It's that time of year - leaves are blowing all over your backyard, overnight there's frost all over everything (if you're really unlucky - snow!), and the nights for sitting outside by the fire have almost completely passed.
Hate to say it, but its probably time to put your patio furniture away for the season. While you can certainly barbecue all year round, the same cannot be said for sitting outside on your patio furniture - unless you really love winter.
That being said, you've probably made a pretty big investment with your patio furniture. And you've probably spent all summer falling in love with it. You don't want to just throw it in your basement and hope it comes out next spring looking as great as it did the day it came out of the box. You have to take care of it!
We've compiled the best tips for cleaning your patio furniture, courtesy of Sunbrella and South Store Manager Debra, and put them all into one nice, neat five-step process for you.
Cleaning Your Patio Furniture
Step One: Vacuum your cushions. This will help get all the little dust, dirt, and other outdoor fun off your cushions so you're not scrubbing them into the fabric in step two.
Step Two: Clean your patio furniture cushions with some mild dish soap. The key here it to let the soap solution sit on the cushions for a couple of minutes, so it can really work on getting the dirt out. Make sure you use a soft bristled brush, and don't apply too much pressure - you don't want to risk stretching or damaging the fabric.
Step Three: Rinse off your cleaning solution. Don't worry about whether you're using hot or cold water - it's already cold outside anyway. Your garden hose should do just fine. You want to make sure you get all of the soap out. Make sure you're spraying your hose diagonal to your cushions, you don't want to be spraying the hose straight downward.
Step Four: Let your cushions dry. The best way to dry most patio furniture cushions is to stand them on their side (as seen above) and let the water almost fall out of them. This might be a little tricky if the weather isn't on your side, but be patient! You don't want to store damp cushions, they become a breeding ground for bacteria and that weird dampness smell - gross.
And that's it!
Wait... we said five steps, didn't we? Okay...
Step Five: Cry a little because this means that summer is truly over until next year.
You can keep your patio furniture frames outside if you don't have a lot of storage space. Just make sure you keep them covered. The cushions should stay inside for the winter if possible, or in a tightly sealed deck box if you've got one.
Now go, retreat to your indoor furniture and stare longingly at your empty patio - spring will be here before you know it!