Tuesday, August 07, 2012

         How to Clean Patio Furniture

     The hot summer days and harsh weather takes its toll on patio furniture. Let's take a look at safe ways to clean this furniture.
This post deals with fabric furniture. My next post will teach you some shortcuts for plastic and wood furniture. 
Cleaning Chair Cushions
1.       Remove the cushions and lay them on a clean flat surface with a piece of plastic under the cushion for protection.
2.      Grab a soft brush and give grit and dirt the brush off. 
3.      Pre-treat stains by squeezing juice from a lemon onto the stain and sprinkle with salt. Work in the cool hours of the day so the lemon juice has time to work on the stain. Allow to dry.
4.      Grab an ice cube and freeze any tree sap or other sticky residue that has taken up residence on these chairs. Gently scrap off the residue with a plastic spatula.
5.      Next mix a capfull of CleanEz in a quart of warm water.
6.      Dampen a clean cloth in the mixture and wipe down both sides paying extra attention to the stains. Wait a few minutes and gently scrub. Warning! This fabric can be damaged by aggressive scrubbing. It is better to saturate the fabric let it set a few minutes than scrub too hard.  
7.      Should any stains remain, retreat with the lemon juice.
8.      Rinse with plain water and let it dry in the sun, which also lightens stains.   

How to Care for the Patio Furniture Frames
1.      First clean powder coated, aluminum or plastic frames with a 1 to 1 solution of vinegar to water. Just like aluminum wheels, furniture frames tarnish. Vinegar does a fair job cleaning aluminum. Use a good aluminum polish to remove oxidation. Use caution when working around the fabric seats and back with aluminum polishes as the fabric discolors.
2.      To help retard the discoloration of aluminum frames and make them a snap to clean, apply two thin coats of Advantage a petroleum distillate free, polymer based car, boat, RV and truck protectant. Spray the protectant on a cloth away from the fabric to avoid staining the fabric then wipe on the frame. Protectants leave a nice shine on aluminum and powder coated frames making future cleaning a snap.
*Caution: Never use ammonia, alkaline cleaners, baking soda, TSP or other harsh cleaners to clean aluminum as these cleaners discolor it, which is difficult to remove.  

Clean the Umbrellas
1.      Remove the umbrella then open and prop it on the ground. Use a soft brush to remove debris.
2.      Freeze any tree sap and scrape to remove.
3.      Clean as you would the fabric chairs only saturate soiled areas and let them set a bit before scrubbing.
4.      Clean and polish the rods as you do frames of chairs.

This article may only be used giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at www.goclean.com. All rights reserved worldwide.
Cleaning Wood, Laminated and Cork Floors

     How to Clean Wood Floors: Use caution on wood or laminated floors when you choose both a cleaner and a mop. The wet swiffer type mops, microfiber mops and vegetable oil cleaners like Murphy’s all damage these floor surfaces. Unfortunately you do not know if a product will damage a floor until it is too late. Most wood floors, not all but most, can be sanded and refinished. Laminated floors require replacement.   

Caution: Never use self- wringing mops on these floors as the excess moisture works between the boards and warps the edges.  

     Vacuum or dust mop any hard surface floor prior to mopping them. Wood, laminated and cork floors scratch easily so fine grit must be removed. Raise the beater bar of your vacuum to prevent damage to the floor.   

      As much as my heart is torn by this, some wood floor manufacturers require you to clean their floors with their cleaner. The use of any other cleaner voids the warranty. During my years professionally cleaning homes, food grade distilled white vinegar and water safely cleaned most wood floors except for older floors.   

    Grab a terry towel, toss it over a Mary Moppin’s mop then fill a 32 ounce spray bottle half full of water. Add ¼ cup distilled white vinegar then finish filling with water. Lightly spray the towel with the vinegar and water solution or the solution required by the manufacturer, and mop the floor. This adds enough moisture to the towel to damp mop but not enough to warp the boards.   

    Dust mop older wood floors laid prior to the mid 1970’s. Occasionally they can be damp mopped as above. Use a barely damp cloth to wipe up spills or clean soiled areas. These floors must be treated with a floor paste wax like MinWax at least twice a year to maintain the finish.

     Care of Laminated Floors: Treat these floors as you would hardwood floors. They tolerate a bit more moisture but go easy as excess moisture tends to dull the finish. Laminated floors cannot be sanded and refinished so take care with the products and tools used to clean them.

     Caring for Cork and Bamboo Floors:  Light from window or doors fade cork and bamboo floors.  Keep these areas covered with light colored throw rug. Dust mop cork floors only then spot clean with a barely damp cloth. If the floor must be mopped use very little water as you do for wood floors.

     Vacuum regularly with the beater bar raised. Put felt protectors under all chairs and table legs as these floors dent easily. Never drag a chair across a cork floor. Lift then move the furniture.  

This article may only be copied giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at www.goclean.com. Copyright © 2012 Mary Findley   All Rights Reserved Worldwide