Minnesota summers are glorious. Victoria, Minnesota is especially beautiful this time of year, offering lots of parks and outdoor options. Sometimes, however, you just want to stay home and enjoy the outdoors from the privacy of your own backyard. Creating an “outdoor room” with patio furniture provides a relaxing setting to enjoy summer at its best.
While patio furniture is made to weather the elements, a little extra care will protect your investment for many years to come. Almost all types of outdoor furniture can benefit from three simple steps of cleaning, treating and storing.
- Clean – whatever your surface, begin by dusting and cleaning it with a mild cleaning solution of 1 tablespoon liquid detergent mixed with 1 quart warm water. Use a soft cloth or brush as needed to remove dirt and grime. Even cushions made of water resistant outdoor fabric can get dirty and need an occasional scrubbing with a soft bristled brush. Prop up in the sun to dry thoroughly.
- Treat – after a thorough cleaning, allow your furniture to dry completely and treat with some of the following methods specific to various furniture types:
Teak – apply teak oil once a year to help protect the wood from the elements. Rub the oil on with a clean, soft cloth; leave it overnight, then buff with another cloth.
Molded Plastic – after scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush, rinse with a garden hose and wipe dry with a soft cloth. If you notice any mildew, treat by applying a solution of ½ cup bleach to a gallon of water with a sponge. Make sure you wear gloves! Allow the solution a few minutes to work its magic, then scrub the area again and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Iron – remove rust stains immediately with a wire brush or sandpaper, and apply touch up paint from the manufacturer. Spray WD-40 on moving parts.
Redwood – it’s a good idea to seal the wood occasionally after cleaning and possible sanding to keep out moisture and prevent cracking. If the surface looks faded, a wood rejuvenation sealer can restore the color.
Wicker – If the wicker is sealed with a varnish or shellac, it should need only regular dusting. Untreated wicker should be kept inside during inclement weather. For routine cleaning, use the upholstery attachment of a vacuum cleaner or a duster. Once per year, if a piece has no wooden parts, scrub it with the cleaning solution mentioned in step 1 and/or spray it with a garden hose. Let it dry as quickly as possible in the sun or with a hair dryer.
3. Store – protect your furniture in the winter by covering it, and better yet, storing it, in a dry inside space. Indoor storage is especially important for furniture made of iron, wood or wicker.
Cleaning ideas are adapted from the May 2016 special issue of Consumer Reports: “How to Clean Practically Anything”
PS: Bike Konnect, a family-friendly bike ride from Victoria to Chaska, is Saturday, June 18th starting at 9:00 a.m. in Victoria. The event ends with an After Ride Bash featuring live music, a bounce house, log rolling and more until noon at Chaska Firemen’s Park. Tickets are $20/rider.