Spring Cleaning: Caring For Your Outdoor Furniture

The weather is warming up, the sun is out – and it’s at this time of year that we begin thinking about dining outside, having friends over for a BBQ and lazy afternoons by the pool.

Preparing your outdoor furniture for these Spring & Summer days is particularly important if your furniture has been sitting outside completely exposed to the elements all winter - and is gathering more than just dust!

While our outdoor furniture is made to brave the weather, it’s important that you always give our pieces a little TLC to ensure the longest life possible out of them. Below we take you through how to clean your outdoor setting, and keep them looking their best.

 

 

TOP TIPS:  

  • Regularly clear away any debris that may have collected on your furniture. A clean dustpan brush is excellent for this task – brush down furniture to remove loose leaves, dust, twigs and other nasties. 
  • Most Cosh Living furniture benefits from a good hose-down. Be sure to use a hose with a soft spray attachment, which will clear away surface dirt. Don’t go running for the pressure hose – these can be too strong some materials and damage powdercoats and wear down outdoor fabrics. If you are unsure whether your setting can be hosed down, please contact one of our showrooms to discuss.

 

SYNTHETIC, WOVEN & WICKER FURNITURE

Woven furniture can create some hard to reach spots, which can collect dirt and grime! A clean dustpan brush will be your best friend here. Give the weave a good brush down, getting in all the nooks and crannies. Then use a hose to spray gently over the piece, allowing the water to trickle through all the ribbons of weave. Regular hosing of woven and wicker and outdoor furniture will mean you can avoid a once a year scrub-a-thon trying to get your it looking spick and span.

 

Mbrace Lounge Chair in the 'Baltic' Weave.

 

TEAK FURNITURE

Teak is a natural product, and requires attention to keep it happy. At Cosh, we use A-grade teak, from the core of the teak trees. This means it is very rich in oils.

Having a high oil content keeps out bugs and moisture, while helping to prevent cracking + splitting (which can be seen in lower-grade teak). Left in the elements with no protection – teak furniture will turn silver. The products you use to take care of it depends if you’d like to maintain the golden colour, or prefer your pieces to go silver.

 

Letting Teak Silver

Your teak will start to turn silver, timing depending on its exposure to the elements.To keep the teak looking it’s very best, best practice is to clean teak at least twice a year.

We recommend applying a ‘Teak Cleaner’ and then a ‘Teak Protector’ to add an extra layer of defence. When spills and marks occur, simply clean with a soft bristle brush and diluted pH neutral liquid + water solution.

  

Forrest Outdoor Sofa and Lounge Chair 

 

Keeping it Golden 

When it first arrives, let it settle for approx 4-6 weeks, letting the teak get used to its new home. Let it sit until you like the golden-brown colour, then it is ready to be cleaned and sealed.

We recommend a deep clean with ‘Super Cleaner’, and then natural ‘Teak Sealer’. Super Cleaner helps to bring oils back to the surface, and the Sealer will keep the colour and protect it from the elements.

  • Always first spray the teak with water, so it is evenly wet.  (Don’t clean in the full sunshine as water is required to transport the cleaning agents).
  • Apply Super Cleaner, and let the product sit for a while - do not rub off straight away.
  • Rinse off the cleaner.
  • Apply the Teak Sealer which is also a colour preserver (2 coats and then 1 coat each year).
  • Use a thin coating only, use sparingly. The Sealer is a UV blocker, so it will not grey, but will still lighten a little over time.
  • Do not use indoors, and allow 2 weeks outside if you need to bring it indoors, as there is a slight odour from the products.
  • Use water for regular cleaning once sealer has been applied, making sure to wipe the whole board evenly.

Repeating this process annually. It may be needed more often if your pieces are frequently exposed to heavy rainfall.  After the first year, on your annual clean, your teak may benefit from a light sanding first, then the Super Cleaner and Sealer.

If you forget, and your teak does go grey (life gets in the way), it is usually only the first few mm, so do not fear, it can usually be brought back to golden brown. 

