Sunlight keeps moss, mildew away

DESPITE the nasty weather we have had of late, it is June and if you are ready to sit outside then it's time to dust off the patio furniture and give it the annual clean.

Over the winter months, outdoor furniture can become mouldy and covered in dirt. I like to give all the tables and chairs a thorough scrub before replacing the cushions. This year why not choose a natural cleaning product that won't harm the environment?

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Rather than reaching for the typical chemical cleaners, there are many natural and eco-friendly alternatives on store shelves. These cleaners work at a molecular level and will remove the toughest grease, dirt and grime.

A few of my favourite brands are Ecover, Green Works and Clean Well. All three of these products are readily available and are completely safe to use around pets and children and they do not leave any toxic residue behind.

Ecover's All Purpose Lemon Cleaner, for example, is suitable for all hard, washable surfaces and is composed of plant-based ingredients. This is a great all-purpose cleaner for floors, counters and bathrooms and metal or plastic outdoor furniture. Just a capful, diluted in water, goes a long way to clean the toughest mildew.

You may wish to try good, old-fashioned soap and warm water on your resin or wrought aluminum type furniture. Most of the mildew and dirt will simply come off with a warm soapy cloth. For tougher stains try Home Depot's Eco Mist Outdoor Furniture Spray.

Rust is another problem on metal furniture. For small rust stains try using a fine grit sandpaper and then touch it up with a small amount of paint.

Remember that periodically cleaning your outdoor furniture through the summer months is the best way to keep it in good condition. If you are able to cover the furniture while you are away on vacation then it is recommended to do so. This will avoid any stains due to bird droppings as well.

Sunlight is also another great way to keep the moss and mildew away. Over time the sunlight will prevent mould and mildew from growing if you can move your shade furniture into the sun from time to time.

Barb Lunter is a freelance writer with a passion for home decor, entertaining and floral design. Contact Barb at barb@ or follow her on her blog at

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