Keeping Your Outdoor Furniture Clean!

A few weeks ago I posted on my Instagram about the challenge I was having with keeping my outdoor furniture clean! Even with covers and regular cleaning, fighting with the elements in my backyard is impossible. Marie Flanigan, my go-to source for all things home decor and improvement came to the rescue and put together a list of tips to help me take care of my beautiful things! 

Marie’s Tips for Outdoor Furniture Care

  • Always familiarize yourself with your furniture manufacturer’s care recommendations. These can generally be found online and you can contact the manufacturer for more information.
  • Utilize furniture covers whenever possible to preserve and protect furniture from weather. Keep in mind that your furniture covers will need to be cleaned as well, and that is most easily done when the covers are still on the furniture. Be sure that your covers dry thoroughly before storing them or they may develop pockets of mold.
  • Consider moving furniture indoors when not in use for an extended period of time. This may not make sense for your larger pieces, but it’s worth carving out some room in your garage for smaller outdoor pieces that can easily be protected from the elements. Another option is investing in a garden shed where your cushions and smaller pieces can live when not in use.
  • Always use a gentle cleanser when spot cleaning cushions to avoid spotting and discoloration.
  • Regularly sweep furniture with a soft-bristle broom or dry paintbrush to remove debris.
  • Utilize proper sealants whenever necessary and re-seal at least once per year. We suggest dedicating at least 2 days per year (even better if you can commit 1 day per season) to outdoor maintenance projects. Thoroughly clean each piece, re-seal if required, and prepare to enjoy!
  • Don’t forget to check those moving parts! You know the drill – you get everything cleaned up and pretty only to discover that your umbrella is rusted and no longer operable. Regularly inspect metal furniture for rust, especially in hidden areas. You can use a silicone spray to lubricate swivels and glides on metal furniture, as well as ribs and poles on umbrellas.

Outdoor Furniture Care Guide

Please Note: When mild soap is mentioned, we suggest Dawn, a mild liquid dishwasher detergent, or Mrs. Meyer’s natural dish soap.

  • Outdoor Rugs
    • Vacuum regularly and spot clean when necessary.
  • Teak and Aluminum Furniture and Cushions
    • If left to the elements, teak will develop a silvery grey patina over time.
    • If maintaining the original finish is desired, treat with teak oil one to two times per season.
    • To clean, use a cleansing solution of ¼ cup dishwashing detergent and 8 cups of lukewarm water.
    • While the cushions are designed to withstand UV radiation, mold, mildew, and staining, they should be stored indoors when not in use for an extended period.
    • It is recommended that the cushions be sprayed thoroughly with water periodically to remove any surface dirt. Ensure that inserts are dried completely after each cleaning to avoid the accumulation of mildew and odor.
    • Wipe down cushions with a gentle cleanser when needed.
    • Never use bleach or chlorides on aluminum as they could lead to staining and pitting. Never use abrasive cleaning pads or concentrated alkaline base solutions.
  • Stone and Ceramic Tables
    • Blot surface with a few drops of a neutral pH cleaner or mild liquid dish washing detergent and warm water.
    • Use a soft cloth to wipe clean for best results and to avoid scratches.
    • Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film and cause streaks.
    • Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids.
    • Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution.
    • Most natural stones can be sealed for protection, but sealant must be reapplied periodically.
    • Use coasters, trivets, placemats, or felt pads to protect the finish.
  • Hand-Wrapped Resin Furniture and Cushions
    • Store indoors when not in use for an extended period.
    • Clean once or twice a year by hosing it down or using a soft cloth and mild soap solution.
    • Be sure to rinse off all soap residues with fresh water after cleaning.
    • For wicker and similar frames, wipe with a soft, dry cloth in the direction of any rows rather than diagonally, which can force dust under the woven material. Dust and debris that’s left to accumulate grinds into the furniture fibers, causing unnecessary wear and dirty discoloration. A vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment can help dislodge and remove any soil within the weave.
    • Remove foam before machine washing cushion cover on cold.
  • Lighting
    • All chandeliers, sconces, lamps, etc. are best cleaned using a dry, soft dusting cloth.
    • It is not recommended to use household liquid cleaners or polishing agents as these can discolor or damage metal finishes.
    • Take caution when cleaning any parts that extend from the body of the fixture (such as arms, shades, or candelabra sleeves) as these are typically the most delicate portions that can bend or break.
  • Umbrellas and Stands
    • Clean with a mild, water-free solvent and water.
    • Avoid the use of chemicals and abrasives as these will damage the finish.
  • Accent Pillows
    • Regularly brush off dirt and debris.
    • Wipe spills and stains immediately with a wet cloth and a mild soap solution, because certain liquids, such as sunscreen, may cause discoloration.
    • Spot-clean only, do not submerge.

Additional Note:

Solution-dyed acrylic fabrics do not promote mildew growth, however, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric.

  1. Prepare a solution of 8 ounces (1 cup) bleach and 2 ounces (1/4 cup) dishwashing liquid per gallon (8 cups) of clean water.
  2. Spray on entire area and allow the solution to soak into the fabric.
  3. Scrub vigorously with a soft bristle brush, sponge, or clean towel.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  5. Allow fabric to air dry in a well-ventilated, clean, dry area.
  6. If stain and/or mildew persist, bleach quantities may be increased. In some cases long-standing stains may not be completely removable.



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