Care and Maintenance

The plastic components of outdoor furniture (shown above) — vinyl straps, plastic pegs, and mesh slings — last about 10 years. In the meantime, the easiest way to keep outdoor furniture looking good is to give it a quick scrubdown with mild dish soap, followed by a water rinse. In addition, each material has its own particular needs.

Straps and Slings
Both are made of vinyl, which suntan oil stains, sunlight fades, and dirt and mildew stick to like magnets. A spritz with a vinyl cleaner such as FeronClean or a mild all- purpose cleaner like Fantastik or Formula 409 and a swipe with a cloth is the best way to remove grime. Never use abrasives, bleach, or ammonia, all of which strip vinyl of its UV protection. Exposure to pesticides and fertilizers does the same thing. Encourage sunbathers to cover chairs with a towel.

Touch up the paint as soon as it's nicked. Do not apply car wax, which will leave a cloudy buildup.

The best place for furniture in the winter is a dry spot indoors. If it must remain outdoors, wrap each piece in a breathable vinyl cover (available at outdoor-furniture distributors) that doesn't touch the ground. That way, moisture can escape, preventing mildew and rust.
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