GENERAL CARE & MAINTENANCE (download the pdf)
METAL FRAMES (ALUMINUM or IRON)
Cleaning your metal frames on a regular basis (annually, at the minimum) makes for easier long term maintenance by preventing the accretion of dirt and reducing the incidence of mildew or moss. Remove harsh contaminants such as bird droppings promptly. Wash frames with a solution of mild soap and warm water using a very soft brush or cloth. Rinse well with clean water to remove any soap residue. For mildew or tougher stains, 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water may be added to the solution.
NEVER use a pressure washer on your outdoor furniture. Remove any cushions prior to cleaning and wait to replace them until the furniture is fully dry.
DO NOT USE any kind of wax, abrasive materials, or strong detergents on textured finishes.
If your aluminum furniture has a non-textured finish that is shiny or glossy, you may also apply a fine automotive wax to maintain it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the application process. Should you choose to wax, make sure to avoid contaminating non-metal surfaces such as vinyl strap, textilene sling, or cushions with the product; it could result in discoloration or other damage.
Periodically inspect your furniture for scratches or chips in the surface. These should be touched up promptly to prevent rusting (iron) or oxidation (aluminum). Touch up paint matching your frame color can often be ordered through your retailer.
NEVER leave your furniture standing in water. This includes pool and sea water.
For best protection, store your furniture or use a breathable cover during the winter season or extended periods of non-use. Make sure frames are right side up, so any accumulated moisture can escape through the weep holes (tiny openings drilled in the underside of all tubular frames). This reduces oxidation and prevents deformations caused by water expanding as it freezes.
Clean with a mild dish detergent and lukewarm water using a soft, clean cloth. Rub with the grain of the metal. Rinse well with clean water. Dry thoroughly to prevent streaks, rubbing with the grain.
NEVER use a pressure washer on your outdoor furniture.
Do NOT use bleach or products containing bleach, products with chloride, or abrasive pads or cleaners. Avoid rubbing against the grain of the metal.
WOVEN RESIN/SYNTHETIC WICKER
For easy cleaning, use a very soft brush or rag with a mild dish soap and water. Rinse well with a garden hose to remove any soap residue. Avoid abrasives and sun protection products, which can cause discoloration. See VINYL STRAP for additional suggestions.
NEVER use a pressure washer on your outdoor furniture.
Quality woven resin products are formulated to include UV inhibitors, which help prevent brittleness and discoloration from long-term sun exposure. However, this type of furniture especially benefits from being stored or protected with a breathable fabric cover. Ensure items are stored right side up, allowing any accumulated moisture to drain out the weep holes before it can cause oxidation or freeze damage.
MARINE GRADE POLYMER (MGP)/HDPE/RECYCLED
Polymer products, whether recycled or virgin material, are extremely durable and well suited to outdoor use. They do not require sealing, painting or staining. Polymer products will not rot or splinter and contain UV inhibitors to resist fading. They also will not absorb water and are resistant to bacterial growth. To maintain, simply wash regularly with mild soap and water and rinse with clean water to remove any soap residue. NEVER use a pressure washer on your outdoor furniture. While stainless steel fasteners are virtually maintenance free under normal conditions, coastal applications will require more frequent washing or rinsing to prevent oxidation. Avoid abrasives and the use of harsh chemicals.
NATURAL STONE or MOSAIC TOPS
Table tops made of natural stone, concrete with mosaic inlay, or concrete/concrete blend should be sealed 1-2 times per year. This will help prevent discoloration and lifting of mosaic pieces, as well as cracks from water expanding as it freezes. Many manufacturers recommend 511 Impregnator from Miracle Sealants CompanyTM. It is also recommended that these items be covered for the winter season or during long periods of non-use.
CONCRETE or CONCRETE BLENDS (GFRC)
Concrete and concrete blend outdoor products should be sealed 1-2 times per year. This will help prevent discoloration and cracking. 511 Porous Plus from Miracle Sealants CompanyTM is an industry recommended sealant. Follow package instructions for application. It is also recommended that these items be covered for the winter season or during periods of non-use.
Regular cleanings are recommended, using a clean, soft rag and a solution of water and mild liquid soap. Rinse with clean water to remove soap residue and dry to prevent water spots. To remove hard water deposits, soap scum, or mildew stains, use cleaning products available at your local hardware store that are labeled for use on porcelain surfaces. For tougher stains, such as food or dirt build-up, use a ph-balanced cleaner that is safe for porcelain. Avoid products that are alkaline (baking soda/borax) or acid-based (citrus/pine/vinegar), as well as abrasives or scouring agents. These may break down the sealant or cause discoloration.
Use only light, non-alkaline hand soap and water for regular cleaning, applied with a cotton wash cloth or rag. DO NOT use an abrasive pad or scrub profusely when cleaning. Use coasters and limit the table top’s exposure to water. Continued exposure may cause the top to oxidize, creating a greenish patina. Keeping your copper top in a covered area or using an outdoor fabric cover will also reduce water exposure. If your top is scratched or comes into contact with an acid, a shiny spot on the copper may appear. This spot will eventually age back to the original dark brown finish over time.
Sling material can be cleaned very easily with mild dish soap and water. Apply with a soft brush or rag and rinse with clean water to remove any soap residue. NEVER use a pressure washer on your outdoor furniture. For more difficult stains, you may add 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of soapy water. Again, rinse well with your garden hose. Avoid exposure to products such as sunscreen, suntan oils/lotions, and bronzers, as they may stain the sling material.
Vinyl straps can be kept in excellent condition by regularly cleaning with mild soap and water using a soft brush or rag. Rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Never use a pressure washer on vinyl strap. Avoid contact with products such as sunscreen, suntan oils/lotions, and bronzers as they may stain the vinyl strap. To remove difficult stains, use rubbing alcohol applied with a soft cloth.
A solution of mild dish soap & water can be utilized with virtually every outdoor fabric. Limit the amount of soap & rinse extremely thoroughly – soap residue attracts dirt.
Ensure that your fabric will not discolor before adding bleach to your cleaning formula (as described for Textilene, above). Bleach is usually safe to include when cleaning Sunbrella® & other solution-dyed fabrics. It should be avoided with printed polyesters. If uncertain, test on an inconspicuous area before use.
An enormous quantity of useful advice about cleaning outdoor fabrics (including recommendations about process & suggestions for specific kinds of stains) can be found on the Sunbrella® website under “How to Clean.”
Read about all of our teak recommendations in our Natural Teak Care pdf.