How to Clean and Maintain Your Outdoor Furniture

A garden without furniture is like a pool without water, something just doesn’t seem right. It’s an addition that adds plenty of comfort, entertainment, and aesthetic appeal to your outdoor area. However, it’s crucial to clean and maintain your outdoor furniture regularly to keep it in the best condition possible. At SweepSouth, we’re passionate about cleaning specific areas and items of a home, not just the indoors, so we’re here to lend a helping hand.

In this post, we will provide you with valuable tips and techniques for different types of outdoor furniture materials, as well as general maintenance guidelines. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this helpful guide.

Types of Outdoor Furniture Materials and Cleaning Requirements

Wooden outdoor furniture couches and table.

Outdoor furniture, like all other types of furniture, comes in various shapes and sizes, meaning when it comes to cleaning and maintenance, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ technique or process. Let’s look at the different cleaning requirements for each type of furniture below.

1. Wood Furniture

Wood furniture is a great choice for its touch of natural beauty, but it requires specific care. Follow the steps below to clean your wood furniture:

  • Start by removing loose dirt and debris with a soft brush or cloth. 
  • For deeper cleaning, gently scrub the surface with a mild soapy water solution.
  • Rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely. 
  • Finish off by applying a protective sealant or outdoor wood oil for nourishment and protection.

2. Metal Furniture

Metal furniture is a popular choice for outdoor furniture due to its durability. However, regular cleaning will be needed to help maintain the shimmer you enjoy seeing. Follow the steps below to clean your metal furniture:

  • Use a mild detergent mixed with water to wipe down the surface. 
  • If there is any rust, gently remove it using a wire brush or sandpaper.
  • After cleaning, apply a metal-specific wax or protective spray to add a hint of shine while protecting against corrosion.

3. Plastic or Resin Furniture

Plastic or resin furniture is probably the most popular choice due to its inexpensive pricing and low maintenance requirements. Follow these steps to clean your plastic or resin furniture: 

  • Start by rinsing it with water to remove loose dirt. Avoid using a very powerful hose as this could damage the furniture.
  • Use a mixture of mild soap and water to scrub away stains gently. 
  • For tougher stains, use a non-abrasive cleaner. 
  • Rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely. 

Tip: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers as these can scratch the surface.

General Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for Outdoor Furniture

Women cleaning a piece of furniture.

Learning how to clean your outdoor furniture using the steps above may take care of most of the job, but there are other tips to keep in mind if you’d like to extend its longevity. Let’s look at these below.

1. Regular Cleaning Routine

Implementing a regular cleaning routine is crucial for keeping your outdoor furniture in great condition. If you only do it for special occasions, or when it crosses your mind, you’ll give dirt and debris time to grow, expand, and cause damage. Also, be sure to use the appropriate cleaning solutions for the type of furniture you have, as certain surfaces and materials can get damaged by chemicals in products, even if they are used for cleaning. 

2. Stain Removal Techniques

Outdoor furniture is prone to stains from various sources. When removing stains from fabric cushions and upholstery, check the care labels and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For materials like plastic or metal, a mixture of mild soap and water should work fine. If you’re dealing with a more stubborn stain, use a specialised cleaner or a DIY natural cleaning solution like vinegar or baking soda. 

Tip: Always test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area first.

3. Protecting Furniture From the Elements

Shielding your outdoor furniture from the elements is vital for extending its lifespan. Consider investing in furniture covers to provide protection against rain, sun exposure, and debris. When you aren’t using your furniture for long periods of time, store it in a dry and sheltered area like a garage or storage shed.

4. Seasonal Maintenance Checklist

At the beginning and end of each season, perform a thorough maintenance check and inspection on your outdoor furniture. Keep n eye out for any damage, such as cracks, loose screws, or rust. Secure screws and bolts by tightening them for safety reasons. Apply protective coatings, such as sealants or oils, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Proper cleaning and maintenance are vital for preserving the beauty of your outdoor furniture while keeping you, your loved ones, and all guests comfy. Use the tips and techniques outlined in this guide to ensure your furniture remains in top condition for years to come. 
Keep in mind that outdoor SweepStars are always willing to lend a helping hand with their professionalism and expertise. If you don’t have the time to clean your outdoor furniture or the rest of your garden, book a SweepSouth cleaning service. Your home will be in the best hands possible with SA’s #1 home services platform.

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