Fall officially kicked off on Sept. 22nd.  As we welcome shorter days, brisk mornings, fall activities and autumnal colors, it’s also time to clean your home’s outdoor furniture.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

  1. Deodorize outdoor cushions. Maintain your dream home’s patio furniture by taking time to thoroughly clean it.  Start with the cushions.  Mix one teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, 1 quart of warm water and one tablespoon of Borax into a spray bottle.  Spray both sides of the cushions, focusing on creases and crevices where debris and mildew may be hiding.  After fifteen minutes, rinse cushions with a hose on strongest-spray setting.  Stand them on their sides to dry.  Once cushions are completely dry, spray them with fabric protector so that they don’t fade during the winter months.
  2. Clean canvas seats and chair backs. Fortunately, most canvas is machine-washable.  The trick is remembering to put the covers back on the furniture while they are still damp.  Doing so will help maintain the shape of the canvas.  If your canvas cannot be tossed into your washing machine, combine a tablespoon of laundry detergent with a quart of water in a spray bottle.  Spray the canvas and use a scrub brush to remove debris such as fallen food particles and bird droppings.  Afterwards, spray the canvas with a hose and stand the cushion on its side to dry.
  3. Preserve plastic or resin furniture. It’s easy to extend the life of your resin or plastic furniture by using an all-purpose cleaner, such as Fantastic, and water.  Simply spray the furniture with the cleaner and rinse thoroughly to prevent fading.  Allow the furniture to dry in the sun.  If you want to retain the sheen of your resin patio furniture, give them a good waxing.  To avoid staining the cushions you just cleaned, remove them first.  Then use a soft cloth to apply the wax and watch the sheen shine through as you buff away!
  4. Don’t ignore your patio umbrella. Many people skip this step simply because it’s difficult to see all of the droppings, debris, dirt and pollen that accumulates during Southeast Michigan summers.  Many umbrellas can be detached by slipping it off of the ends.  If it’s easy to remove the canvas from the umbrella, you can probably toss it in the washing machine with laundry detergent.  Allow it to air dry.  If you have to leave the cover on the actual umbrella, place a tarp on your lawn and lay the open umbrella on it to protect the soil.  First, use a dry scrub brush to scrape away leaves, dirt and other debris.  Next, spray the entire umbrella with a hose on full-power.  Once it is soaked, use an all-purpose cleaner or the solution provided in the first tip and spray the entire umbrella.  Give both sides a good spray and scrub.  Lastly, rinse both sides and allow the umbrella to dry in the sun.

Take these steps so your dream home’s patio goods are in perfect shape to use next spring!