The Complete Guide to Clean Outdoor Furniture

Cleaning outdoor furniture can be a messy, time-consuming task. However, cleaning your outdoor furniture is important because it will help keep your home looking great and reduce the amount of dirt that enters your home. I’m sure you stumbled on this article while trying to find the best way to clean outdoor furniture & cushions.

There are plenty of things to cover when talking about outdoor furniture maintenance. You will need different types of cleaning products for different surfaces; otherwise, you will risk damaging the protective coating of the furniture.

I will discuss how to clean outdoor metal furniture, wooden and even plastic ones. I will also go over how to clean furniture covers, cushions, and other accessories. It will be a cost-effective way to get your patio set looking new, but you will need to get your hands dirty(literally).

How to Clean & Restore a Wooden Patio?

You should always have the necessary material on hand before picking up a restoration project. Patio restoration does not require too much stuff. And you can find a replacement for most of the necessary equipment.

It is important to always have the following materials on hand for cleaning:

  • Pressure Washer. If you don’t have that, then a regular garden hose will do just fine.
  • You can also use non-chlorine bleach; failing that, go with regular dish soap.
  • Soft-bristle brush, all-purpose scrubber, failing that an absorbent cloth rag.
  • Wood Cleaner and Wood Oil

The process of cleaning a wooden patio is simple. You need to clean all the loose dirt and dust with a brush. Then spray the hose to remove as much dirt as you can. Once you’ve done that, grab a scrubber and cleaning liquid and start scrubbing.

After that, let the patio dry and apply some wood cleaner to scrub off the faded varnish. Now apply some wood oil to make it look as good as new. You can skip adding the wood cleaner and wood oil if your patio has intact varnish, though. This step is more for restoration than maintenance.

How to Clean Outdoor Metal Furniture?

Metal often needs cleaning up keep
Metal often needs cleaning upkeep Photo by 39131023 © Esebene | Dreamstimecom

Metal furniture is arguably the best type to place outside because of its durability. These things can last long enough to experience your kid’s children peeing on them. While the situation would suck for the furniture in question, that shows how metal furniture can last a lifetime as long as you clean them properly.

When cleaning outdoor metal furniture, you need to pay attention to the cleaning supply. You should use non-detergent cleaning products to clean this sort of furniture. You can also use window cleaner or non-abrasive cleaners to clean ingrained dirt. The Best cleaning tool is a sponge or something soft.

Avoid using stiff bristle brushes because they will damage the paint or coating. You should also avoid using abrasive cleaning products and rough detergents on them. Metal furniture tends to have powder coating, corrosion-resistant paint, or varnish of some sort.

Those things can protect the furniture in the long run, so you should avoid using anything that harms these coats. Aluminium is supposed to be a rust-free material, but even that can get oxidized.

So, you need to take extra care to avoid harming the protective coating when you clean them. You should also apply a coat of car wax after the furniture dries. It’ll help preserve the shine.

How to Remove Mildew from Outdoor Furniture?

Getting mildew off of outdoor furniture is not a mild task. You can’t do a half-assed job with the cleaning because it will sprout back up even if you leave a smattering of the spore on the surface. The Mildew is not something you can leave on the furniture like a patina either, because most people consider it a big Eww.

Different surfaces require different cleaning methods for removing them. But the overall procedure is fairly similar. Here’s what to do for common patio furniture and accessories:

Cushions & Tablecloth

Cleaning Mildew off of removable fabric like tablecloths or furniture covers is fairly easy. You need to remove the mildew spores by brushing them with a moderately strong brush (all-purpose scrubbers work too). Then you need to soak them in non-chlorine bleach for about half an hour & then put them in a washing machine with regular fabric cleaner.

Cushions are a bit more troublesome since you can’t shove them in a washer. You will need to brush the spores off or vacuum them out first. Then scrub the cushion with rubbing alcohol and warm water. You can follow the fabric cleaning method if the mildew is only on the outside of the cushion covers.


Wooden furniture is more likely to catch mildew than plastic or metal. Thankfully, the cleaning process is easy, so it isn’t very pleasant.

