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Patio Furniture Will Last With Proper Upkeep

New designs and materials make porch, patio and garden furniture tougher than ever. Good quality outdoor furniture often is expensive, and tender loving care will protect the investment for years. Follow these tips to help keep your casual furniture looking great:

--When you take your aluminum furniture out of winter storage for summer use, inspect it for damage. Tighten loose screws and replace rusty ones with the corrosion-resistant kind. Replace worn cords or webbing, using materials from kits.

--Spray stiff joints of folding furniture with silicone lubricant.

--Remove white blotches on aluminum with a coat of aluminum rust dissolver. Hose it off after a few minutes.

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--Restore a satiny look with a commercial aluminum brightener or fine steel wool dipped in kerosene. For a protective finish, apply clear lacquer or automobile paste wax.

--Wash color-coated aluminum with a mild detergent. Cover scratches with matching touch-up paint. Protect with automobile wax.

Wrought-iron furnishings require some special care:

--Remove rust with a wire brush and sand with coarse steel wool.

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--Repair broken or loose joints with epoxy cement.

--Apply a rust protector that leaves a polymer coating.

--Retouch with acrylic or oil-based paint. If you’re repainting an entire piece, use a paint that is specifically designed for metals. Don’t use latex.

--Protect with a top coat of automobile paste wax.

Outdoor furniture made of molded synthetics or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) shouldn’t show wear for several years. Some tips for keeping them in shape:

--To freshen, wash with a mild detergent, or better yet, a creamy car polish.

--If your chairs have cushions, store the cushions when they’re not in use to avoid fading and stains.

Reprinted with permission from Better Homes and Gardens’ Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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