 

Addis Extension Table in Teak 

 

General

New teak can experience natural oil surfacing that appears like a “watermark” or irregular pattern of discoloration. You may also see small imperfections begin to appear in the teak, like black and white marks coming to the surface. These are part of the natural maturing process, the minerals and oils in the timber surfacing, and are a good thing!

These marks, and general spills can be removed by gently washing with a soft bristle brush and diluted pH neutral soapy water (like dishwashing liquid + water). Ensure you clean the whole panel of teak, as cleaning one area can leave the teak looking uneven in colour.

Resist the urge to use teak oil as this can promote the growth of mildew. Teak already has enough of its own natural oils, so we recommend leaving it to age gracefully outdoors. Please do not use a power washer as it could scar the timber.

  

METAL FURNITURE

Powdercoated aluminium and Stainless Steel are popular choices for outdoor furniture. When powder coated, these materials are easy to maintain and very durable. Most metal outdoor furniture will look as good as new once cleaned. Use a clean sponge and a soap solution made from dishsoap and water.

If un-coated, ensure that you only purchase outdoor furniture with commercial grade stainless steel – such as 316 EP (electro-polished). This makes the surface smoother, giving dirt deposits no chance to penetrate).

The major problem that arises with stainless steel outdoor furniture is surface rust. If you detect some rust build-up, this can be easily cleaned off with a scouring pad and stainless steel cleaner. Rinse well with clean water.

Chipped powdercoat? Contact one of our friendly staff – we might have a touch up kit available to help fix the powdercoat. Chips can leave powdercoat vulnerable to the rain and salt.

Illum Sunlounger in Wenge Powdercoated Aluminium 
 

POLYPROPYLENE FURNITURE

Polypropylene outdoor furniture comes in a wide variety of shapes, styles and colours. Not only is it extremely durable, it is very easy to maintain. All you need is a simple all-purpose cleaner and a cloth to wipe down and clean your plastic outdoor furniture in readiness for spring and summer. Choose a cleaner that is non-abrasive to avoid scuffing the surface.

Do not leave thick dirt/grime or animal droppings on the surface for too long. If the surface becomes stained it can be difficult to remove.

 

 Branch outdoor dining table with Branch chairs.

 

OUTDOOR CUSHIONS AND PROTECTIVE COVERS

Outdoor cushions look fantastic and have the ability to bring an outdoor space alive. They bring the comfort and functionality of your indoor living area, outdoors in the open air.

However, if they have been left to gather dust and grime over winter – no one will want to sit on them.

Fabrics used for outdoor furniture are resilient to the UV, water and mildew -and made from synthetic fibres, so won’t grow mould on their own. Old food, drink and bird droppings combined with poor ventilation though, could be a culprit. Don’t let them sit on your beautiful furniture.

 Elio Lounge chair 

 

There are multiple ways to clean outdoor cushions to ensure they are ready to use and brighten any outdoor space. Some cushion covers can be removed and washed on a gentle machine cycle. Check with your consultant if unsure.

The safest way to spot clean outdoor fabrics is to use a mix of dish soap and warm water.
If unsure – consult the furniture manufacturer and use their advice, or do a small test underneath the cushion to make sure you don’t damage the fabric.

Always air dry the fabrics after a clean, and put the covers back onto the inserts when the fabric is slightly damp (if the covers are completely dry it can be very difficult).

We highly recommend bringing outdoor cushions indoors or undercover during winter or heavy rain to ensure the longest life possible. If you don’t have enough indoor storage space, protective covers will be the best winter accessory for your outdoor setting. Simply remove the covers when you are ready to entertain outdoors, and your setting will be ready to go – no cleaning necessary!

 

Nomad Ottoman 

 

Berry or Beer marks?  Sunbrella recommend mixture of Vinegar and dishwashing liquid Greasy, Oily marks? Sunbrella recommend Apply cornstarch as an absorbent, remove excess with a straight edge, clean up residual with dishwashing liquid and water.

Have you got a specific stain to get out? See our Sunbrella stain chart here for some tips, and a general care and maintenance document here.

 Questions? Get in touch with our team in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.  

 

 

 

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