We all know that the most fulfilling life is one that’s full of kindness, care and love, right? So, shouldn’t this extend to caring for the things around us as well as the people? We’ve read time and time again that meditation is good for the soul, and that cleaning is a form on meditative mindfulness, and that also includes taking care of our stuff. So how can we do this?
Ever heard the expression a stitch in time saves nine? In essence, it means that if you cherish and take care of your possessions and the objects in your home they will last for longer. Things like a regular boiler service and cleaning the windows might sound dull but they are also the key to longevity, peace of mind and a calm mind. And in the same vein comes caring for your furniture.
So when we came across this blog Hardscaping 101: How to Care for Wood Outdoor Furniture – Gardenista we knew right away that this was one we wanted to read, and share with you! Says author Janet Hall: Soon it will be time to drag the outdoor furniture from hibernation or, if you live in sunnier climes, add it to your spring cleaning list to get ready for dining al fresco. Don’t know where to start? Here’s our cheat sheet on how to clean and care for outdoor wood furniture.
• The key to longevity of outdoor wood furniture is to start with good quality pieces made with wood that is appropriate for outdoor use. Teak, cedar, white oak, and even the less expensive acacia woods are naturally rot resistant and durable enough to withstand all kinds of weather conditions
• Light cleaning of wood outdoor furniture is best done with a cloth moistened with water or a mild soapy solution. For deeper cleaning at the start and finish of each season or in the instance of tougher stains or mould, you can scrub with a soft brush and a mix water and dishwasher detergent or oxygen bleach. Scrub in the direction of the wood grain. Remove challenging stains by lightly sanding (again, with the direction of the grain) and rinsing the surface
• The maintenance needs of outdoor wood furniture primarily depends on the look you’re after. Left untreated most woods develop a silver weathered patina, and because of their natural rot resistance, require little upkeep
• If you want to keep the wood looking like new, it can be treated with a sealant to preserve the colour and provide added protection. Generally, sealants need to be reapplied every few years depending on weather conditions and wear and tear. To do so you will need to wash, sand and reapply the sealant
Care and cleaning tips
• Always start with a light cleaning, sweeping surfaces as needed with a soft brush or cloth. Then assess if further care and cleaning is needed
• When it comes to cleaning products for outdoor furniture, non-detergent liquid soap (think dish soap) is your friend. It will clean but not harm your furniture and its environs. For tougher stains and mildew, use water and white vinegar
• Read the manual. Unless you inherit or purchase vintage pieces, outdoor furniture should come with instructions about care and cleaning
• Sunscreen and bird droppings should be cleaned off your furniture as soon as possible. They can be particularly damaging and cause permanent stain and corrosion
• Consider covering your furniture when not in use for long periods of time (and during long bouts of inclement weather). Even if it can stand up to the elements, cleaning will extend its life and make maintenance easier after the outdoor season begins again. And, use breathable covers to avoid creating a mould incubator
• If the winter is especially harsh, try storing your furniture indoors if possible.
Futon Company: When you first buy a new piece of furniture it’s exciting, but once the novelty wears off many of us find the upkeep side of things a little dull, which is a shame because a small amount of effort can really prolong the lifecycle, especially of outdoor furniture. The way we approach this is to think of it as a sun ritual. So, once we know that the sun is coming, we unpack our summer kit – clothes, outdoor furniture, picnic gear and spend a few hours cleaning, sorting and generally re-introducing it into our world – so that once the sun arrives, we’re all set and ready to go. It’s time to welcome the sunshine!