All furniture gets dirty, but outdoor furniture can become filthy because it is always in the weather. And despite popular beliefs, the rain is not going to wash the furniture clean. Since it doesn’t rain soap, the rain usually just makes the furniture look worse. Outdoor furniture should be cleaned weekly. The best way to clean outdoor furniture depends on the material from which it is made.
Aluminum - Clean painted aluminum outdoor furniture as you would any painted metal object. Scrub it with water and a mild soap, and then rinse to remove the residue. To clean unpainted aluminum, use a metal polishing cleaner. Just place the cleaner on a soft cloth and wipe it down. Use car wax to protect painted and unpainted aluminum furniture.
Plastic - To clean plastic outdoor furniture, spray it down with a hose and then scrub it with warm water and baking soda before you rinse it. To protect the furniture, do not leave it outside all winter.
Wood - Outdoor wood furniture can be cleaned with a mild soap and warm water. Gently scrub the furniture, and rinse it with a hose. To protect the furniture, take it indoors for the winter and spray a protective wood finish or preservative on it.
Cushions - To clean outdoor furniture cushions, fill your bathtub with hot water and a mild dishwashing detergent. If you have white cushions, add ¼-cup bleach to get rid or mildew. You cannot use bleach on the colored cushions without ruining the color, so wash them more often. Dry the cushions in the sun. To protect the cushions, store them when you are not using them. If you keep them out of the rain, sun and snow, they will last much longer.
Patio Umbrellas - Wash your patio umbrella with warm water and a mild dishwashing detergent, and then rinse it. Open up the umbrella, and lay it on a flat surface. Do not wait for winter to clean the umbrella because you will want to leave it in the sun to dry. Mildew will grow on the umbrella if you leave moisture on it. If the umbrella is vinyl and is not coming clean with the detergent, try using a car cleaner for convertible tops. To protect the umbrella, store it for the winter.
Hammocks - Hammocks collect just about every kind of dirt imaginable, including bug and bird excrement, dust, mold, food crumbs and drink spills. To wash the hammock, place it on a clean tarp and spray it with the hose. Then scrub with warm water, liquid dishwashing soap and a soft brush. Rinse it, and then clean the other side they same way. Let it dry in the sun. To protect the hammock, spray it with a water repellant after it has dried.