Sun, rain and wind take their toll on outdoor furniture. Here are some tips to restore a like-new appearance:
* Plastic. Tables and chairs made of molded plastic or polyvinyl chloride are almost impervious to weather. To clean them, wash with detergent or use a creamy car polish.
* Aluminum. Restore the satiny finish of old aluminum furniture by polishing it with steel wool dipped in kerosene. To remove white blotches, apply a rust dissolver and let it stand for a few minutes. Brush with clear lacquer or automobile paste wax to protect the restored finish. Spray stiff and creaky joints with a silicone lubricant.
* Wicker. Although you should avoid drenching wicker, you can wash it with a soft-bristled brush dipped in soapy water (a toothbrush works well in corners and tight spaces).
* Wrought Iron. Wrought-iron furniture should be treated with a rust protector. Apply one that leaves a polymer coating; then, paint the furniture with an acrylic- or oil-based paint. Automobile paste wax provides extra protection. Fix loose or broken joints with epoxy cement.