You’ve taken the plunge and invested in patio furniture in Naples, FL. The space looks beautiful, and you’re thrilled with your purchases. And while you live in a temperate climate as a Florida resident, you’re aware that you still experience rain and at times, blistering hot sun. You also know what happened to the last pieces you bought. They got rained on, and they sat in the sun for hours. You meant to cover them up, you meant to wipe them down, you meant to do all the things you’re supposed to do to keep your furnishings in top shape, but you got a bit lax. And besides, now they were rusty and warped and faded, so really—who cares? You do, of course, every time you have to look at them.
But you’ve been given another chance to do it right. This time, you’re not going to cut corners. In fact, these are the last exterior furnishings you ever plan to buy. Here are some tips for keeping your new purchases in tip-top shape.
Regular Cleaning is Key
The good news is regular cleaning doesn’t have to be arduous, nor does it have to take up all your time or cost money. The key is to be consistent. That means washing your pieces even if you don’t think they’re dirty. Settling on a specific day every few weeks or so helps cleaning become a habit. For materials like aluminum or vinyl, good old hot soapy water does the trick. Use a sponge to access those tough to reach areas and then rinse everything with water and— if you’re lucky enough to live in Florida—let the sun dry it off.
Soap should never be used on wood pieces as it can lift the finish. A better option is to wipe it down with plain water, clean with a sponge and then rinse before letting it air dry. Glass tabletops require more TLC to keep them looking fresh. It only takes a few fingerprint smudges or kitty cat paw prints to make a glass table look shabby, so it’s worth taking the time to clean it with a glass cleaner. Vinegar also does the trick if you’re looking for a more natural alternative. Keeping a spray bottle nearby for regular touch-ups might also come in handy.
Stand Up To Rust
There’s nothing quite as upsetting as watching the once tiny rust hole you ignored last season grow into a crater-sized pit that has you cancelling all dinner parties until further notice. The only way to prevent rust from taking hold is to keep it from developing in the first place. Applying a paste wax as soon as you purchase your pieces is an excellent proactive measure. Most hardware stores carry them. It’s also a good idea to reapply paste whenever you wash your table. If, for some reason, you do notice a rust spot, simply rub it off with a wire brush. Ignoring rust spots now only means they’ll grow bigger over time and start to spread.
Get Tough On Mildew
Is there anything worse than the smell of mildew? Even the word is unpleasant! In order to efficiently remove mildew from your furnishings, you’ll require a cleaning solution. A bleach-water mixture works well. You can use this type of mixture on the folds of umbrellas as well as on pillows, recliner cushions and vinyl tablecloths to name a few. Rinse well with water to remove any bleach residue and then—as always—let it dry in the hot Florida sun! Before you know it, that mildew odor will be but a memory.
Always Make Repairs Promptly
It’s so easy to ignore a loose screw or a small chip of paint. But today’s loose screw is tomorrow’s broken chair. The moment you notice something has gone awry with your furnishings, no matter how small, work quickly to fix it. You’ll be grateful in the long run.
Covering your tables and chairs when they aren’t in use is another excellent way to prolong life. Covers can be custom made and ordered online. Custom coverings have the added benefit of fitting your pieces perfectly to provide maximum coverage and protection from the elements. And of course, even covers can be beautiful. If you’d like to see what’s out there, go online and check out the different options. In a pinch, a regular camping tarp can work as a protective cover. Choose one that is water-proof though, and make sure it’s breathable; otherwise it can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
Breathing Life Into Your Deck
While a deck isn’t exterior furnishing per se, it’s often the stage on which everything is set, so it pays to keep it in top shape. A shabby deck looks, well, shabby! Even though we don’t have snow here in the sunny South, constant sun and frequent rain storms can wreak havoc on a once-fresh looking deck. Using a pressure washer once a season is a fantastic way to keep your deck looking its best. Pressure washers can be rented, but it may not be a bad idea to invest in one in a climate like ours. A note about pressure washers: they require a bit of skill to use and can create divots in the wood if one remains in one place for too long. Be sure you keep the washer moving rather than try to remove a stubborn spot in one area in one go. A fresh coat of paint or a new stain can also spruce up a deck that’s gone “south.”
When it comes to maintaining our exterior furnishing’s integrity and beauty we should think of our external space as an extension of our indoor space. Whether you’re seated on game room furniture in Naples or lounging outside on your new leather couch; at the end of the day, it’s about pride in your place.