How to clean and care for your outdoor furniture throughout the seasons
Indulging in the loveliness of the outdoors is fantastic with your favourite lounging setup in your backyard. Simply taking a seat on your outdoor furniture can help you relish all that nature has to offer—that is, if you take care of it.
While outdoor furniture is made to withstand the elements, it's still not resistant to dust, dirt, mold, animals, and insects. When it comes to outdoor furniture, you want a material that is durable, comfortable, and easy to maintain. While wood is attractive and traditional, it can be difficult to keep clean and often requires regular maintenance.
Plus, as harsh conditions set in, especially during winter, you'll need to tend to your pieces to make sure they stay in their best condition.
That goes for outdoor furniture fabric too!
Keeping your garden furniture clean: the basics
Keeping your outdoor furniture clean is one of the best ways to ensure that it lasts a long time. Here’s what you should do:
- Clean up spills immediately, as soon as possible after they happen.
- Clean upholstery and cushions regularly with mild soap and water or a mild detergent, using a soft cloth or sponge dampened with plain water (do not use anything abrasive). If necessary, use a soft brush on upholstery fabric to remove dirt or stains. Let them air dry on a flat surface.
- If you need more serious cleaning than above methods can provide, check out A question of deep-cleaning FibreGuard fabrics
The most popular garden furniture materials and how to care for them
Knowing what type of materials are suited for your outdoor furniture will help save you time and energy in the long run. Think about your local climate, and your own lifestyle. Let’s look at the different kinds of materials and how best to care for them.
Wood (an overview) - Wood is the most common material for outdoor furniture. Wood is more expensive than other materials like plastic or metal, but it's also more durable. If you want to buy wood, it depends on what kind of wood it is, and based on that it can cost up to three times more than plastic or metal. Also keep in mind that because of its density and durability, wooden furniture won't last as long as plastic or metal when exposed to weather conditions such as rain, sunshine, and extreme temperatures. Different kinds of woods perform differently, of course. Tropical hardwoods such as teak, for example, are popular in garden furniture, but are more expensive as materials. Let’s look at teak:
Teak - Teak is known for its durability and resistance to rot, decay, and insect damage, including termite attacks. This makes it a great choice for patio furniture, which can last you decades if cared for properly. Teak is heavy and requires more assembly than most other woods used in outdoor furniture—you'll need a strong back to lift this stuff!
Wicker – Wicker objects is traditionally made from plant-based materials such as straw, cane and rattan. It’s known for being both beautiful and durable, making it a great choice for outdoor furniture. Wicker is a good choice for outdoor furniture because it is naturally resistant to rot and mildew.
Aluminium - Another popular material is aluminium. It's lightweight and easy to maintain. Aluminium is a decent choice for outdoor furniture because it is durable and rust resistant, but it also comes in a variety of colours and finishes.
Steel - One of the biggest advantages to steel is its durability. It's rust-resistant, so you don't have to worry about dings or blemishes in the metal. Steel is also easy to clean, with just soap and water. And if you're worried about keeping your furniture looking good for years and years, you can rest assured that steel is a great material for your outdoor decor because it won't yellow over time like some other materials will.
Concrete – Concrete tables and garden furniture lend any outdoor space an effortlessly modern aesthetic. As a material it doesn't require any regular maintenance other than washing with soap and water occasionally to remove dirt or dust that may have accumulated on the surface of your patio set over time (or during an especially windy day).
Plastic (Poly resin and PVC) - Plastic furniture is more durable, easier to clean, and more affordable than wood. Plastic (poly resin/PVC) outdoor furniture can be made to look like wood and other materials, including aluminium, iron, and stainless steel. This makes it an attractive option for those who want the look of a particular material but don't have the budget or need for such an investment (or lack thereof).
Outdoor furniture fabrics: an overview
There are a wide variety of outdoor fabric collections, just as there’s a wide variety of garden furniture materials. As you’ll find, some are more suitable for purpose than others. Choosing outdoor fabrics for garden furniture is tricky because there are a lot of performance boxes to tick.
It must be a colourfast fabric first and foremost, designed for outdoor use. Solution-dyed fabrics in general are better for outdoor weather conditions, as are fabrics with anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
With more of us placing an emphasis on enjoying our outdoor spaces, it makes sense that fabric experts have been hard at work to adapt materials to keep pace with our changing lifestyles.
Our FibreGuard Outdoor range of furnishing fabrics have been designed using the latest, cutting-edge technologies to create a solution-dyed polyolefin yarn specifically developed for outside use.
A quick look at polyolefin fabric: this a is stain-resistant fabric and can be used for indoor or outdoor upholstery or window treatments in addition to other uses. It's a synthetic fibre made from polyethylene, which means it doesn't absorb water easily and can be washed by machine. In addition to its versatility, polyolefin comes in many different fabrics, including linen-like nubby textures and smooth woven surfaces. Polyolefin fabric is easy to clean with soap and water: however, you should always follow the manufacturer's care instructions on any specific product before cleaning it. - Choosing the best fabric for outdoor furniture
This 'solution-dyed' process is crucial in this context because it enables colour to be securely locked into the fabric. The result? A colour fast and highly durable surface. And because these fabrics are specially engineered for outdoor use, they will repel water and dirt as well as prove resistant to mould, mildew, and bad odours.
What does this mean for you? That you can get on with enjoying the great outdoors without having to worry about any nasties lurking in your furniture! Read more about innovations in outdoor furnishing fabrics.
Common patio furniture problems: bedbugs and mould
Cleaning patio furniture cushions is a great way to keep your outdoor space clean and tidy. Patio furniture cushions can be cleaned with regular household soap and water, but it’s important to make sure that you thoroughly rinse the soap out of the fabric.
When cleaning any type of outdoor fabric, always set aside enough time for drying before using it again. In some cases, this may involve letting it sit overnight before using again—so make sure not to forget about those cushions!
It’s a smart tip to source outdoor furnishing fabrics equipped with anti-microbial and anti-bacterial attributes, as they combat the growth of mould and mildew as well as the spread of bacteria and germs. Luckily for you, FibreGuard Outdoor fabrics have these properties!
Additionally, our fabrics will resist bad odours, commonly found in environments that are more humid.
Stain resistant cushions and curtains ideal for outdoors
Of the outdoor fabrics available today, FibreGuard Outdoor fabrics are far and away the most suitable option for your outdoor furniture cushions.
They’re durable and easy to maintain, as well as fade-proof, stain-resistant and water-resistant. This means you don’t have to worry about them fading or getting dirty when you use them outdoors.
The best part about choosing FibreGuard fabric over other types of material is its range of colours; there are distributors all over the world, so you'll find something that matches your style preferences. You can even get custom order samples if needed before deciding which one works best for your needs.
FibreGuard fabric is also ideal for outdoor curtains because it is fade proof and has many colour options and weights available. The sun won’t cause your fabrics to lose their colour over time, meaning they will always look great and last much longer than normal fabrics would in similar conditions.
We hope you’ve found our guide to maintaining outdoor furniture and furnishing fabrics helpful! Any questions? Head over to our FAQ!