How to Clean Outdoor Furniture for Long-Lasting Use
Proper maintenance, cleaning, and storage of outdoor furniture are important parts of keeping these pieces looking their best and ensuring they last a long time.
Exposure to the elements can dirty and damage patio, deck and lawn furniture, but simple routine maintenance – including the use of outdoor furniture covers – will keep outdoor furniture in good condition for life. year and for many years to come. Ahead, with the help of experts, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about cleaning and maintaining outdoor furniture to make your outdoor entertaining space as inviting as possible.
How to Clean Outdoor Furniture
Kelly Bradley, Patio Merchant for The Home Depot, says, “While patio furniture is meant to be outdoors, protecting your set from the elements will help extend its life. Bradley offers step-by-step instructions for cleaning outdoor furniture, noting that you should always consult the manufacturer’s instructions if they have been provided.
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Using a garden hose fitted with a spray nozzle, spray the parts to loosen them and remove dust and dirt. Bradley recommends turning the nozzle to its strongest setting.
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Mix ¼ cup of liquid dish soap with water in a cleaning bucket. When cleaning outdoor furniture, do not use abrasive cleaners.
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Dampen a sponge or soft cleaning cloth in the soapy water and wipe down the furniture, scrubbing if necessary. Rinse the furniture by spraying with the garden hose.
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Stubborn areas may require the use of a soft bristle brush, but Bradley warns that “even soft bristles can damage some finishes, so be careful when using a brush on painted or wood furniture. Be gentle with weather-resistant wicker and for sets featuring cross-body fabrics, as hair may damage the surface and fray the weave.
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If there are any nicks or chips on the surface of metal outdoor furniture, use touch-up paint to prevent the risk of rust.
How to Clean Outdoor Furniture Cushions
“Patio cushions, slingbacks and umbrellas can all be cleaned by hand using a scrub brush and the same simple soap and water solution used for furniture frames. outdoors,” says Bradley. She offers the following tips for caring for outdoor furniture cushions:
- Move cushions to a cool, dry place when not in use for extended periods to prevent dirt buildup.
- Letting dirty cushions sit for a long period of time makes it difficult to remove the dirt later. Bradley recommends cleaning outdoor furniture cushions as often as needed to prolong their life.
- Bradley says cushions, cushion covers, slingbacks and outdoor umbrellas should never be machine washed unless expressly permitted by the manufacturer.
- Always consult product guidelines for cleaning instructions; if these aren’t available, Bradley says, “play it safe and wash them by hand to avoid shrinkage or damage.”
For full handwashing instructions, see our guide to washing clothes and accessories by hand, including household textiles.
How often to clean outdoor furniture
Experts we spoke to said that how often outdoor furniture should be cleaned depends on its material, but in general weatherproof resin outdoor furniture should be cleaned once or twice a year. , while powder coated aluminum furniture should be cleaned every 2. -3 months.
Sarah Smith, At Serena and Lily’s Product Education Manager, offers the following tips to extend the life and aesthetics of your outdoor furniture:
- If your home is near the ocean, rinse all outdoor furniture monthly with water to remove salt buildup in the ocean air.
- Immediately blot up any spills and wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth.
- Be sure to rinse off all soap residue with fresh water after cleaning.
“Protecting furniture with furniture covers when not in use is key to preventing rust, mold, or mildew from forming,” Smith says. “Immediately wiping off water that remains on furniture surfaces can also help prevent this.”
Outdoor Furniture Covers
Furniture covers are essential for maintaining outdoor furniture. “To extend the life of outdoor cushions,” Smith says, “always use furniture covers when not in use.”
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Bradley recommends this weatherproof rectangular vanity cover because its generous sizing provides coverage for a full dining ensemble. She notes that the simple design makes installation easy.
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Bradly recommends this durable, rain-, wind-, and snow-resistant patio cover because of its built-in handles that make moving furniture easy. It also praises its “soft beige color which adds a natural look to match your other outdoor decor.”
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“Pillows and umbrellas should be clean and completely dry before storing. Placing the fabric in a dark place while it’s still damp will invite mold and mildew,” says Bradley. “Also, never allow water to pool inside the frame – it can lead to corrosion and freeze damage in cold weather.”
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For those with limited storage space, Bradley recommends using high-quality storage bags, which offer a simple solution without taking up a lot of space.
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When it comes to choosing a furniture cover, ask at the time of purchase if the brand offers a protective cover specifically designed to fit it — particularly if it is an unusual shape. “For maximum protection from the weather elements,” Smith says, “we recommend an outdoor protective cover specifically designed for the furniture. A custom fit can really make a difference in the preservation of outdoor furniture. The brand offers an assortment of exterior protective covers designed to fit every piece in its collection of outdoor furniture.