We love to relax on comfy outdoor furniture after a long day at work. However, comfort comes with an added responsibility. You need to take care of your furnishings to maintain them in perfect condition and extend their useful life.
When neglected, your garden furniture can collect dirt, grime, and even grow algae. Algae create slimy green film and can cause unsightly stains on your tables and chairs.
What is Algae and How Does it Grow
Algae is a large group of aquatic organisms that reproduces rapidly in the presence of oxygen, nutrients, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. They don’t have roots, leaves, or stems, and they, therefore, tend to attach on surfaces. Algae’s spores are naturally present in the air, and the wind can quickly deposit them on your garden furniture. Green algae can grow anywhere provided that there is a partial shade and enough moisture.
Effects of Algae on Surfaces
When algae attach to the furniture, it can quickly overtake the entire area. It makes the surface very slippery, which can be very hazardous for your family members or guests. Someone can easily slide and get hurt when they sit on chairs covered with algae. It also ruins the appearance of your furniture. When neglected, algae growth on wooden surfaces can lead to decay. On wrought iron furniture, it can cause rust which weakens your chairs and tables.
How to Get Rid of Algae on Your Furniture
There are various cleaning solutions that you can use to get rid of algae on your furniture. You will also need a brush, water, container, gloves, garden hose, and sponge. Begin by preparing your furniture for cleaning.
Remove all cushions from the seats, take off the covers and wash them in a machine. Add a cup of vinegar to the water and wash the fabric as indicated by the manufacturer. Next, use a soft brush to remove loose algae debris. You can use a stiff-bristled brush in plastic seats or tables. Use any of the methods to clean the furniture.
Warm Soapy Water
The cheapest way to get rid of algae on your garden furniture is by using water and a mild detergent. Put a few drops of dish soap into a bucket of warm water. Swirl your fingers around till the water lathers.
Dip a brush into the water, then scrub algae-covered spots on your furniture. It will help remove most algae, especially in the early infestation stage. Next, attach a garden hose and rinse the furnishings thoroughly. You can use a hose nozzle to increases water pressure. Wipe off excess water with a dry cloth and leave the furniture to dry in the sun.
Alternatively, you can clean algae stains using a vinegar solution. Mix an equal amount of white vinegar and warm water in a bucket. Dip a brush into the solution and scrub the furniture vigorously. Use a sponge to clean stained areas to avoid leaving marks for wood chairs and tables.
Remember to rinse the brush off excess algae as you continue scrubbing. Once you are done, rinse the furniture with enough water and check out for spots that could need more work. Redo such areas until you eliminate all algae traces, then rinse thoroughly.
Another chemical-free solution that you can consider is a mixture of baking soda, water and vinegar. Add two parts of white vinegar to one part of water and three heaped spoons of baking soda. Dip a scrubbing brush into the mixture and apply it to the algae stains on your furniture. Leave it for about ten minutes.
Apply more of the solution and scrub the furniture. Once you eliminate all stains, connect a hose and rinse algae and the cleaning solution. Leave your furniture outside to dry in the sun. You can support the chairs and tables with bricks to prevent the legs from soaking in water for an extended period, which can cause more damage.
One of the most common bleaching agents at home is hydrogen peroxide. It creates foam on a surface that lifts the algae loose so you can easily clean it off. Mix a ¾ cup of the bleach with a spoonful of laundry detergent and a bucket of warm water. Move your furniture away from your garden plants since the solution can harm them. You can clean the chairs and tables on the driveway or the patio.
Put on your gloves, dip a brush or a sponge into the solution, and spread it in the algae-stained areas. You can let the solution sit in the furniture for around five minutes before scrubbing it off. Rinse your tables and chairs thoroughly using your hose and leave them to dry in the sun.
If you don’t wish to use any of the solutions, you can clean algae stains off your furniture using a pressure washer. However, be extra careful to avoid damaging fragile wood. Also, ensure that you dry your furniture thoroughly after washing to prevent water damage. Plastic furniture can withstand such a rough algae removing method. However, you still need to maintain a safe distance while cleaning to avoid damaging your furniture.
Algae Cleaning Products
You can also get a wide array of products specifically designed to clean algae on surfaces from your local store. To use such cleaning solutions, follow the manufacturer’s instructions availed. Always try out with a meagre quantity of such cleaning agents on an inconspicuous area of the furniture to ensure that it won’t damage the item. It’s also a good idea that you use environmentally approved products.
