Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

Your outdoor furniture needs regular cleaning. However, abrasive cleaners can damage your furniture's surfaces, so follow these guidelines to keep your furniture looking like new.

Outdoor furniture needs regular cleaning and protection due to the accumulation of dirt, grime and mold. By following these general cleaning tips, your furniture will look newer and last longer.

General Cleaning Tips

Most outdoor furniture will benefit from a weekly scrubbing of liquid dishwashing soap and warm water. If allowed to sit, acid from bird droppings and pollution can eat away at the surfaces of your furniture. Pollen can also collect on your furniture and form a sticky layer.

If mold or mildew is a problem on your furniture, you can wash it down with a solution made of tea tree oil and water. Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide and will prevent the growth of mildew. Avoid cleaners with bleach since they can leave your furniture discolored in spots. For tougher stains use a solution of borax or washing soda in warm water rather than an abrasive cleaner that could scratch your furniture.

Water and sunlight will also damage your outdoor furniture, so put a protective layer on your furniture after you have cleaned it. Some finishes and waxes have UV protection, but read labels to see which has the best protection.

Canvas Cushion Tips

Today's canvas cushions are often made to be removable and machine-washable. For those that are not, take a bristle brush and soapy water to scrub the textured surface. If you have canvas webbing that is fraying, there are repair kits available at your local hardware store. The directions will tell you how to reweave and tack on the new webbing.

Resin Furniture Tips

Outdoor resin furniture can often outlast wood furniture if cared for properly. While resin is durable, it is best not to use abrasive cleaners that can scratch its surface. A mild detergent will remove most stains.



Resin can fade from sunlight, so protect it with an annual coat of wax that has UV protection. Apply a layer as if you were waxing a car, and then buff it off for a shiny coat.

Wood Furniture Tips

Wood furniture can be washed down with liquid dish washing soap, but it can also benefit from special wood cleaners. These cleaners will remove dirt and mold, as well as, bring back the natural color of the wood. After cleaning, wood furniture also needs protection from the sun and water with a layer of teak oil or varnish.

Metal Furniture Tips

Most outdoor metal furniture has a painted protective layer. Wash this layer with a non-abrasive, non-acidic cleaner. Bird poop should be washed off as soon as possible to avoid discoloration of the paint. While this paint layer should last for several years, you will need to repaint when you see areas of rust.

Wicker Furniture Tips

Soap and water are the best treatment for wicker furniture; however, allow the furniture to completely dry before using. When wicker is wet, the fibers are weak and can easily break. If a strain does break, you can glue it back together.

With regular cleaning and maintenance you will enjoy your outdoor furniture for several seasons to come.

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