Keeping Outdoor Stuff Clean

10 August 2022

Very few people actually enjoy cleaning and something that is frequently overlooked is outdoor or patio elements.

White Plastic Chairs

These are a staple of most homes. They are sometimes called resin outdoor chairs and are popular because they are inexpensive, generally made from recycled plastic and can be again recycled when you are done with them, lightweight, weather resistant, and go with almost any décor.

They can become dirty or dingy over the season but are relatively easy to clean. If you deal with spills, food, bird droppings, and the like early, it makes life simpler. Other than that a good cleaning in the spring and again in the fall before they are tucked away for storage, and you are done.

Set up a cleaning area near a hose. Place a tarp on the ground or patio. Put all your chairs there. If there is mildew, mix up a solution of 75% distilled white vinegar with 25% water in a spray bottle. Apply to any areas where there is mildew and let stand for about 10 minutes. Then proceed with cleaning.

There are a number of options for your cleaning solution:

  • Add ¼ cup dishwashing liquid to one gallon of warm water.
  • Mix ½ cup baking soda into one gallon of warm water.
  • Put ¼ cup of all purpose cleaner in one gallon of warm water.

Use any of these solutions to wash the chairs with a sponge, starting at the top and working down to the legs. Use a little baking soda for stubborn stains. Rinse with the garden hose. Wipe down with a microfiber towel and allow them to air and sun dry.

You can keep them clean longer if you apply a thin coat of automotive paste wax using a soft, dry cloth, or sponge. Buff with a dry cloth. This helps repel stains and dirt.

Outdoor Carpeting

It is nice to class up your patio or deck with a carpet designed for the outdoors. It also makes it nicer to walk on and better for kids to play. They are made from a synthetic material like polypropylene and acrylic, often recycled. They are UV, moisture, and mildew resistant.

Treat stains and spills as quickly as possible. Use a blunt tool like the edge of a plastic card to pry up solids. Rubbing a stain will only send it deeper into the pile. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for specific stains.

Once a week take a broom or battery operated sweeper and remove the dust and small debris. This will prevent odors and refresh the look. Use the lowest setting on a vacuum because the pile is very low. First move all the furniture or other items out of the way and then sweep slowly both vertically and then horizontally.

If it is time for a deeper clean like at the end of the season, vacuum both sides of the rug very well. You can also put the rug over the deck railing and beat it with a broom to dislodge any dirt and watch the clouds of dust appear. At that point you can also use a garden hose or power washer. Allow to air dry. This will take several hours and you will need to reverse the hang on the rug to be sure both sides are dry and the air has circulated well.

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