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What to Use to Clean Cloth Patio Furniture


Just like your indoor furniture, outdoor patio furniture needs a little tender loving care now and then to keep it clean and comfortable year round. There's been some mystery surrounding the cleaning of cushions. While there's lots of information about keeping the wood or steel surfaces of patio furniture clean, cleaning cushions hasn't gotten as much press. The good news is that it's not that hard to keep your cushions in top form. There are plenty of great cleaners out on the market that are made especially for outdoor furniture and familiar household cleaning solutions will do the trick, too. The first order of business is to get all the stains out of the cushions. Usually, stains can be removed with a mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda to a half gallon of hot water. Using a brush with fairly stiff bristles, work the solution into the stain. Let it set for a while, the wash it thoroughly. Keep repeating this process until the stain is removed. If there are really tough stains you can try lemon juice and vinegar. Add about a half cup of each to a cup of hot water and rub it into the stain with a brush. This works well when there is a buildup of mold or mildew or other tough stains. Once all the stains are removed you can either use a commercial cleaner or the baking soda mixture mentioned above to thoroughly clean the entire cloth cushion. If that doesn't do the trick, you can use commercial cleaners. Before you do check the manufacturer's tag first to see their recommendations. Some cleaning agents can weaken the fabric or cause the color to wash out or become spotty. When the entire cushion looks clean, wash it once more to remove all the cleaning solution. Hang the cushions up and let them dry completely in the sun. For tough mold and mildew, you can also use a chorine bleach solution.

Mix a quarter cup of chlorine bleach with a gallon of water. Dab the solution onto the stain or use a spray bottle to apply it. Saturate the entire area well, then let it sit for 60 seconds. Rinse the cloth patio furniture with clean water. Once the surface is dry, add a light coat or two of spray-on fabric sealant made specifically for outdoor furnishings. Cloth cushions aren't made to weather the elements. While the sealant will add a certain measure of water resistance to the cushions, continual exposure to sun and rain can cause the fabric to fade and break down over time. Another enemy of cloth cushions is suntan lotion and oil. If you have friends or family who want to get in a little sun time, make sure they place a towel on the cushion first to soak up any extra oil or lotions. These can cause stains that can be difficult if not impossible to remove from the cushions, even with commercial cleansers and a lot of time and effort. At the end of each season, it's a good idea to completely clean your cloth cushions from top to bottom. Make sure they are stain free first, then give the entire cushion a full cleaning. Let it dry, add a weather resistant coating, then allow to dry again. Once your cushions are completely dried, store them in a corner of your garage or storage shed that won't get damp during inclement weather. Never put your cloth cushions in a plastic container or bag. This will almost guarantee that they will be mildewed and moldy when you go to look for them at the first sign of a warm, sunny day.

 


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