There are so many great benefits to owning outdoor furniture. It gives you the chance to enjoy the outdoors – whether it’s by yourself, with your family, or with friends. It’s also a great way to decorate your yard, porch, or patio. But all of these benefits only come if you maintain your furniture properly.
To keep your outdoor furniture clean all year long, do a monthly cleanup of accumulated dirt and regular deep cleaning at the end of the season. Use protective covers to shield furniture from sun and rain. Consider storing furniture and/or cushions when not in use, or in the off-seasons.
Furniture needs care and maintenance. Outdoor furniture remains exposed to harsh elements, so it needs a little more attention. If you love to enjoy your outdoor spaces, this article will help you keep your outdoor furniture clean for a long time.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Outdoor Furniture?
Factors like how much time you spend outdoors, how many people use the furniture, and if you have kids or pets all determine how often you need to clean your furniture. The climate you live in is also a critical aspect.
For example, if you live in an area with strong winds or heavy rains, you may have to clean your furniture more often.
The same goes for sun exposure because oceanfront homes or tropical areas put furniture at risk of fading or cracking. Also, take a look at the material of your furniture. For example, your rattan or teak furniture will need to be cleaned more often than your cast aluminum or plastic furniture.
In general, you should clean your outdoor furniture once every two or three weeks and then do a deep cleaning at the end of the season. If you believe your furniture needs a little extra attention, you can adjust the frequency.
Things You Need for Outdoor Furniture Cleaning
As you probably are aware, outdoor furniture is generally more exposed to the elements. This means it usually is dirtier than indoor furniture, and the fouling and stains can be difficult to remove without the proper tools and supplies. Here is a list of what you need for outdoor furniture cleaning:
1- A bucket: For mixing the soap and water. DSV standard has a multifunctional 3.2-gallon bucket (on Amazon) that can easily accommodate all the mops and brushes you use.
2- A pressure washer or hose: A pressure washer works wonders on metal, stone, and resin furniture, so it’s great if you have it. For other types of furniture, a garden hose with a spray nozzle (on Amazon) (preferably) will do the trick.
3- Water: You need water for this job, obviously. Warm water is best, but cold water will work just fine.
4- Spray bottle: You’ll need a spray bottle to apply cleaning solution on stubborn stains or spots. We recommend the Airbee plastic spray bottles (on Amazon), which are durable and affordable. Plus, they come in different sizes.
5- Protective Gloves: Gloves are essential because the harsh solutions and dirt accumulated on the furniture can irritate your skin. Consider buying heavy-duty rubber gloves (on Amazon) for better protection against soda and acidic solutions.
6- Soft bristle scrub brush: You might need different-sized brushes to clean all the nooks and crannies. A flagged tip bristle brush (on Amazon) will clean all the curves in the furniture, and a round firm grip brush (on Amazon) can help you scrub out tough stains. Make sure your brushes are soft but also stiff enough to remove dirt.
7- Sponge or rag: Sponges are great for wiping down after washing. Big-size car wash sponges (on Amazon) are perfect – just make sure they are clean when you use them.
8- Cleaning Solution: Different types of furniture need different cleaning solutions.
Then, depending on the material of your furniture, you may need different cleaning solutions.
- Wood or wicker furniture: A mild oil-based soap like MURPHY Oil Soap Wood Cleaner (on Amazon) should be perfect. It’s gentle enough to use regularly, and it will keep your wooden furniture looking fantastic.
- Metal: You can use white vinegar (on Amazon), water, and baking soda solution to clean metal furniture.
- Plastic: A good dish soap (on Amazon) and water can clean it.
- Resin: Baking soda (on Amazon) can safely clean the dirt and stubborn spots from resin furniture. After washing, use WD-40 (on Amazon) to protect color and restore shine.
- Cushions: Dishwashing detergents (on Amazon) are great for removing soda, coffee, or tea stains from fabric. Make sure you check the instructions on your fabric items before applying cleaning products.
How to Clean Outdoor Furniture
Now that we’ve covered the supplies and tools you need for cleaning outdoor furniture, let’s look at the actual process.
