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How to Clean Outdoor Furniture (Complete Guide)

How to Clean Outdoor Furniture (Complete Guide) - Proline Range Hoods

Worried about how to clean outdoor furniture? We're here to help! This post will show you a step-by-step process on how to clean various types of outdoor furniture. You’ll often use outdoor furniture for months or even years at a time. So it’s important to keep it clean.

We’ll show you everything there is to know about cleaning each type:

  • Wood furniture
  • Wicker furniture
  • Plastic furniture
  • Metal furniture
  • Glass furniture

First, we'll show you how to clean wood furniture so it looks new again.

How to Clean Wood Outdoor Furniture

Wooden Table on Outdoor Patio

What You Need

  • Vacuum with an upholstery attachment
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • A few dish towels

It's important to take care of your wooden furnishings. Whether they’re made of pine, cedar, teak, or another type of wood, follow this guide.

1) Vacuum any surface dirt or debris using an upholstery attachment.

Outdoor furniture is, well, outdoors. So it'll naturally accumulate a lot of dust, leaves, dirt, grass, and other debris. Vacuum that up first to make the rest of your cleaning easier.

You can also use a microfiber cloth to wipe away the surface dust.

2) Fill a bucket with water and a squirt of dish soap.

You don't need a lot of dish soap to clean wooden furniture. In fact, you don't want to use much because it can have some residue. If that dries, it's difficult to remove.

Dish soap helps loosen up the dirt. It’ll wash away easily when you rinse the furniture off with water later on.

3) Dip a towel into the bucket and wring it out.

Wring out the towel well before wiping off the wooden furniture. Wood will absorb water which may ruin it over time.

Be sure to use a bucket and towel rather than soaking the furniture. Soaking the furniture will damage the wood.

4) Wipe or scrub the furniture down.

This step is where the rest of the cleaning happens. Make sure that the dirt and stains are gone in this step. If you need to, keep scrubbing.

Towels are a great way to wipe down wooden furniture because they're soft and won't scratch or damage the surface.

5) If you see soap residue, wipe the furniture again with a clean slightly damp rag.

It's easy to use a little too much dish soap. Just make sure you get all the soap residue off of your wooden furniture. It can be difficult to scrub off if it dries.

If needed, rinse out your rag with non-soapy water and go over those spots that need it again.

6) Wipe the furniture dry.

Make sure the furniture is dry to the touch. If it's not quite dry, set it in the sun.

How to Clean Wicker Outdoor Furniture

Wicker Furniture on Outdoor Patio - How to Clean Outdoor Furniture

Wicker furniture is wooden furniture that's woven together to make chairs, stools, and other outdoor patio furniture.

Cleaning wicker furniture is pretty similar to wooden furniture. But we also show you how to get in between the grooves of the wicker furniture to clean it thoroughly.

What You Need

  • Vacuum with an upholstery attachment
  • Bucket
  • Dish soap
  • A few dish towels
  • Old toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth

1) Vacuum surface level dust and dirt.

2) Fill a bucket with a half cup of dish soap and a few cups of water.

Let the suds form and then you have an easy homemade cleaning solution to clean your outdoor wicker furniture.

3) Dip a towel into the bucket and wring it out.

Make sure the towel is wrung out well so the wooden furniture doesn't absorb much water.

4) Use an old toothbrush to scrub in between the grooves of the woven material.

Just dip the toothbrush into the dish soap and water and scrub.

5) Wipe down the entire surface with a damp cloth.

Be sure to remove the soap from the small grooves. It might help to wash out your toothbrush.

Then, scrub those areas again with water to rinse them fully.

6) Dry the wicker furniture with a microfiber cloth.

You can also let the furniture dry in the sun.

The wicker will be clean and ready for use again!

To keep your wicker well-maintained for years to come, give it a nice protective finish or stain.

If you have finished wicker furniture, you don't need to worry so much about the amount of water, soap, or cleaning solution you use to clean it, since it won't absorb into the furniture.

But make sure to wring out your towel completely if you're dealing with unfinished wicker furniture.

Never soak wicker furniture as it can deteriorate the finish or ruin the wood.

How to Clean Metal Outdoor Furniture

Metal Chairs and Table

What You Need

  • A few dishcloths
  • Dish soap
  • Old toothbrush
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Paper towels or microfiber cloth

Like cleaning wood and wicker furniture, watch the amount of water, soap, or cleaning solution you use.

Metal will not absorb a lot of water so be careful to keep all surfaces dry as you clean. Over time, sitting water will oxidize the metal, forming rust. This is often irreversible or incredibly difficult to clean.

