Care of Vinyl Strap
Virgin vinyl is a very durable product and with regular and proper maintenance can last many, many years. Absolute Patio Furniture recommends regular cleanings of warm soap and water. Dawn is a great cleaner and also removes suntan oils as well. For tougher stains we recommend Simple Green. It is biodegradable and not harsh on the skin.
Caring for Metal Furniture
Aluminum, iron, steel, and other metals can be wrought (heated and hammered into shape), cast from molds (often in solid pieces), or formed into hollow tubing. Because most of these, except aluminum, are subject to rust, metal furniture is usually finished with layers of clear varnish, paint, or a durable powder coating.
Use a mild soap solution, and scrub, rinse, and dry as described. To remove rust stains or mold, sand the area lightly using fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe it clean, and apply touch-up paint if needed (available through the manufacturer) in several thin layers. Let dry between coats. Humidity may affect the paint, so it’s best to work on a dry day.
After cleaning, apply a coat of quality liquid or paste auto wax with a lint-free cloth if recommended by the furniture’s manufacturer. Use a silicone spray to lubricate swivels and glides on chairs, as well as ribs and poles on umbrellas. Inspect for rust or chips regularly, especially in hidden areas where the surface may be unfinished (even stainless steel can corrode in salty environments).
Caring for Fabric
Material for outdoor use, often called performance fabric, is designed to resist sun damage, stains, moisture, and mildew. Solution-dyed fabric, woven with pigment-infused fibers, is less prone to fading and can handle more-aggressive cleansers than printed or piece-dyed cloth. To determine which you have, check both sides of the fabric. If they are identical, it’s probably solution-dyed. Otherwise, it’s printed or piece-dyed.
Removable covers sometimes can be machine-washed in cold water, using mild, bleach-free laundry soap, and then air-dried. To hand-wash, submerge the fabric in a solution of 1/4 cup gentle liquid soap, such as Ivory, and 1 gallon lukewarm water (do not exceed 100 degrees), swishing gently. Rinse, and air-dry. To clean mold from solution-dyed fabrics, mix 1 gallon warm water with 2 tablespoons oxygen bleach if the care guide lists it as an approved cleaning agent. Wet the affected area, and scrub with a soft-bristle brush. Rinse, and air-dry.
Regularly brush off dirt and debris, and rinse as needed. Wipe spills and stains immediately with a wet cloth and a mild soap solution, because certain liquids, such as sunscreen, may cause discoloration. Some fabrics have a water-repellent finish (check care guide) that loses effectiveness over time. To restore repellency, clean and dry the material, and then apply a fabric protector, such as 303 High Tech Fabric Guard (not suitable for vinyl or plastics). Let dry between coats. Repeat once a year or whenever water stops beading on the surface.
Caring for Wicker Furniture
This pliable weave used to make furniture is traditionally constructed from rattan, split reed, or coated paper and is sometimes reinforced with metal. Coats of clear varnish, paint, or a combination of the two are often applied to protect the surface. Sunlight is the primary enemy of wicker. Always cover wicker furniture if you intend to leave it outside for more than two or three weeks.
To remove dirt and debris, vacuum with a dust-brush attachment or use a dry paintbrush. Clean with a mild soap solution. Scrub, and rinse. Avoid using too much water, which can weaken the fibers. Dry as described.
Regular cleaning is recommended for wicker, as it generally cannot endure harsh or abrasive treatments. This also minimizes mildew buildup. Sand lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any peeling paint, and touch up with paint as necessary.