Wood or Wicker Furniture
Start with dry sweeping and dusting with the help of a soft bristle brush or broom. For wooden furniture, spray the oil, soap, and water solution directly on the surfaces, wait a few minutes, and scrub in circles with a soft bristle brush.
Next, wipe the furniture with a clean sponge or rag and dry it. On wicker furniture, keep water usage to a minimum. Instead, use a damp sponge or cloth to clean the surfaces and don’t let it stay wet for long.
After the furniture has dried, apply a high-quality oil-based wood sealant (on Amazon) for long-lasting protection and sheen.
Wrought iron, aluminum, or steel furniture can be cleaned with a vinegar-water solution:
- Use a garden hose to clean off the dirt and dust.
- Spray the vinegar solution on stubborn stains.
- Scrub the surfaces using a soft bristle brush.
- Dry with a clean towel or sponge.
Since a pressure washer is safe for metal furniture, you might want to use it to speed up the process.
If you have chipped paint or rust on your metal furniture, rub off the surface with sandpaper and then repaint to seal it.
Like metal furniture, wash off the dirt with water, then lather the furniture with soap and water with a sponge and wipe off with a clean rag. Try to avoid scrubbing because it can leave scratches on the plastic.
Sprinkle baking soda on the furniture and lightly spray water on it. Use a soft sponge to loosen the stains, and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth and warm water.
Any abrasive cleaners will affect the color, so be careful before using them on resin furniture. After cleaning, put a coat of WD-40 to restore shine and glossy finish.
What is The Easiest Outdoor Furniture To Keep Clean?
Plastic and resin furniture are far easier to maintain than any other type of outdoor furniture. They don’t require much more than a spritz of dishwashing detergent and water and some elbow grease to keep them looking new.
Also, you don’t have to worry about long drying times or mold and mildew if the furniture gets wet. Plus, a coat of plastic restorer or WD-40 can help protect and prevent fading or rusting.
Metal furniture isn’t difficult to clean either, but you need to be careful about rust and chipping paint.
To make your plastic and resin furniture even more durable, avoid placing them directly under the sun or cover them with sheets when the sun is out in full force.
How to Clean Patio Cushions and Pillows
Outdoor furniture cannot be complete without colorful cushions and pillows. They add a splash of color to any outdoor space and are comfortable. However, exposure to direct sunlight, dust, tree, grass, and pet hair can make them dirty really fast.
Weekly vacuuming is usually sufficient to remove most surface dirt. But if the cushions and pillows have stubborn stains, here is how to approach it.
First, if you have a removable cover, take them off and wash them in a washing machine on cold with a mild detergent. Always test a small section first to ensure your cushion doesn’t bleed or fade. Next, air-dry the covers, and they are ready to put back on.
For cushions without removable covers, “borax” can be really helpful. It’s a natural, non-toxic cleaning agent which you can find online or in the cleaning section of any store. Simple white vinegar can also work as a cleaning agent for deodorizing and killing mold and bacteria.
Method 1 For Surface Stains and Dirt:
- Mix one Tbs of detergent with 1/4 cup borax in a bucket full of lukewarm water.
- Use a laundry brush to apply the mixture to the stains, lightly scrub the cushions, and then let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Put the cushions on a hard surface and wash the mixture off with the garden hose.
- Squeeze out excess water and plop the cushions vertically in the sun to dry.
Method 2 For Mold:
- Mix ¼ cup of vinegar in 4 cups of water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture on your cushions, apply generously on moldy spots, and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Scrub the cushions lightly with a brush to loosen the dirt or mold. Keep reapplying the mixture for tough stains.
- Next, wash the cushions, squeeze off excess water, and let them dry in the sun.
- Vinegar mix can clean most mold stains, grass pigments, and coffee or soda spills.
Take advantage of Scotchgard (on Amazon) or other waterproofing sprays. These sprays protect the fabric from the sun and help keep your pillows, cushions, and other outdoor fabrics cleaner and fresher for longer.