How to Clean Your Outdoor Furniture

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August is a great time for cleaning outdoor furniture. Your outdoor chairs, tables, and other items can attract a lot of pollen, dirt, grime, and even mold and mildew in a hot and humid summer. Take some time to clean things up a bit and take stock of the overall condition of your patio furniture. And remember that different furniture materials require different cleaning methods.

Keep reading to learn about the right ways to clean wood, metal, wicker (rattan), glass, and plastic or resin outdoor furniture. Before beginning, it’s a good idea to gather some basic supplies, including:

  • White vinegar
  • Ammonia
  • Mild dish detergent such as Dawn
  • A tub or bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Plastic bristle scrub brush
  • An old toothbrush
  • Garden hose with spray nozzle
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective eyewear

Be prepared to use some elbow grease, especially if you haven’t cleaned or hosed off your outdoor furniture over the summer. When working with vinegar, ammonia, or bleach, wear rubber gloves and protective eyewear (sunglasses are fine) to protect your eyes from splashing liquid.
Move the furniture to be cleaned to an area where spraying the hose will not get anything wet that shouldn’t be, such as an open area of the patio or your driveway. Avoid cleaning furniture on your lawn.

How to Clean Wood and Wicker Patio Furniture

Wood furniture such as hardwood or wicker can be easily cleaned and spruced up. First, prepare a DIY cleaning solution by adding ¼ cup ammonia and 2 tablespoons white vinegar to 1 quart of water in a tub or bucket.

  • Hose off any loose dirt, grit, leaf material, etc. using a low-pressure setting on your hose nozzle. Save the jet setting for plastic or resin furniture.
  • Use a cloth or plastic scrub brush to remove stains. Work with the grain or weave.
  • Rinse with the hose and allow to dry thoroughly.


How to Clean Teak Patio Furniture

Teak patio furniture starts out golden and eventually weathers to a gray color unless you apply a new coat of sealer on an annual basis (after cleaning). Whatever the color of your teak, you still need to clean it on a regular basis.

  • Wet it down with a garden hose.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of mild dish soap with 1 gallon of water in a bucket or tub.
  • Apply the cleaning solution to the furniture with a soft bristle nylon brush, scrubbing with the grain.

Once the teak is clean, hose off the cleaning solution and allow it to dry.

How to Clean Metal and Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture

Follow these steps to begin cleaning your metal outdoor furniture:

  • Hose down the furniture to remove any loose dirt and grime.
  • Apply a quarter-sized dollop of dish soap to a sponge (no abrasive side to the sponge).
  • Use a circular motion to clean the furniture. Frequently rinse the sponge or cloth and add more detergent as needed.

For hard to get to areas, use an old toothbrush to remove grime. Thoroughly rinse with the hose. If you notice areas that have become chipped, rusted, or stained from the elements, allow the furniture to dry. Then sand smooth and repaint the furniture with rust-resistant paint such as Rustoleum.

How to Clean Glass Patio Tables

You will want to frequently clean glass top tables to keep them looking their best.

  • Select a low setting on your hose nozzle to loosen pollen and grime. Wipe away with a soft cloth.
  • Do this on the tabletop as well as the side underneath.
  • Finish with a glass cleaner and a clean cloth.

Clean the trim based on what material it is. If it’s metal and has started to rust, sand it down and repaint, being careful to cover the glass.

How to Clean Resin and Plastic Patio Furniture

You don’t necessarily need to toss resin furniture if it becomes stained. With the right cleaner and some elbow grease, you can have it looking as good as new. And to keep it looking its best, store it over the winter in your garage rather than leaving it outside.

  • Hose down the furniture using the jet setting to remove any loose grime including pollen, dirt, and green, mossy-looking grime.
  • Then, use a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar to 1-2 gallons of water. You may find it helpful to reduce this “recipe” so that you can put it into a spray bottle (1/4 cup vinegar to 1 quart of water.).
  • Using a soft bristle brush, start scrubbing away. Rinse frequently and reapply the vinegar and water mixture as needed.

After the final rinse, allow the furniture to dry completely. As a final touch, if you have it, apply a coat of automotive paste was to protect it and add shine.

Now Spruce It Up

Now that you’ve cleaned your outdoor furniture, you may want to spruce it up with new cushions and pillows. This is also a great way to transition from the dog days of summer and bright or beachy colors to the warm earth tones of fall.
And if while cleaning, you found any cracks or other damage to your furniture, you may want to look into replacing it sooner rather than later. August through October is a great time to get good deals on new patio furniture.

Dream It. Build It. Live It.

If you’ve noticed over the summer that your outdoor living space leaves something to be desired, August through October is a great time to schedule an upgrade. We install patios, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, fire pits, inground pools, and more for homeowners throughout the Capital Region. This includes much of Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia.

Just fill out the form to schedule a consultation, or give us a call at 301.720.1000 to get started on turning your backyard into your own personal paradise!

Get Inspired!

Check out our free luxury Outdoor Oasis Dream Guide with some amazing ideas for building your luxury experience.
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