How to Clean Outdoor Accessories - dummies

By Gill Chilton

While more obvious outdoor accessories require your attention, it is important not to neglect cleaning the smaller items, like stone ornaments, pots and table umbrellas.

Take care of terracotta pots and stone ornaments

Cleaning pots helps halt the spread of plant diseases and leaves insects with no place left to hide. So at the end of autumn, swish a solution of household cleaner and hot water into all the empty containers that have held summer plants. Be sure to brush out the rims, where insects may hide.

Take care not to have the water too hot with terracotta containers, as some may be prone to cracking. In spring, just before using, always soak clay pots in water, then let them dry out before filling with earth and plants.

To improve the cosmetic appearance of dirty stone pots and ornaments, spray on a solution of washing soda and leave it to soak overnight. Use a stiff brush to remove stubborn deposits. Stonework that has just dulled with dirt can be scrubbed with an abrasive cleaner. Be sure to thoroughly rinse.

Conversely, if you like that aged effect for garden ornaments, you may want to accelerate the process with a mildly acidic cleaner. Simply add a few drops of lemon to water and wash down evenly.

Open up table umbrellas and parasols

Use upholstery shampoo to carefully clean stained fabric table umbrellas. These umbrellas are easiest to clean whilst they’re open. Shorten the pole to its lowest setting and work from above. Apply the spray shampoo sparingly. Rinse off, using a warm, damp sponge. For staining inside the umbrella, work from underneath.