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How to clean garden furniture

Metal, wood, plastic or wicker: learn how to clean outdoor furniture (and even the cushions!) with these tips.


By Cleanipedia Team

cleaning wooden bench with spray cleaner

At the end of the summer, garden furniture and cushions need a good clean; especially after months of regular use and being left outside in the sun (or the classic British summer rain). While it may be tempting to leave cleaning your outdoor furniture until next summer, this could cause damage to the furniture as some bacteria may slowly eat away at it. 

If you’re looking for the best way to clean patio or garden furniture or how to clean outdoor furniture cushions, we’re here to help you.

Reduce the need to clean outdoor furniture by covering any items you’re not using or bringing them inside if possible. Never leave wooden furniture outside in the rain or heat as the wood may be damaged.

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How to clean outdoor furniture

When it comes to cleaning outdoor and garden furniture, there’s no single method that suits all types of material. Check what your garden furniture is made of and select the right cleaning method.

How to clean metal garden furniture

The following tips will help you figure out how to clean metal garden furniture:

  1. Scrub any exposed metal with steel wool to help brighten the metal. This is particularly effective if your metal furniture has become dirty, rusty, or tired looking.
  2. Mix warm water and washing up liquid or detergent in a bowl.
  3. Clean the furniture with this mixture. Take special care to clean any decorative cut outs.
  4. Rinse the metal furniture down with clean water.
  5. Protect the furniture from the elements once clean by adding a new layer of metal paint or protectant.
For the best way to clean patio furniture and cushions simply wipe dusty patio furniture with soapy water and ‘rinse’ by wiping with a damp cloth. Use a cleaner like Cif for any stubborn stains on the furniture and pop patio cushions in the washing machine.

How to clean wooden garden furniture 

Use these steps to learn how to clean wooden garden furniture and keep it in tip top condition until next summer.

For softwood furniture:

  • Do not saturate the wood as water can cause rotting that will break down the material. 
  • Simply use a damp cloth to wipe the furniture clean.
  • Allow the furniture to dry fully before treating it with a waterproof paint, gloss, or stain to create a moisture barrier.

For hardwood furniture:

  • These woods tend to have a very high oil content so it will be a little more robust and waterproof. 
  • Spray a little clean water over the furniture and wipe down any stained areas.
  • Let it dry fully.

How to clean plastic garden furniture 

  1. Not sure how to clean plastic garden chairs or tables? Follow these steps to easily get that just-bought shine:
  2. When cleaning plastic, take care not to scratch or dent the furniture.
  3. Just as you would when cleaning metal garden furniture, mix a warm water and washing up liquid or detergent in a bowl.
  4. Dip a sponge into the mixture then sprinkle a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda over the top.
  5. Using the sponge, wipe down the plastic furniture until it’s clean.
  6. For any stubborn dirt still left, try using a product like Cif.
  7. Allow the furniture to dry naturally.

How to clean wicker furniture

Not sure how to clean wicker chairs and other wicker garden furniture? Not to worry, we’ve laid out the essential steps below:

  1. Vacuum the furniture with a thick nozzle to remove loose debris and dirt.
  2. Wipe down the surface with a damp sponge dipped in warm soapy water.
  3. Work the sponge across the wicker quickly and gently to avoid damage.
  4. Rinse away any soap suds with a clean cloth dampened with plain water.
  5. Leave synthetic wicker to dry in the sun or use a hairdryer on natural wicker.

How to clean outdoor cushions

After taking a look at your weather-battered outdoor furniture, you may be looking for the best way to clean outdoor furniture cushions. These instructions on how to clean cotton or polyester outdoor cushions should help but always consult the care label to check what’s advised for your cushions or upholstery:

  1. Pre-treat any stains with a small amount of Persil liquid detergent. Use the bottom of the Stain Eraser Ball to gently work the detergent into the fabric and leave it to work for 5-30 minutes.
  2. Wash the covers in your machine with some more Persil at the recommended temperature.
  3. Let the cushion covers dry naturally on the line to avoid creases.

Now you know how to clean outdoor furniture as well as how to clean outdoor cushions, your outdoor space will be ready for entertaining in no time!

Originally published