Step 14: Care and Maintenance

collection of plastic components used for outdoor furniture
Photo: Matthew Septimus
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The plastic components of outdoor furniture (shown)—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.

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

Storage__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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    Tools List

    • utility knife
      Utility knife

    • to remove damaged sling
    • 100-foot tape measure
      Flexible tape measure
    • bar clamp
      Rubber mallet
    • mallet
      Wire cutter
    • wire cable snips
      Screwdriver

    • to pop out pegs and clips

    Shopping List

    1. Replacement sling or single-wrap vinyl straps

    2. Pegs
    for vinyl strap installation

    3. Metal furniture paint
    for touch-ups or repainting