How to Clean Cast Iron Furniture

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Cast iron furniture is expensive in comparison to aluminum or plastic models, as cast iron furniture lasts much longer. It also is extremely heavy. Most cast iron furniture pieces are used on patios since they cannot blow over in heavy windstorms. Proper cleaning will help these pieces retain their durability and prevent rust, which can easily spread once is has taken hold. Cleaning cast iron furniture takes very little time and does not require expensive materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild detergent
  • 2 plastic cleaning buckets
  • Sponge
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Colored chalk
  • Heavy grit sandpaper
  • Wire brush
  • Feather duster
  • Rust-proof touch-up paint
  • Detail paintbrush
  • Car wax
  • Wax applicator
  • Soft buffing cloth

Routine Cleaning

  • Mix a solution containing 1/4 cup of mild detergent with 1 gallon of lukewarm water in a plastic cleaning bucket. Swish the solution with your hands to mix it thoroughly. Dampen a cleaning sponge in the cleaning solution and shake out the excess water.

  • Wipe down the piece beginning at the top and working toward the bottom. Use an up and down motion to get in crevices and intricate detailing. Wet the sponge as needed to keep it moist but not dripping.

  • Rinse the piece with a second bucket of cool, clear water. Work from the top of the furniture piece to the bottom. Use a clean sponge that is very wet to make sure all the cleaning solution is wiped away from the piece.

  • Dry your cast iron furniture with a soft, lint-free cloth or towel. Turn the towel over once it begins to get a little wet so you are constantly drying with a dry section. Dry the underside of the piece of furniture as well as any standing water on the ground around your item.

Maintenance and Care

  • Inspect your cast iron furniture for signs of rust, especially if it is being used outdoors. Mark any areas you find with a piece of colored chalk.

  • Use a heavy grit sandpaper to sand away the rust stains you had marked with chalk. Use a wire brush to reach rust in tight areas. Brush away residue from sanding and scraping with a feather duster.

  • Use touch-up paint to cover the sanded areas. Apply the paint with a detail paintbrush starting at the center of the bare area and feathering the paint out to the edges. Allow this paint to dry for four to six hours and apply a second coat.

  • Wax the furniture after all the rust spots have been covered with paint. Place a thick glob of car wax onto a soft applicator pad. Grasp the pad at the back by making a cupping shape with your hand.

  • Apply the wax to the furniture by moving the pad in a circular motion. Add more wax to the pad as needed. Continue until the entire piece is covered with wax, and then allow it to dry to a dull haze.

  • Buff the wax with a soft cloth to remove the haze. Turn the cloth as you buff so that you are constantly using a clean section. Rub until the haze has completely disappeared.

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