Why is cleaning your outdoor furniture important? Well, besides the fact that you want it to look good, it extends the life of your investment. Dirt, and that lovely thing called mold that we have here in the northwest, will decay your furniture. If you want it to last more than one season, schedule a couple times this summer to clean.
Larry Pfarr is an outdoor furniture expert who has great ideas on how to clean your outdoor furniture. For instance, he recommends removing the glass on your tabletop (holding it over grass in case your drop it) and using dish soap and water with a soft brush to scrub it on both sides. In addition, “If the paint on aluminum furniture is in poor condition, rub it gently with a piece of steel wool (.000 gauge) or a fine sandpaper to smooth it out. Next, take some standard car-wash polish to buff the furniture back to its original luster.” Check out the link for even more great ideas.
Over at the Do-It-Yourself Network, there are more great ideas. A recipe listed there works well for cushions:
Basic Recipe for Outdoor Cushions
1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent
1 quart warm water
1 tablespoon borax
1. Saturate a sponge and use it to wash the cushions. You can put it in a spray bottle and saturate cushions on both sides, paying particular attention to the crevices and creases. Let the cushion sit for 15 minutes.
2. Spray the solution off with a hose using a strong force of water.
3. Stand each cushions on its edge out of the direct sun to dry.
4. When almost dry, spray with a fabric protector.
5. To remove dust between cleanings, vacuum as needed. Or, if the cushions are small enough, just shake them out.
But in addition, there are also good ideas for canvas, white plastic and colored plastic on that page so be sure and check it out.