Hello, summer! The sun’s out, your new barbeque sauce is a hit, and your resin patio furniture is seeing more use than the living room or dining room furniture combined.
Luckily, resin furniture is famous for its durability—withstanding the harsh elements of sun, rain, and humidity.
But it’s also exposed to loads of backyard party spills and random droppings courtesy of our feathered friends. And the damage can become permanent if left untreated.
So to keep the party going on those summer nights (and days), here’s how to clean unexpected messes and keep your patio furniture in tip-top shape.
Clean fresh bird droppings quickly
Food can stain your pretty upholstery, but untreated bird feces can permanently damage your resin patio furniture.
Excrement contains uric acid, which can eat through building materials, the paint on your car, and patio furniture and cushions.
Need another reason to bust into cleaning mode? Dried bird droppings can contain transmissible diseases that could make you sick. That’s why it’s vital to thoroughly disinfect the surface where your body comes into contact with resin or cushions as soon as possible to kill disease agents from the waste.
Practice safety first, and suit up with gloves and a safety mask before you wage war on the icky mess.
“Then gently rinse the surface with plenty of water and wipe it off as soon as possible to avoid the risk of any permanent damage over time,” says Jesse Johnstone, president of Fibrenew.
Follow up by wiping down the soiled area with a solution of a quarter-cup dishwashing soap mixed with a gallon of water and rinse.
Note: Before cleaning resin furniture and cushions, refer to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. And always test any cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area first.
Carefully remove dried bird droppings
If it’s been a while since you’ve lounged in your patio sectional, you might notice some discolored, dried bird poop on the resin or cushions.
But according to Washington State University, you should never disturb the droppings by vacuuming or sweeping them. Instead, always use a wet cleaning method.
Fill a spray bottle with a disinfectant of one part bleach to 10 parts water. Thoroughly soak the droppings and clean the area with a sponge or rag soaked in the disinfectant solution. Then throw the sponge or rags in the trash.
Watch: How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Home
Conquer mold and mildew
Mold and mildew aren’t something you want to cozy up next to while relaxing on your deck, so wipe down the furniture with a special cleaning solution.
“Create a mixture of one cup of ammonia, half-cup of white vinegar, quarter-cup of baking soda, and one gallon of warm water,” says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. “Spray the damaged area for removal, then rinse and let your cushions air-dry.”
If that doesn’t do the trick, try mixing a quarter-cup dishwashing liquid and one cup bleach with one gallon of water.
Don’t want to mess with handling bleach? Instead, apply a cleaner made specifically to get rid of mold.
Banish dirt, dust, and pollen
Grab an all-purpose household cleaner or add a few drops of dishwashing soap to a bucket of water.
For the furniture, “ditch your scrubbers since it will scratch resin,” advises Peterson. Instead, submerge a soft brush in the solution and gently scrub until the dirt disappears.
Then gently clean the cushions with a soft cloth or brush.
“Be sure not to scrub the surface too hard as the fabric’s sheen can be affected,” warns Johnstone. Rinse and air-dry.
Erase grease from cushions
Whether it’s the butter from sweet corn or the tree sap oozing on your favorite chaise lounge cushion, you can tackle stubborn stains like these with just a little effort.
Just apply cornstarch to absorb the superficial layer, then use a credit card (or something with a firm, straight edge) to remove the excess. Follow up with a solution of a quarter-cup dishwasher soap mixed with a gallon of water.
Prolong the life of patio furniture
As resilient as resin furniture is, the elements can strip it of its sheen over time.
“Once the patio furniture is clean, it’s a good idea to add an extra level of protection with a layer of car wax,” says Peterson. “The wax repels dirt and can restore the sheen.”
Simply apply a thin layer of wax to the resin surfaces with a soft cloth, then buff it out.
Over time, the protective coating on the cushions also breaks down, so you might want to spray on a fresh layer of protective fabric spray, too.
And when it comes to patio upgrades, don’t underestimate the value of patio covers.
“Patio furniture covers are your best defense in keeping dirt and other contaminants off the surface when you’re not using the furniture,” says Johnstone.