a clean seat, along with that cold glass of lemonade.