We have a Bed and Breakfast and holiday cottage in sunny southwest France and run painting holidays so we have quite a lot of outdoor furniture that stays outside for most of the year. Keeping it all nice and clean can be arduous as garden furniture soon becomes dirty and suffers from grey mold that won’t just wipe off. This article shows you how to clean it up easily and cheaply. Renovate your garden furniture so that it looks new.
We enjoy sitting out in the garden all year round
Limousin has a lovely climate; warm and sunny in the summer, cold, but bright and sunny in the winter with crystal clear blue winter skies. Even in January with freezing night temperatures, by mid-day, it can be hot enough to sunbathe in your bikini. Needless to say, we like to be outside, soaking up that winter vitamin D even if we have to wear a sweater. This means that our furniture is outside all the year round and needs a major overhaul at least once a year. I struggled to find out the best way of cleaning it, trying all sorts of products until I hit on this simple and cheap method. So simple and cheap that this is going to be one of my shortest articles ever!
When we finished our new gîte, we needed a whole new set of garden furniture. We were offered a set of handy folding chairs and a nice-sized table, the trouble was they were grey with mold. I wasn’t too discouraged, though, as I had already found a good way of cleaning it up. The picture shows the ‘before’ chair and a chair after the first treatment with bleach.
The equipment and the products are simple. A bowl or bucket, a sponge, a cleaning cloth, a pair of rubber gloves, dustpan and brush, scrubbing brush, an old toothbrush, and anything else that you have lying around to scrub and clean large surfaces and tiny nooks and crannies.
If you have a garden hose (I couldn’t be bothered to get mine out), that would be helpful to get into all those gaps in the back of the furniture.
You also need neat household bleach and a cleaning product for plastic garden furniture which you can buy online or at the supermarket. I used Starwax but bought it in France so I’m not sure how available it would be.
Brush clean and wipe with neat bleach
Brush off or wipe off all loose dirt, bird droppings, etc, then, using rubber gloves and sponge wipe over all the surfaces of your furniture with neat bleach and leave it to work while you continue with the next chair. By the time you have done 3 or 4 chairs and a table, the bleach will have worked. Go back to the first item and see if you need to add more bleach. Continue like this until all your furniture is clean and the grey spots have gone.
Use the garden furniture cleaning product
The furniture we have is a combination of smooth plastic and textured plastic. The smooth plastic will probably be as clean as you can make it. You can try to remove any marks left with a cream cleanser, but I couldn’t improve on the bleach. The textured plastic, though, does respond best to the proprietory cleaners for plastic garden furniture. So the next step is to rinse the furniture down with clean water. Leave to dry then apply the fluid, (mine had a squirter), and with a clean cloth rub it into the plastic until clean.
You need plenty of elbow grease!
After applying cleaners and plenty of elbow grease I managed to get my furniture to gleam. Stretch out those muscles to avoid aching arms in the morning, take your furniture into the garden in a sunny spot and pour yourself a well-deserved glass of cold, sparkling white wine or juice and enjoy!
I did just that!
What could be nicer than breakfasting in a sunny courtyard or sipping an aperitif while watching the sunset in the evening? We have tables and chairs all around our farmhouse so that we can find sun early in the morning, shade at mid-day, sunshine or shade in the evenings, and shelter from the wind in winter. That is a lot of furniture to keep clean but it’s worth it.