How to clean outdoor furniture

how to clean outdoor furniture

Fancy cleaning your garden furniture before putting it away for the colder months? Or perhaps you just want to spruce it up for one last hurrah in the sunshine? Then we’ve got all the tips you need.

The experts at have explained how to clean outdoor furniture and preserve different types of garden furniture. Give your outdoor sets some love with our handy guide.

Top tips for cleaning garden furniture

We’ve had a great summer this year, with the sunny weather blessing our outdoor spaces. We’ve all been able to catch some rays and enjoy barbecues with family and friends. 

Now the weather’s going to get colder, so why not give your outdoor set some TLC before putting it away – or have one last garden party?

When getting the garden ready for guests, consider giving your patio furniture a rub down. Remove rust and debris and give it a good scrub. 

Cleaning solutions vary depending on what type of furniture you’re dealing with. Plastic furniture is one of the easiest types to clean, while metal surfaces may require a bit more elbow grease. 

How to clean outdoor furniture
Here are all our best tips for keeping your outdoor furniture pristine. Photography: iStock.

Chris Bonnett, the founder of, tells us: “Outdoor furniture should be cleaned regularly if you wish to maintain its good condition for years to come. 

“Tough weather conditions and built-up dirt can take a toll on your patio set, but there are simple and effective solutions to get the furniture back in shape. 

“In most cases, you can use common household items for sparkling results.”

Here are expert tips on how to breathe new life into different types of garden furniture sets.

Tips for cleaning outdoor furniture

How to clean outdoor furniture made of wood

Wooden furniture contains natural oils which help to protect the surface. However, it still needs some looking after. 

To keep wood in decent condition, a simple soapy wash will do the trick in most cases. Just mix warm water with sugar soap and use a sponge to give it a good scrub. You can also opt for a commercial wood-cleaning product to get rid of general dust and grime. 

a wooden garden set
Relaxing on these chairs with a friend and a glass of rosé each would be just heavenly. Photography: iStock.

Rinse the furniture off with a hosepipe, not a pressure washer, to avoid causing damage. 

For an extra layer of protection, finish by applying a coat of oil or stain that will preserve the colour of the wood and prevent water, dirt and UV exposure from damaging the surface. This should be done once or twice a year. 

How to clean outdoor furniture made of plastic 

Plastic furniture is popular because it’s affordable and easy to maintain. 

The main issue you’ll need to deal with is stains, but they can usually be removed with household products and a little scrub. 

However, pollen and bird droppings can cause more stubborn stains, especially if you have a white furniture set. 

You can create an effective cleaning solution by mixing hot water with either bleach, white vinegar, dishwashing soap, laundry detergent or baking soda. 

How to clean outdoor furniture
Most stains will come off plastic furniture with a little scrubbing. Photography: iStock.

More advice for cleaning garden sets

How to clean outdoor furniture made of rattan

Rattan is weather resistant and an easy material to take care of – just use a mixture of water and soap or washing up liquid, wipe it with a soft cloth and give it a rinse.

The tricky part is getting in between the weaves, where dust and mould can build up over time. 

A good hack is to use a toothbrush to get rid of the lodged dirt from the tiny gaps. Dust can also be collected by using a vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment. 

How to clean outdoor furniture
Rattan furniture is easy to take care of. Photography: iStock.

How to clean outdoor furniture made of metal

Metal furniture sets are very durable. However, getting rid of rust can be a real headache. 

The first step is to sand down as much of the existing rust as you can with fine sandpaper or a baking soda and water solution.

If you’re dealing with oxidised aluminium, use a metal polishing paste or a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water to get rid of the rust.

An interesting rust removal hack is to use a potato, which contains rust-fighting oxalic acid. Just cut it in half and rub it along the surface.

Once you’ve got rid of the rust, apply a coat of wax for long-lasting protection.

a metal garden set
Surprisingly, rust can be removed from metal furniture using half a potato. Photography: iStock.

Want to read more? Then check out these lush outdoor furniture sets.

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