How To Care for Your Outdoor Furniture

By Debra Lack

One of the most important elements to creating an enjoyable, functional outdoor space is to buy quality furniture with attractive high performance fabrics. I always recommend when creating your space you look at the interior of your home and imagine “bringing the outside in” creating a flow throughout your home. Your outdoor furniture, from beach chairs and umbrellas to patio furniture and cushions, get a lot of wear in our temperate, sea air climate. Especially for beach furniture you should make sure the fabric is awning grade or marine acrylic grade for durability. The following tips will help extend the life of your furniture.

High Performance Fabrics used on patio cushions, beach umbrellas and chairs may be cleaned with the following: Combine one quart of warm water with one teaspoon dishwashing detergent (I usually recommend Dawn), add one tablespoon borax for cushions. Vacuum or shake off sand and dirt. With a soft bristle brush apply solution and let soak for at least 15 minutes and then rinse with hose. To prevent mildew allow to dry thoroughly before using or storing. If mildew becomes a problem use a solution of one cup bleach, two cups of dishwashing detergent, and one gallon water. Spray on entire piece and soak for 30 minutes let thoroughly dry. Please remember to wear rubber gloves when cleaning with bleach. We also recommend rinsing off chairs and umbrellas after every beach trip, and let dry completely before storing, preventing premature rusting and wood decay.

Wicker furniture should be cleaned at least once a year by misting with a garden hose. Choose a breezy day and let dry in the shade. If your wicker is not made from “all weather wicker” it’s only suitable for covered outdoor areas.

Resin or Plastic should be scrubbed with mild soap and water, rinse and dry. You can use the same solution to clean stains from nylon webbing and mesh.

Metal Furniture, such as wrought iron, and aluminum should also be cleaned with water and mild soap. Remove any scuffs with a nonabrasive cleaner and a soft cloth. If you live near salt water, furniture should be washed monthly.

Wood Furniture tends to weather naturally; however, it should be treated regularly to prevent decay. Once a year wash wood furniture with a solution of one tablespoon of bleach, five tablespoons Dawn, and a gallon of water and apply with a soft cloth. Rinse and let dry completely.  Perform a hardware check once a year-tighten bolts and screws and replace hardware if necessary.

About this writer

  • Debra Lack

    Debra Lack

    Debra Lack is the owner of Lack’s Outdoor Furniture. Her company’s high quality beach chairs and umbrellas are manufactured in Myrtle Beach and all seams are hand sewn. Stop by for a wide variety of color combinations that are always in stock! Lack’s Outdoor Furniture is located at 531 Robert M Grissom Pkwy in Myrtle Beach. Call 843-448-7741 or visit

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