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This Common Household Item Will Make Your Old Patio Furniture Look New

This product will help your outdoor furniture sparkle.

Patio furniture is key to warm-weather gatherings. One major downside? It gets dirty—fast. No matter how adept you are with the suds and bubbles, it seems that once a piece of outdoor furniture survives a few seasons, it's impossible to return it to its former glory. Dust, chalkiness, and fading take over, making your pieces look like they've never seen a sponge. That is, until now. Read on to discover the common household item that will make your old patio furniture look new.

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WD-40 will make patio furniture sparkle.

blue glove cleaning deck

You know WD-40 is a powerful lubricant, useful for remedying a squeaky door, loosening a stubborn zipper, or oiling bike chains. But what you might not be aware of is that it has cleaning properties, too. "WD40 is a versatile cleaning agent that can be used on a variety of surfaces, including patio furniture," says Jill Taylor, full-time homesteader and author of Happy Farmyard. "The product's main ingredient is a petroleum-based solvent, which helps to dissolve caked-on dirt and grime." In addition to dirt, if your furniture has any oil, adhesive, or petroleum-based residues on it, the spray can lift those, too.

To use WD-40 as a cleaner, Taylor recommends the following procedure. First, spray WD-40 onto a clean cloth. Doing this instead of applying it directly onto the furniture will help you avoid potential streaks and product waste. Then, wipe down the furniture with the cloth, going with the grain of the wood or metal. Finally, buff the furniture with a clean, dry cloth to remove any lingering product.

WD-40 can protect patio furniture from rust and corrosion.

deck chair

Patio furniture has to withstand the occasional sun shower or rainstorm, which means rust is another challenge. Fortunately, WD-40 can help here, too. According to Taylor, "WD-40 contains lubricating agents that help to prevent rust and corrosion." The WD-40 website further confirms this fact.

So, how does it work? It turns out that WD-40 has water-displacement properties (the WD in WD-40 stands for "water displacement") due to the fact that it has a lower surface tension than water, which pushes water droplets away. This means that it eliminates the moisture that causes rust in the first place. According to the WD-40 website, "the product's formulation also contains anti-corrosion agents and ingredients for penetration, water displacement, and soil removal."So, as you shine and buff your furniture, you'll also be adding a layer of protection.

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Take the following precautions.

man working on furniture

There are a few risks associated with using WD-40 to clean patio furniture. First, you should only use it on some parts of your furniture. "You don't want to use WD-40 on fabric or soft materials," says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of lawn-tech company Lawn Love. "Do not apply it to any patio cushions, pillows, or soft seating—or else it can cause irreversible damage." When it comes to plush furniture, this means permanent stains due to WD-40's petroleum base.

You'll also want to try it on a concealed part of the furniture first, such as the bottom or inside of a chair leg. "Always test first before using any product for 'off-label' tasks," says Allen Rathey, director of the cleaning resources organization Indoor Health Council. If your furniture doesn't take well to WD-40, try something as simple as an all-purpose cleaner or a dish soap solution, he says.

Lastly, Rathey cautions you to use WD-40 in a well-ventilated space. Since you're cleaning your patio furniture, we recommend doing this in your backyard or garage (with the door open, of course).

WD-40 has other interesting purposes too.

landscaping tools

Aside from patio furniture, WD-40 can help you clean and care for a range of outdoor supplies. The WD-40 website recommends using the product to clean and prevent rust on garden tools and to keep your lawnmower wheels turning smoothly. In the winter, you can use it to clean and protect snow shovels and plows (and any other metal supplies) from rust and corrosion. Really, the options are endless when it comes to this miracle-working household item. Just remember Rathey's golden rule to test before you go.

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Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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