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Caring For Your Casual Furniture

Aluminum Furniture

Apply a coat of liquid automotive wax or paste wax at the start of each season to frames and vinyl straps. In between waxings, wipe down the frame occasionally with water and liquid detergent mixture. Use household products like SoftScrub or toothpaste to remove stubborn stains and light scratches. For scratches, scrapes, and rust, sand the area with steel wool or 400-600 grit wet or dry sandpaper. Then apply short light sprays of touch-up paint available at most outdoor furniture specialty stores. Spray WD-40 on chair swivel or glider mechanisms twice a season.

 Iron & Steel

Wash occasionally and apply liquid car wax at least once a year (preferably twice). Use SoftScrub to remove some stains and light scratches, or buy touch-up paint from a specialty store. If you notice any rust, immediately use a wire brush or fine-grained sandpaper to gently scrape it off. Then apply two coats of Rustoleum or a similar product and seal it with touch-up paint. During the winter months, cover the furniture, or if possible, bring it indoors. Spray WD-40 on all moving parts twice a year. 


Simple, periodic wipe-downs (especially after a rain) is the best method. A coat of paste wax or acrylic floor wax applied annually will help flat or satin-finished resin maintain its look. Avoid abrasive cleaners or those with bleach. For tabletops, household products like Formula 409, Windex or Fantastic can be used. 

Wicker & Rattan

Natural, untreated wicker should be brought indoors when the weather turns cool. And like any wood, natural wicker and rattan is prone to dry out. Indoors, keep it out of any direct source of heat, and if you live in a hot, dry climate, lightly spray it with a hose periodically. Touch-up paint is available for nicks, scrapes, and hairline cracks. For deeper scratches, scrapes, or worn areas, lightly sand the area with fine-grit sandpaper, clean, dry, and then touch up with paint. After years of use, premium quality latex outdoor paint can be applied to the frame for a fresher look. All-weather wicker is designed to be left outdoors. Periodically hose it down, and using a sponge, clean it with a mild detergent and water solution.


Regardless of the type, wood when left to its own devices will weather to a silvery-gray hue. If you prefer the original look, lightly oil it with the appropriate oil or stain from an outdoor furniture specialty retailer in your area. Oiling traps dirt and darkens with age, so it will be necessary to scrub off the old oil periodically and recoat. To remove the graying from an already weathered piece of wood furniture, clean with soapy water and a poly bristle brush or pressure washer. For hairline cracks, scratches or scrapes, use medium-grade sandpaper (this will also remove the graying) or a sealing wax that will help minimize the cracks. For painted wood, use an oil-based exterior enamel topcoat. To help preserve the original paint, an overcoat of clear marine varnish can be applied. When not sheltered from sun and rain, painted woods require paint. 

Fabric Care & Maintenance Acrylics

clean with a solution of lukewarm water and mild soap and then rinse thoroughly. Heavy stains and mildew can be removed with a solution of one-gallon water, one cup of bleach, and two capfuls of dish detergent. Sponge this mixture gently, allowing it to penetrate the fabric. Rinse well. Never use bleach or harsh detergents on an acrylic print. 


Use a solution of soap or mild detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly. Never use bleach or any harsh cleanser on the printed fabric. 


Wash with a mild detergent and water. Wipe up spills with warm water immediately. If necessary, apply a laundry pre-wash and allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then wash with warm water and detergent. Rinse thoroughly. 

Vinyl-Coated Polyesters

Prints or no prints, use mild detergent and water. Many stubborn stains can be removed with household products like SoftScrub. For mildew, combine three gallons of warm water with one cup of laundry detergent and one cup of bleach. This also works well on strap furniture.