Maybe it's time to give your outdoor furniture a midsummer cleaning.
Gloster Furniture Inc., an outdoor furnishings company, recommends avoiding harsh chemicals that can harm the finish, just as you would with indoor furniture. Gloster offers these tips for cleaning and protecting furniture:
¢ Teak: Use the mildest cleaner possible, because strong cleaners can alter natural teak oils and remove the soft grain. A nontoxic teak protector with a water-based formula can protect against stains. To keep the wood from splitting because of sudden, extreme changes in temperature and humidity, store teak in winter in an area such as a garden shed or garage rather than a heated room.
¢ Woven: Use a nontoxic, water-based cleaner, and follow label instructions carefully. Don't use a foaming cleaner, which can leave dirt-attracting residue in gaps in the weave.
You can spray woven furniture with a garden hose but not a pressure washer, which could damage it.
¢ Metal: Many stainless steel, aluminum and wrought-iron frames can be cleaned with water and mild soap, if they're certified rust-resistant or rust-free. If not, use paste wax to protect the furniture from corroding or rusting.
If brown spots appear on stainless steel, use a mildly abrasive plastic cleaning pad to gently rub the surface of the steel in the direction of the brushed finish. Covering metal furniture when it's not in use or storing it indoors will protect it from sun and weather.