Friday March 24, 2017
Everything may seem clean and clear one day and totally covered in pollen the next. It can be frustrating. This is why many outdoor living experts strongly encourage residents to budget for covers when looking for outdoor furniture. Not only do covers make spring cleaning easier, they also protect furniture from the weather. Wrought iron can rust when it gets wet; bamboo or wood can warp, etc. Covers help your furniture last longer.
If you do have covers and they are now blanketed in pollen, you can simply wait until the rain rinses them off. If you want to use your outdoor room now, use this technique to clean off the covers and cut down on the mess: Grab a partner. Starting on either side of the chair or table, find the bottom of the cover (closest to the ground). Carefully fold the flaps up over the cover. Keep folding or rolling upwards, trapping the pollen in the folds. When you and your partner can lift the whole cover at once, remove it and carefully walk away from the furniture. Lay the cover a good distance off to the side. Repeat the cover removal for all the furniture. Collect all the covers in a row away from the patio area. You can use a very gentle stream from the hose to rinse off the pollen, then hang the covers out to dry, or you can shake the cover out -carefully! - and wipe down with a sponge and some mild dish soap.
It takes weeks for pollen to fall completely, so despite your best efforts, your patio furniture will need cleaning even if you cover it. Sometimes simply a hose will do. Make sure to give the pieces plenty of drying time before company comes. Also, be sure the last freeze has come and gone. You don’t want ice collecting in the crevices of the furniture or in the hose itself. Wrought iron is cleaned well with a damp sponge and a few drops of dish detergent in a 5-gallon bucket of water. Bring out an old toothbrush for the tiny areas where the wrought iron meets.
Plastic furniture is cleaned in a similar manner to the wrought iron. Wood furniture, whether painted or natural, has specific needs. Clean only with wood cleaners meant for outdoor furniture. Every few years a good sealant will help wood furniture repel pests and the damaging effects of rain. If you know the manufacturer of your wood furniture, check their website for recommendations. Always follow their directions for cleaning and care.
Don’t forget to turn the furniture upside down while you are cleaning. Pollen sticks. It will have collected in the joints underneath. The last thing you want is a big puff of pollen coming out from underneath the seat when an allergic friend plops down to relax. Also, even if the pillows seem clean, once a season you should take them to a professional cleaner or scrub them down with fabric detergent and leave them out to dry in the warm sun.
Cleaning the patio furniture of pollen is an afternoon’s job but totally worth it. Keep an eye out for those little yellow bits. Wait a few days, then start cleaning. You’ll thank yourself when your patio is set up and ready when Spring has sprung and a nice warm day beckons you outside.