You should avoid using abrasive cleaners such as bleach, soft scrub, and ammonia.

Metal can also show scratches easily, which is why it's best to clean often with the proper tools and materials. Avoid using wire or metal brushes. Also, don't use too much elbow grease when cleaning metal furniture.

Here is our complete guide on how to clean metal outdoor furniture.

1) Use a damp cloth or dishcloth and water with no soap to remove dirt, grime, and food residue.

The more you scrub at the surface of your furniture the easier it will be for scratches or rust stains to form. Be careful not to use too much water.

The cloth should be moderately damp but not dripping. Next, use a dry cloth to wipe the surface clean.

2) Use a mild soap and water on an old dishcloth and lightly scrub the furniture.

This will remove grease, dirt, and food residue that you didn’t get in step one. Make sure you scrub with light circular motions to not scratch the metal furniture while cleaning.

3) Scrub difficult dirt and stains lightly with a nylon scrub brush or an old toothbrush.

4) Use another damp cloth to wipe away the dish soap.

5) Dry the metal thoroughly with paper towels.

You can also use a dish towel.

6) Let the metal furniture sit in the sun.

If you miss any puddles of water, the sun will take care of those. You don't want excess water to sit on metal furniture for long. Otherwise, you'll have to deal with rust.

How to Clean Glass Furniture

Glass table and outdoor chairs
Image obtained via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

What You Need

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Pressure washer or hose (optional)
  • Glass cleaner or white vinegar (optional)
  1. Wet a microfiber cloth or sponge and wipe off surface dirt from your glass table.
  1. Fill a bucket with hot water and enough detergent to make suds.

Mild soap and plenty of hot water are all you need for the job of cleaning glass furniture.

  1. Pour some hot water and dish soap on tough stains, bird droppings, or difficult dirt.
  2. Let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Wipe off the surface with a sponge.

The sponge will soak up some of the hot water used to soak the tough stains. If the stain is stubborn, add a little more hot water and let it soak for another 15 to 20 minutes.

  1. Use a pressure washer or hose to rinse the glass furniture.

If you don't have a hose, you can rinse the glass furniture with a damp dishtowel.

  1. Dry the furniture with dishcloths or let it air dry in the sun.
  2. Spray glass cleaner or white vinegar on the furniture after it's fully dry.

This gives your glass furniture a fresh and clean smell. It also helps remove any streaks left throughout the cleaning process.

If you're cleaning a glass table, don't forget about the underside. You don't need to clean it every time you clean your glass table, but keep an eye on it every few months.

If it's building up a few stains, give it a quick clean. Here's how.

The easiest way to clean the underside of your glass table is to remove the glass table, if possible. Set it on a blanket carefully and repeat the above process to make your glass table look new.

Definitely ask a friend to help you lift the glass table, as it's probably heavy and definitely fragile.

If you can't remove the glass, you'll again need a friend or two to help you turn the entire table upside down.

Set the table on a blanket and repeat the above process.

How to Clean Plastic and Resin Outdoor Furniture

Plastic Chairs

What You Need

  • Hose or pressure washer (optional)
  • Baking soda and water
  • A few dishcloths
  • Bleach (optional)
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Old clothing (optional)

1) Rinse off the plastic furniture with a hose or pressure washer.

If you don't have a hose, wipe off the surface dirt with a damp cloth.

2) Make a baking soda paste using three parts baking soda and one part water.

3) Spread it on the plastic furniture.

If you have had a plastic chair for years, it can take some work to get clean. For the most thorough clean, clean your plastic furniture in sections.

4) Let the baking soda paste sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

5) Wipe the plastic furniture clean with a damp cloth.

6) Rinse the furniture with a pressure washer or hose.

You can also wipe it down with a damp cloth.

If the stains don't come off immediately, repeat this process a couple of times. If you still can't get the grime off of your plastic furniture, you can use bleach. But bleach only works on white furniture.

First make sure that you are wearing old clothes because bleach may ruin them.

The best way to clean your plastic furniture safely is to put bleach into a spray bottle and spray each section of your plastic furniture.

Leave it in the sun to dry completely.

Take a look at this short video below to learn more.

That wraps up our guide on how to clean outdoor furniture. We went over how to clean:

  • Wood furniture
  • Wicker furniture
  • Metal furniture
  • Glass furniture.
  • ...And plastic furniture

Hopefully your outdoor furniture looks just like it did when it was delivered to your door.

For more outdoor cleaning tips and tricks, check out the articles below.

Related Articles

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