How to Clean Almost Anything: An A-to-Z Guide
Outdoor upholstery: When the weather warms up and your yard is back in use, give pillows and cushions a monthly scrubbing. (Unless the fabric is dry-clean only; check the labels.) Combine 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent, and 1 tablespoon Borax in a bucket. Dip a sponge in and scrub all sides of the cushion. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with a hose and air-dry. If you see mildew, add 2 tablespoons bleach (again, check the labels first) to 1 gallon water and scrub with a soft brush. Patio umbrellas can also get mildewy. Open them up after rainstorms so moisture isn’t trapped in the folds. For a super-thorough cleaning, remove the canopy from the frame if you can, then sweep it, hose it down, and wash with a solution of water and mild soap (Dr. Bronner’s pure Castile liquid soap, $11, drbronner.com) using a sponge. Rinse, put back on the frame, and leave open to air-dry.