Cleaning and Caring for Outdoor Furniture

Cleaning and Caring for Outdoor Furniture

Patios and decks are great places to entertain family and guests. They also make wonderful quiet spots to just sit outside to sunbathe and listen to the radio while reading a book.

Your outdoor furniture can last for years if you give it the proper care and attention. Most cushioned patio furniture is made with vinyl-coated polyesters or polyacrylics that are mildew resistant and repels water. So you can keep the cushions outside during rain or sun. Just give the furniture an occasionally cleaning when it gets dirt or stained on the surface.

When buying the outdoor furniture, take the time to read the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions. Decide by how much care is needed for the furniture, and if you have that time to invest in the upkeep, on whether you should purchase the furniture.

Refrain from bringing out your indoor furniture to use as outdoor furniture. It may seem cost-effective for you to use your old furniture, but the material has not been treated or made with weather-proof materials. Any cushion or cover that you bring outside to give yourself a cushy seat cannot withstand multiple saturations of rain. Mold and mildew is likely to form, rotting the cushion. Always take those back inside the house when you are done enjoying your patio or deck.

Cleaning Outdoor Furniture
For metal, plastic, aluminum and painted furniture, use a mild soap and water solution along chair legs and seats to scrub away dirt on the surface. Soak the solution in a soft sponge or cloth. The sponge or cloth won’t scratch up the surfaces of metal, plastic or painted surfaces. If you want to clean wicker, wood or teak furniture, substitute an oil-based soap for the mild detergent soap. Always hose down the furniture with clean water.

Although a rarity, some outdoor furniture features wood. It’s important to keep outdoor wood well stained and sealed to prevent it from swelling, cracking, and splitting. For routine maintenance, we recommend polishing wood with Rustic Touch furniture polish from It can also help shine, strengthen, and protect your vinyl outdoor furniture.

When treating the cushions, read the label instructions to give you the best information on cleaning the surfaces. Again, use mild detergent soap and water. Wash off with a hose and allow the cushions to fully dry in the sun.

If you are performing a deep cleaning, you can treat cushions with a solution of laundry detergent and chlorine bleach. Place a cup of each into a bucket filled with 3 gallons of warm water. Set out the furniture on a paved surface and thoroughly soak the cushions. Leave the solution on for half an hour so that the solution can completely penetrate the filling to destroy any mold or mildew that may have developed inside.

Do not use this treatment or apply water to cushions that have a urethane foam inside. These are not weatherproof and should not be used as outdoor furniture. If you do use cushions containing this material, place furniture tarps over the cushion to stop rain from penetrating or bring the furniture inside during rainy weather.

Caring for Outdoor Furniture
You can take certain precautions to prevent staining and soiling of outdoor cushions. Drape fabric covers on the cushions during outside meals. If you plan to do a little sunbathing, cover the furniture in a towel to prevent the suntan lotion from creating a stain on the cushion fabric.

Remember to bring furniture in during the wintertime if you live in areas with heavy snowfall. The weight of the snow in the seat of the furniture will eventually damage plastic and wooden furniture. If you do leave furniture out during harsh weather, use special furniture covers that are weatherproof. You should also bring cushions inside for storage during wet and snowy weather.

Cushions that have been out in heavy rains need to be thoroughly dried before you place them into storage. Remove them from frames and set the cushions out into the full sun for several days. Bring the cushions inside to dry during cooler temperatures. Place the cushions into plastic and store in a dry, cool place to prevent mold or mildew developing.

Enjoy Your Outdoor furniture
Taking these simple cleaning and care steps will ensure your furniture will last for many enjoyable years. Never overcomplicate the cleaning with special cleansers that are expensive. Stick with simple soap and water. Your furniture with shine with just a little care.

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