Once your wood furniture is clean and dry, give it a good polish to protect it. You can use your favorite polish or wax, or try this homemade formula – Use the same concoction mentioned above, equal parts lemon juice and vegetable oil, and polish the entire piece with it.
This is a great solution if you happen to be out of polish, but it is also wonderful for people with pets or small children because it’s 100 percent safe to ingest and it’s good for the environment as well!
No matter what polish you use, buff the piece with a clean cloth afterwards to remove excess polish and enhance the shine.
Most people know that polishing their wood furniture will extend the life of the piece and keep it looking beautiful, but a more thorough cleaning should be given once or twice a year to keep the build-up of dirt and furniture polish from changing the color of the wood or filling in any detail work. Use 1/2 cup of mild soap or an oil soap, such as Murphy’s, dissolved in a gallon of water. Use a cloth dampened with the soap mixture to scrub the wood gently, following the grain. Use a toothbrush or a cotton swab to gently scrub small areas or carvings.
TLC for Scratches and Water Spots
Once you’ve scrubbed the entire piece, use a clean cloth with clear water to rinse away the soap. Use a dry, soft towel to buff the furniture dry. This is a perfect time to check for scratches and water rings before you finish your cleaning.
To fix scratches, use this easy technique: mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with an equal part vegetable oil. Use a clean cloth to rub this mixture into the scratch, moving with the direction of the scratch. For extra-deep or noticeable scratches, try rubbing a crayon that matches the wood along the scratch and then scraping away the excess with your fingernail. Or try this old wives’ tale – rub the scratch with a shelled walnut!
To remove water rings easily, rub with a cloth dipped in mayonnaise. Sounds silly, but it really works!
Plastic patio furniture
Plastic patio furniture is the easiest to deal with. With all patio furniture, you’ll want to give it a thorough spring cleaning before you set it out for the season, but after that, just monitor it for soiling and clean it as it becomes dirty. It shouldn’t require regular cleaning sessions.
To clean your white plastic furniture, use your dishwasher soap! It has bleach in it, so it will keep your white furniture sparkling. Dilute three tablespoons in a gallon of warm water, and rub down the furniture with a nylon dish scrubber. Make sure to take precautions against the bleach in your clothing, and also your grass and plants. Bleach can kill them!
To clean colored plastic furniture, use an all-purpose cleaner or liquid dish soap without bleach, and use the same method as above. Make sure to rinse all colored furniture well with your hose before letting it dry, as the soap residue can fade the colors. With any plastic furniture, make sure to turn it upside down after rinsing and let it dry that way. Even clean water can pool on the seat and, when dry, leave a film that can rub off on your clothes.