Vacuum the spores from the furniture first. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, then brush it off thoroughly with an all-purpose scrubber. After that, clean the infected area with warm water and detergent. Dry the wood and then apply a new coat of wood polish

You can remove mildew from plastic furniture with bleach. First, mix equal parts bleach and water and spray that on the infected area. Then wait for a few minutes to let the solution do its thing. Scrub it off with a sponge or cloth. You can also use the bathroom cleaner that takes longer to clean than bleach.

Cleaning mildew off of metal furniture without damaging the coating is almost impossible. Your best bet is to use white vinegar and a hard bristle brush to scrub them off. But you will probably need to apply a new coating afterwards.

 What is the Best Way to Clean Outdoor Cushions?

Outdoor cushions can accumulate plenty of different types of stains. There is also the regular dust and dirt that accumulate over time. So, you will need to clean these things more often than actual furniture.

For regular maintenance cleaning, you can call it a day after vacuuming the dust. You can use the brush extension to make it more thorough. You can also use a soft-bristle brush to do the job, but you’ll need to spend extra time on the seams and buttons.

If you only need to clean the cushion covers, drop them in the washing machine with a mild setting. Use soft detergent for regular cleaning, and let it air dry. You will need to use a detergent and borax mixture to clean the cushions since you can’t dump them in a washer.

Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off. Cushions would take a long time to dry. And you might need different chemical mixtures for different stains. Most of the common stains are oil-based. So, you can remove them by soaking the fabric in a baking soda solution.

How Do You Clean and Restore/Polish Outdoor Wood Furniture?

Old wood planks could be restored
Old wood planks could be restored Photo by <a title=Old Wood Planks href=httpsunsplashcomphotosw5inNVfSyNU>httpsunsplashcomphotosw5inNVfSyNU<a>

Outdoor wooden furniture tends to look weather-beaten after a few years. You will need to do a full restoration to bring all its shiny gleam back. I understand that would be a tough job for first-timers, so I’ll be as detailed as I can with my explanation.

Step 1: Initial Cleaning

The first step of restoring wooden furniture is cleaning. You’ll want to go ahead and remove all the cushions and other attachments from the wood. Then remove all the dust with a soft-bristle brush. Use some mild detergent to clean up anything that still refuses to go.

Rinse everything off with a garden hose. It’s best if you can use a pressurized hose, but it is not necessary. You can also use a bucket of water and wipe everything off with a wet sponge.

Step 2: Hardwood Cleaner

Now, you’ll want to use a hardwood cleaner to remove the faded varnish from the wood. There are plenty of hardwood cleaners on the market. Teak cleaners are a good option for teak furniture, but you can also use them on other hardwoods.

After using a wood cleaner, your furniture will look a lot paler than it used to. That’s because these products remove the original varnish and take the wood back to a pre-varnished state.

Step 3: Apply Wood Oil

There are quite a few different wood oils out there, so it might be a bit confusing to choose. But you can pretty much apply any of them on any wood type. Danish oil and Teak oil work better on the corresponding wood, but you can use them on any hardwood.

First, get a bottle of your chosen wood oil, and shake it thoroughly. Wear a glove for safety measures, and apply the oil with a soft-bristle brush. You need to cover every inch of the wood surface to get a consistent coating.

The wood oil acts as a water-resistant primer or varnish. It’s easy to apply, safe, and doesn’t make a mess of the floor. You can even apply it with some paper towels if you don’t have a soft-bristle brush.

The Experts’ Tips & Tricks Will Keep Your Backyard Immaculate!

The Fall is the best time to do proper maintenance in your backyard. The things I list here will help you maintain your lawn with the least amount of hassle. So, without further ado, let’s get into the ultimate lawn care tips:


Mowing the lawn from time to time is common knowledge, but very few people know how they should do it. Lawnmowers have different settings, and you can change those to determine the size of the grass you cut. Few people realize the importance of controlling how much grass they cut because they don’t know how it affects the lawn.

The standard practice is cutting 1/3rd of the grass’ length at a time. If you cut more than that, the grass will get stressed (Yes, that’s a real thing). Cutting off too much of the grass’ length can stunt its growth, which may lead to parasite infections, diseases, so on and so forth.

