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How garden furniture looks fresh again after the winter break

  • Living stories

    Claudia Furger

When the days get warmer, people like to take out their outdoor furniture again. The months in winter storage can, however, have left traces of dirt. Furniture made of wood, plastic, metal or rattan is cleaned differently.

If the days show their sunny side, it is high time to get your garden and balcony furniture out of the garage or basement and free it of dust and dirt. Depending on whether it is furniture made of wood, plastic, metal or rattan, you proceed differently.

1. Plastic furniture

For the first basic cleaning, remove dust and loose dirt with a hand brush. The furniture is then cleaned with warm water and all-purpose cleaner or detergent. A special cleaning agent is not required. Finally, rub the surface dry with a soft cloth so that no unsightly water stains form.

Especially with white plastic furniture, a gray veil can appear on the surface over the years. You can get rid of this with a vinegar essence. Proceed as follows:

  • Put on gloves because the vinegar mixture can sting your skin.
  • Mix the vinegar with water in a ratio of 1: 5.
  • Treat the whole piece of furniture or individual stains.
  • Then let the agent take effect for a while.
  • Clean the furniture with a detergent solution.
  • Finally, rinse the piece of furniture with clear water and dry it with a soft cloth.

The same effect can also be achieved with baking powder: rub the powder with a damp cloth, let it work for a short time and then rinse off thoroughly. The baking soda in the baking powder dissolves the dirt and brightens dark areas.

Important: You should completely avoid the use of abrasives. Although these agents ensure clean surfaces, they leave fine scratches. Over time, the small grooves fill up again and again with dirt and at some point they can no longer be cleaned.

If the color of the furniture has become dull due to the weather and direct sunlight, it can be treated with a car or plastic polish. Small scratches and damage are sealed and the plastic stays clean longer.

2. Wooden furniture

For the first basic cleaning, remove dust and loose dirt from wooden furniture with a hand broom. Then you clean everything thoroughly with soapy water. It can be easily made by dissolving a piece of natural, core or soft soap with a high oil content in lukewarm water. Due to the oil content, the lye has a moisturizing and nourishing effect.

A brush with soft bristles is recommended for scrubbing. It is important that you always work in the direction of the wood grain. Finally, rinse everything off with plenty of water - for example with the garden hose - and rub the furniture dry.

If the wood has an undesirable patina due to the weather, the furniture should be treated with an appropriate wood oil after cleaning. Which one is right depends on the type of wood. A distinction is made between hard and soft wood. The hardwood category includes, for example, ash, beech and oak. Conifers, birch and poplar, on the other hand, are softwoods. If you have teak garden furniture, you need a maintenance oil that is especially suitable for tropical woods.

The procedure for oiling is as follows:

  • Clean the furniture as described above.
  • Apply a graying agent and leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  • Always work the wood with a soft brush in the direction of the grain.
  • Wash the furniture with clear water to remove any residue and let the furniture dry.
  • The wood surface should then be sanded so that the oil can be optimally absorbed. 80 or 120 grit is optimal.
  • Always work in the direction of the grain with light pressure.
  • Thoroughly remove the resulting sanding dust with a damp cloth.
  • Oil the furniture with the wood oil with a brush or a soft cloth.
  • Remove excess oil at the end with a dry cloth.
  • If necessary, apply a second layer after the exposure time. This is particularly recommended if the furniture is very gray or has been damaged.

This is how garden furniture stays beautiful for a long time

Regular cleaning of the furniture is essential and should be done at least once a year.

Furniture made of wood is particularly sensitive and should be cleaned and oiled before and after the gardening season.

Aggressive cleaning agents and scratchy brushes damage the furniture surface and should not be used on wood, metal or plastic.

To protect the furniture against the weather, you should cover it with a waterproof tarpaulin in bad weather.

In winter, the furniture is best stored in a sheltered and dry place such as in the cellar, shed or garage.

3. Metal furniture

Furniture and metal - whether aluminum or cast iron, powder-coated or hot-dip galvanized - can be easily cleaned with a sponge and clear water. Soapy water or washing-up liquid, which you apply with a sponge or a soft brush, can help with stubborn dirt. The same applies here: never use solvents or abrasives.

It is important to check the coating with this type of furniture. If this is damaged, rust can form. That is why you should close the damaged area as quickly as possible with a repair varnish.

4. Rattan furniture

If you have woven outdoor furniture, you have to distinguish whether it is natural rattan woven from palm trunks or artificial imitation, the so-called poly rattan.

The natural rattan is more sensitive. It is best to clean the furniture with a cloth and lukewarm water. The dirt from the corners is removed with a soft brush.

Furniture made of polyrattan is cleaned with soapy water or washing-up liquid that is applied with a cloth or a soft brush. Alternatively, there are also special plastic mesh cleaners available in stores.