How to Clean Outdoor Furniture of Mildew
Mildew is the visible growth of mold. It grows easily on damp surfaces and produces a musty, unpleasant smell. Outdoor furniture--exposed to rain and thunderstorms--is an easy target for mildew. Thankfully, the hard surfaces and durable fabric of outdoor furniture are usually easy to clean.
Things You Will Need
- Baking Soda
- Dish Soap
- Tea Tree Oil
- Laundry Detergent
- Trisodium Phosphate
Try these at-home mildew cleansers that range from mild to strong. Once the mildew is gone, keep your furniture clean and dry to prevent future growth.
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar. For mild or recent mildew, spray the affected area thoroughly with the vinegar and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Wipe off mildew with a cloth.
Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 cup ammonia and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1 gallon of warm water. Sponge onto mildewed wood furniture.
Mix 2 cups white vinegar and 2 tbsp. of dish soap into a gallon of hot water. Use a sponge or brush to clean mildew off plastic patio furniture and umbrellas. Use an old toothbrush for corners and crevices.
Pour 2 cups of water and 2 tsp. of tea tree oil into a spray bottle. Spray on mildewed furniture. Don't rinse.
Make a customized bleach solution. The ratio of bleach to water can vary--try 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for milder mildews, and increase it to equal amounts of bleach and water if your mildew problem is really bad. Scrub with a stiff brush.
Try this stronger bleach solution from Kansas State University. Spray wooden surfaces with a mixture of 1 quart of bleach, 3 oz. trisodium phosphate and 1 oz. non-ammonia laundry detergent dissolved in 3 quarts of water. For painted surfaces, use 1 quart of bleach, 1/3 cup non-ammonia detergent and 3 quarts water. Scrub with a stiff brush.
Never mix ammonia-based fluids with bleach. They will react and emit poisonous fumes.
- Never mix ammonia-based fluids with bleach. They will react and emit poisonous fumes.
Autumn Jones has been working as a freelance writer since 2007 with work appearing on various websites. She majored in creative writing at Vassar College and continues to pursue her passion for the written word as much as possible.