I know it can be hard to regulate a lawnmower setting to match 1/3rd of the grass length. So I advise beginners to pick the highest setting you can find and go with that. It is better to cut too little than too much, as written in the Scripture of the Elven Lords (That’s not a real book).

Weeding & Cleaning

Weeding is an essential step of backyard maintenance. You cannot skip it under any circumstances. It is a job that gets harder the longer you put it off. Weeds are stubborn little plant life, and they spread faster than cockroaches. The worst part is that they compete with your lawn grass for nutrients.

Even a newly planted lawn will have weeds growing in a matter of weeks. You need to pick each of them off by hand. Get a pair of gardening gloves and a gallon-sized bucket before you set off on your weed-filled adventure.

Cleaning Leaves & Planters

You will need to clear out the fallen leaves at least once every few months. Gardens tend to accumulate a lot of dead leaves by the end of the Fall. You can swipe them with a garden rake or use a leaf blower.

I have a nifty little trick for keeping the planters clean. Do not plant flowers directly into the soil of your garden. Plant them in flower pots, and then dig a pot-sized hole in your garden. You can place your flower pot there.

This trick helps to switch plants with each season and makes the process far less messy. You can remove the planters every time you spray weed killers or before any major backyard makeover.

What are the many types of wood finishes?

I’m sharing this great useful video on various kinds of wood finishes, including varnish, stain oils and wax from Rag ‘n’ Bone Brown channel and Keith Brown, who publishes a weekly video around reclamation, woodworking and restoration.

Brown, K. [Rag ’n’ Bone Brown]. (2016, December 9). Wood Finishes – A Quick Guide – Varnish / Stain / Oil / Wax / Lacquer / Polyurethane / Shellac [Video]. YouTube.


I hope you now know how to clean outdoor metal furniture or any outdoor furniture for that matter. There is no guaranteed best way to clean outdoor furniture & cushions. It all boils down to what equipment you have on hand and how imaginative you can use them.

There are plenty of reasons why you should clean outdoor furniture, but not all cleaning involves scrubbing! If the problem is weeds in your backyard – check out this article to get some tips for how best to remove them.

Well, there’s no need to worry because just about you can improvise anything as long as you don’t use any chemicals or items outside they’re not designed for.

Source of Information

Home Reno Vision DIY. (2017, August 6). Deck Restoration Step by Step | How to Clean and Restore a Weathered Deck [Video]. YouTube.

Jenkins, E. (2021, June 24). Hardscaping 101: Front Paths. Gardenista.

McDonough, L. S. (2019, February 6). How to Get Rid of Mildew in the Mustiest Corners of Your House. Good Housekeeping.

Telkamp, M. & The Discovery Family of Networks. (2021). Are You Cleaning Your Outdoor Furniture the Right Way? The Discovery Family of Networks – HGTV.

GardenAxis. (2020, May 30). How To Remove Mildew From Plastic Outdoor Furniture. GardenAxis.Com.

Bennett, J. (2021, June 22). How to Clean Outdoor Cushions and Pillows to Keep Them Fresh All Season. Better Homes & Gardens.

Blog, E. F. A. A., Lifford, J., K., Lifford, J., K., C., Lifford, J., J., Lifford, J., Dominguez, K., Lifford, J., T., Lifford, J., S., & Lifford, J. (2021, May 23). How to Clean Outdoor Cushions. Clean and Scentsible.

Slatalla, M. (2021, March 8). Our Most Recent Posts. Gardenista.

The Lawn Care Nut. (2017, August 27). How To Fix An Ugly Lawn | Lawn Care Tips For Beginners [Video]. YouTube.

Lowe’s Home Improvement. (2020, August 26). 9 Easy Yard Clean-Up Tips for Fall [Video]. YouTube.

Pennington Seed. (2020, May 26). Lawn Care Tips for Beginners. Pennington.Com.–start-here

2 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Clean Outdoor Furniture”

  1. Thank you for the section about cleaning outdoor metal furniture. I have many chairs and quite a few metal tables too. I will have to remove mildew. I had never seen them like this. But what happened is that while I was able to work from home, I went to another city to stay with my parents. But now that I am back to work, I have found my backyard made a mess.

    • With this post, you’ll have your backyard clean and tidy ready for some backyard bliss in no time flat. Many Thanks, Ann. 


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