How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Outdoor Furniture

How to Properly Clean and Maintain Your Outdoor Furniture -  Article Cover - Memphis Maids

Hello! We’re back with another cleaning article! Today we wanted to give you tips to properly clean and maintain your outdoor furniture.

As you know, if you want to enjoy outdoors for a long time, you are going to need outdoor furniture eventually. However, we know it can be difficult to keep it clean and looking great.

The elements take their toll on outdoor furniture after a while. If you live in Memphis, you know that during the year we have drastic changes in temperature and humidity. This can create rusting, sun damage and even mold.

But don’t worry! it doesn’t have to be difficult to keep your outdoor furniture clean and well-maintained.

In this article, we will discuss the best ways for you to clean and maintain your outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture comes in many different materials and each one of them has their particular cleaning products and techniques. The most common materials are wood, plastic, metal, and fabric.

So whether you have a new piece of outdoor furniture or an old one that needs some TLC, you will definitely notice the benefits of clean, well-maintained furniture.

Why Cleaning and Maintaining Your Outdoor Furniture Is Important

Every piece of furniture in your home will last longer if you take good care of it. With outdoor furniture, it’s even more important.

As we were mentioning earlier, outdoors furniture is constantly affected by humidity, temperature and the elements (i.e., snow, rain, direct sunlight).

If you clean and maintain your outdoor furniture, you will see many benefits in the long run. First of all, you will increase your items’ lifespan and save some cash in the long run. Not having to replace your items in years or decades can certainly help you with your budget!

First, you got to keep your furniture looking its best. Outdoor furniture gets dirty and stained over time. It will start looking dull and worn out as well if you don’t take good care of it. With regular cleaning, you will remove dirt, stains, and other debris and it will look nice and comfortable.

Besides, some materials are sensitive to pest, insects and other animals. If you keep a close eye on your furniture you will be able to protect them from these pests ruining your furniture.

Last but not least, you will be improving your safety if you clean and maintain your furniture. Your outdoor furniture may have loose screws or legs that are rusting and you didn’t notice. Follow our cleaning and maintenance tips to preserve your safety and comfort when using your outdoor furniture.

Clean Wicker Furniture - Memphis Maids

The Best Tools and Products for Outdoor Furniture Care

One of the most demanding types of furniture is outdoor furniture. You can choose some elements that help you preserve and clean your outdoor furniture faster and easier.

  • A pressure washer: this is a great tool not only for outdoor furniture, but also for your pool, your deck and other outdoor surfaces.
  • Patio Chair Covers: they are a must-have to preserve furniture in the long run, especially during winter or if it’s raining.
  • Mild detergent: most outdoor furniture is pretty resistant to all-purpose cleaners and water.

It’s extremely important to preserve your outdoor furniture during the “strongest” seasons. During the summer, they are exposed to strong sunlight and temperatures. During the winter, you have snow, rain, or hail that impacts on your furniture.

If you are planning on remodeling your outdoor furniture, definitely use lighter colors, especially natural stone materials such as granite or marble.

Related: 7 DIY Cleaners with Everyday Ingredients

How to Clean Different Types of Outdoor Furniture Materials

As we mentioned, there are different types of outdoor furniture materials. Many of these materials are organic, such as wood.

Organic materials require their environment to be more or less stable to “function” properly. Otherwise, they can look either too oily or too dull and dry.

On the other hand, you have outdoor furniture made out of metal (e.g., aluminum, stainless steel). However, it is prone to rusting, especially during winter, when you have heavy rain or snow constantly.

Besides, you will need to maintain your outdoor furniture with protection products, such as primer, varnish, sealers, etc. Depending on the product, you could need to apply these products once or twice a year.

How to Clean Wooden Outdoor Furniture

Wood requires special treatment, and the type of wood is really important here. Specialized cleaners are the safest, most effective route to take. But we understand that sometimes you need a general, all-purpose cleaner.

Just pour one cup of white vinegar into one gallon of warm water, and add a few drops of oil-based soap (e.g., castile soap). After using a soft brush, let it dry for a couple of hours in a place with good airflow and sunlight (unless sunlight is being to strong during that time of the day or year).

Don’t forget to check if you can use this mix on your specific type of wooden furniture.

Besides regular cleaning, you also need to apply a protective coating. Most wooden surface protection comes from other types of wooden, such as teak oil or timber oil. They are meant to help wooden surfaces maintain a healthy moisture level.

If you live in areas such as Memphis, you will notice the humidity goes up and down abruptly, especially between seasons. If wood is too moist, it will crack because it freezes when the temperature drops. And, if it’s not moist enough, it will look dull and dry, and it can break because of lower resistance.

You can brush one coat of a quality stain on all sides of the pieces. Make sure the wood is completely dry. After a year, assess the pieces and evaluate if you need a reapplication.

Related: Wood Care: 5 Simple Tips when Caring for your Wood

Cleaning Wooden Outdoor Furniture - Memphis Maids

How to Clean Metal Outdoor Furniture

Metal outdoor furniture is one of the most popular types of furniture. The most common metal is aluminum and stainless steel because they’re lightweight, resistant, and rustproof. The best part is that they are really easy to clean.

Before cleaning, brush the surface with a brush or dry cloth.

Next, just use warm water and mild dish soap or laundry detergent.

Just like you would do with wooden furniture, you will need to apply a protective coating as well. Use paste wax that is made specifically for metal. If you see that your metal furniture is prone to rust, you should apply a rust neutralizer. Rust neutralizers stop rust and prepare the surface for a fresh coat of paint.

How to Clean Wicker or Plastic

Wicker and plastic furniture is affordable, resistant and lightweight. It’s perfect to move around and store during the winter or when you are not going to use it.

However, they have lower weight capacity and they are also one of the most sensitive materials in terms of sunlight discoloration or yellowing.

To clean wicker or plastic furniture, just apply one tablespoon of dish soap in a gallon of water. Then, you can use a soft sponge to apply, or a pressure washer with a detergent tank.

Rinse with plenty of water and let dry afterward. Make sure you let it dry properly.

How to Clean Plastic Chairs - Memphis Maids

How to Clean Wrought Iron

Wrought iron furniture is gorgeous but sensitive to water. To clean this type of furniture, you need to make sure it’s completely free of rust. Fine-grit sandpaper is usually a great tool because it removes rust without damaging the surface too strongly.

Then, for regular cleaning, warm soapy water is perfect. If you notice stains that are stubborn, you can use fine steel wool. For intricate areas, you can use an old toothbrush and a garden hose or a pressure washer for rinsing.

Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth. Make sure to let it dry properly before storing it.

Clean wrought iron - Memphis Maids


There you have it! Our tips to preserve your outdoor furniture and make sure it stays with you for a long time.

Don’t forget to keep your outdoor furniture dry, avoid water and rust.

We’ll be back soon with more cleaning articles! Make sure to check Memphis Maids‘ main page if you need a professional cleaning service.