OUTDOOR FURNITURE: IT REQUIRES A LITTLE TENDER, LOVING CARE, TOO By BERNARD GLADSTONE
FOR EVERY homeowner with a backyard, porch or patio, this is the start of the ''outdoor season,'' those pleasant afternoons and evenings when lawn and patio furniture again come into regular use. Although this furniture is supposedly designed for constant exposure to the weather, it does tend to show its age after a year or two and will wear out rather rapidly if it is not given a reasonable amount of care each year.
One of the most important maintenance steps is simply cleaning the furniture regularly by using a mild detergent and a soft scrub brush to remove embedded grime. This not only brightens the fabrics and all the finishes, but also helps to prolong the life of the furniture. Dirt encourages both wood and fabrics to rot, as well as corroding and pitting metals.
Much of today's outdoor furniture is made of aluminum, which does not rust or corrode in the way that iron and steel do. But aluminum does oxidize and pit severely if unprotected, and eventually this will shorten its life, especially if it is subjected to salt spray at an oceanfront site.
One of the best ways to prevent this - and to maintain the original bright finish on the metal - is to clean the furniture regularly and then keep the metal coated with a good grade of automobile wax. These waxes will shed dirt and water, making it much easier to keep the surfaces clean.
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