Tips for Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

Though made to weather the elements, outdoor furniture still needs some love occasionally to keep up inviting appearances. You’ll be more likely to use your patio for entertaining guests or simply enjoying yourself by following a few tips for cleaning outdoor furniture.

Porch perches

Inevitably, dust and dirt, twigs and leaves are going to land on your outdoor furniture if it’s sitting uncovered. Regularly, and certainly before any guests come over, brush off and wipe down surfaces. Your neighbor’s white linen pants will thank you.

With a little advance planning, you can easily hose down wood, metal, plastic, and fabric. Just allow some time for the seats to dry before inviting anyone to sit.

Water and soft clothes never hurt any outdoor furniture, and these items are fine to use for the routine maintenance of your patio furnishings. However, you will want to keep a few things in mind when caring for some materials.


Plastic is a popular choice for outdoor seating because it’s inexpensive and versatile. Plastic holds up well and is easy to care for. With plastic, simply avoid any abrasives which could scratch it. Sponges or damp cloths work well. A mild dish soap or even shaving cream cleans up plastic nicely.


Metal is even more durable than plastic, and just as easy to take care of. Metal furniture will look like new after a brush-off using dish soap and warm water. Metal’s greatest downfall is rust. Fortunately, many pieces have rust-resistant finishes; nevertheless, these will wear with time. Steel wool and a little elbow grease will remove any rust. Re-painting the metal will prevent future oxidation.


You should not use a power washer on soft woods such as pine and cedar as it could cause damage. A soft bristled brush or sponge with a mild soap would be a much better choice. Oil soaps are recommended as they keep the wood from drying out.

Wicker furniture can be especially challenging to clean if it isn’t done regularly. A toothbrush can help get between the woven fibers.

For hardwoods like teak or oak, a wood cleaner or even a diluted solution of laundry detergent and water will work wonderfully. Make sure any wood furniture is dried off well.


Fabric furnishings could be synthetic or natural, and if you don’t happen to know the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations, stick to a foolproof cleaning method: warm water and dish soap. Always air-dry. Once clean, utilize Oxford & Wells fine care products. A quick touch up can achieve a just-cleaned look without the harmful wear and tear of laundering. More than that, using our premium spray starch can minimize future staining.


Mold and mildew are bound to occur once in a while especially after any period of prolonged dampness. To remove mold, scrub the dry surface with a brush, then rinse off. After the dry-scrubbing, brushing with vinegar will kill persistent mildew. Vinegar is a powerful and relatively safe cleaning agent but can cause damage to wood and stone.


Regularly cleaning outdoor furniture will ensure your patio is ready to use on any given fine-weather day and will keep your patio and lawn furniture looking their best for as long as possible. Discover how Oxford & Wells is safe to use on a multitude of materials that deserve special care, and enjoy your entertaining or relaxing for many years to come.