After Cleaning Treatment
Once you are done cleaning your garden furniture, spray disinfectant on the surfaces, let it sit for around 24 hours, and rinse it off. Treat hardwood furniture with oil to seal the wood grain and offer moisture protection. However, teak furniture won’t require such a treatment since it’s naturally oily.
Alternatively, you can apply wood wax or any other polish on the furniture after cleaning. If you live in moisture-prone areas, you can invest in good algae-resistant paint. It prevents algae growth and reduces future maintenance.
How to Prevent Future Algae Growth
You need to understand the conditions that attract algae so that you can protect your outdoor furniture. Leaves and other litters may block sunlight from reaching your furniture. They, therefore, create a perfect breeding ground for algae. Sweep your garden often to eliminate such debris.
Additionally, if you have big trees that deeply shade your furniture, you will need to clean your chairs and tables often to keep algae at bay. Those who live in highly moist areas are also at a higher risk. Still, if water often pools in your garden, the damp conditions can attract algae growth.
During winter, sweep off snow from your furniture often to minimize algae growth. It’s also a good idea that you wrap your furnishings with a polythene bag then place them in your garage or within a shade when not in use.
How to Clean Moulds off Your Outdoor Furniture
Another common problem with outdoor furniture is mould or algae. Moulds appear as a fuzzy substance in either white, black, brown, or grey colours. If you live with family members with compromised immunity, mould spores can trigger allergic reactions, asthma attack, migraines and breathing problems.
Mould grows where there is moisture, for instance, if you have damp cushions or wooden furniture. Although some metal surfaces could be resistant, moulds enjoy feeding on paint. As a result, they can damage your wood or metal furniture integrity. Some mould growth signs include a musty, dirty smell, discolouration, and powdery or fluffy substances on furniture. Here are various ways you can clean moulds off your garden furniture.
Use Baking Soda Solution
You can clean mild mould cases off your outdoor furniture using a solution of warm water, soap and baking soda. Mix the ingredients well until they dissolve. Dip a sponge into the mixture and scrub the furniture lightly in a circular motion until you remove all the moulds. Rinse the furniture and let them dry. This method works well for wood furniture since bleach can discolour stained wood.
Clean With a Bleach
Chlorine bleach is the most common product that people use to eliminate moulds on patio furniture. Mix a ¾ cup of chlorine to a gallon of water. Note that this is a very toxic substance that can irritate your skin, so you need to put on protective gloves. Again, it can strip pigment from coloured fabrics, so be cautious. Take precautions to ensure that the bleach doesn’t land on your plants.
Dip a brush or cloth into the solution and wipe away the mould stains. Repeat the process till the cushion or the furniture gets adequately saturated. Let it sit for around five minutes, then rinse your furniture thoroughly with a hose. Let your chairs or tables dry in the sun.
If you want to avoid using harsh chemicals on your furniture, you can clean moulds using lemon salt. Mix lemon juice with salt, dip a sponge or brush and then clean the moulds stains. You can use this cleaning method for your plastic, teak and wicker furniture.
How to Remove Moss from Your Garden Furniture
In moist conditions, moss can also grow on your patio furniture. Moss has some shallow roots, which helps it attach to surfaces. You can clean the moss from various furniture types in the following ways.
Soap Water and Detergent
You can easily clean off moss using warm water and any mild detergent. Dip a soft-bristled brush into the soapy water and scrub the moss infested areas. Rinse with a hose and dry the furniture in the sun. This method works well for most furniture material, including wrought iron, plastics, wicker and teak.
Garden Furniture Cleaner
Mix your preferred garden cleaner with water as per the manufacturer’s instructions to clean more stubborn moss stains. Spray the solution on the stained spots and leave them out for some time.
If moss grows on your fabric seat cushions, first wipe down any visible debris with a brush. You can clean the cushions with a ½ cup of borax, two tablespoons of dishwashing detergent and a bucket of water. Allow these ingredients to dissolve for about thirty minutes before use. Clean the cushions, rinse thoroughly and dry them in the sun.
The UK’s dump climate can attract the growth of algae, moulds and moss on your outdoor furniture. Prevention is the best form of defence against these unsightly organisms. To protect your furniture, you can consider trimming older trees in your garden to allow sunlight entry, eliminating moisture.
Regular maintenance and cleaning will prevent build-up and growth on furniture.
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