How to Clean Outdoor Furniture

An outdoor living area is nice to have for your home. Outdoor space provides another option to entertain, cook, and relax, especially during the summer.

According to a survey, 51% of Americans use outdoor spaces for cooking, entertaining, and relaxation.  Whatever you use your patio or outdoor area for, there’s likely some patio or outdoor furniture.

But many factors affect your patio or outdoor furniture – such as rain, snow, dust buildup, and debris, not to mention pets, kids, and everyday use, and can affect its look and how long it lasts. Regular cleaning can help keep your patio furniture looking good. And regular upkeep can help keep your outdoor space a nice place to relax and bond with loved ones. Looking for some ideas on how to keep this furniture clean? Read below for tips on maintaining clean outdoor furniture.

General Guide to Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture pieces are often made from different materials that may require other cleaning procedures. But a good place to start when cleaning is to remove any decorative throw pillows, upholstery, or furniture cushions. The next step is to vacuum them with a hand-held vacuum to remove dust buildup that may have built up over time. As a note, if your cushion covers are removable, you may be able to throw them into the washing machine for a good cleaning. Next, remove debris and loose dirt with a soft-bristled scrub brush or lightly spray the furniture using a garden hose.

To clean, use warm, soapy water and a soft cloth or scrub down using a soft-bristle brush, paying attention to areas with dirt, mildew, grime, or mold. You can use dishwashing detergent to make your cleaning solution. Rinse the surfaces using a garden hose or a cloth dipped in clean water. Allow the furniture to dry completely before using it again or storing it. Be careful not to use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers, as they can scratch and chip the furniture’s finish.

How to Clean Outdoor Metal Furniture

One option for outdoor furniture is metal. Metal offers durability, strength, and all-weather capabilities and can last longer than most other types of furniture if taken care of properly. Although most metal furniture is usually finished with varnish, paint, or powder coatings, they are still at risk of rusting, particularly around the joints.

To remove rust, use steel wool, sandpaper, or a wire brush. Then, cover up the bare metal by painting the spots you scratched. Ensure the new paint matches the original paint color of the furniture.

How to Clean Plastic and Resin Outdoor Furniture

Plastic furniture offers convenience as it is lightweight, weather-resistant, and takes on different shapes and styles, providing variety to your space. They also don’t need sealants and paints that other materials may need, making them easier to maintain and an inexpensive investment in outdoor furniture.

To remove stubborn stains from plastic, dampen a clean microfiber cloth with dishwashing detergent, white vinegar, or baking soda and water solution, and wipe down the surfaces. For tougher stains, make a paste with water and baking soda, then apply the paste to the furniture.  Allow it to sit for 15 minutes and then rinse with a gentle hose. Avoid abrasive cleaners and bleach when cleaning plastic; they can dull, scratch, or eat into the surfaces. To restore your furniture’s shine, polish it with a paste wax, allow it to dry for a few minutes, and wipe off any residue with a clean rag.

How to Clean Wood or Wicker Outdoor Furniture

Wood and wicker furniture are popular for patio furniture, as they offer your outdoor space a natural aesthetic and feel. However, unlike plastic and metal, the durability of this furniture comes at the expense of more maintenance. With exposure to extreme weather conditions and without regular protective sealants, wood furniture can easily splinter, develop mildew, and may discolor.

The care of wooden outdoor furniture will depend on the type of wood. While hardwoods such as teak and oak are scratch-resistant and can withstand aggressive cleaning, one should exercise caution when cleaning softwoods such as cedar and pine. Use a toothbrush or perform gentle sanding using sandpaper to loosen up built-up dirt in the crevices and remove hidden stains. When scrubbing, ensure you do it in the same direction as the wood grain.

Regular outdoor furniture cleaning can go a long way toward prolonging its lifespan. With these suggestions, some water and other readily available cleaning materials, you can keep your furniture looking and feeling new and fresh.