How to Clean Outdoor Furniture

Cleaning outdoor furniture is something that all owners need to do at least once a year. It doesn’t matter if you have wicker, wrought iron, or plastic pieces; keeping them clean will prolong their life and keep your indoor living comfortable.

Outdoor furniture appreciates a little sunshine and some gentle brushing, which are some of the easiest and fastest ways to get the job done. This article gives you the easy steps to help ensure you’re using the right products and having your outdoor furniture ready for summer, no matter the material. Let’s get started.

Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

Vinegar and warm water work well for cleaning outdoor furniture, but vinegar tends to leave an oily residue, eventually leading to mold and mildew. For wood furniture, wipe with a damp rag or paper towels dipped in mildew-resistant liquid detergent.

Never use bleach on wood or any surface where it might be absorbent, as it will burn. However, vinegar does have a slight disinfecting effect, so you may want to use a small amount before applying a large coat.

Wipe with white vinegar.

Using a spray bottle filled with white vinegar, gently scrub the area surrounding the legs of your iron chairs or tables. Do this daily, paying particular attention to areas where water leaks onto the furniture.

You’ll probably also want to add a protective sealant or coat of protective paint to stop future water damage. If stains remain after scrubbing, apply a layer of white vinegar and let sit overnight to help protect and hydrate the metal.

Hose down.

To remove the most stubborn dirt, hose down the furniture with a long, wide hose. Try to reach high areas where rain and snow have had time to travel. It is best to go outside when the sun is shining, but you can extend this method indoors if possible.

Keep the hose at least one foot away from the piece so that you don’t run the risk of it getting splashed or marking dirt onto other pieces when you pull it back out.

Brush with a brush.

This is another good way to clean outdoor furniture by yourself. Mix a solution of baking soda and water to create a paste. Apply this paste to the entire surface of the piece using a wide, stiff-bristled brush.


Take a sponge and dip it in a bucket filled with hot water to clean furniture by yourself. Gently scrub the furniture by making sure the crevices are covered with the solution.

Pressure washer soap.

A pressure washer soap works best if you are trying to clean an older piece. This type of soap will not work as quickly as a scrub brush.

Apply the pressure washer soap using a long, stiff bristle brush. Use enough pressure to loosen and remove the dirt and debris from the crevices.

Cleaning plastic.

For pieces made from plastic, follow the same steps above, but be sure to use a gallon instead of a half-gallon of water when cleaning plastic. Mix a solution of one cup of bleach with one quart of water. Dampen a sponge with the bleach and scrub the furniture using this solution.


After applying the bleach and soapy water solution, and while the furniture is still damp. Carefully spray it with a garden hose until the entire piece is completely dry.

Make sure you allow it to dry thoroughly and then apply the protective coating. Use either an automatic clothesline or hang the wet items upside down to dry off completely.

Caring for your outdoor furniture.

If you have natural rubberwood outdoor furniture, it’s best to use rubber cleaner. This type of cleaner will keep the wood from rotting and will prevent any stains from getting dirty.

Be careful, though, not to over-apply the cleaner. If the cleaner gets into the crevices of the rubber, it could ruin the piece permanently.


Cleaning your furniture is easy, and it doesn’t take much time or energy. Just make sure you follow the cleaning instructions on the labels closely, and never let bleach or soap solutions stand in any water.

Using a garden hose is the best way to clean your plastic outdoor furniture; it’s safe and easy, and you’ll be amazed at how clean your furniture will become. So, the next time you spot a spill or stain on your outdoor furniture, don’t fret.

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