How to Clean Outdoor Furniture

outdoor furniture made of metal

Outdoor furniture is an essential type of item to have on your porch or placed on your backyard deck. You may even have a pool at your house where poolside furniture comes in handy. From wicker chairs to plastic lounges, outdoor furniture is available in many different styles, sizes, and materials. You might even have fabric outdoor furniture for optimal comfort for you, your family members, and your guests to enjoy. This type of outdoor decor is essential for summertime fun and to help you reach your top-notch relaxing goals!

No matter what type of outdoor furniture you have, you probably have a prime goal in mind to keep your furnishings looking as clean and well maintained as possible. This is why it’s important to clean your patio furniture on a regular basis. But, if you’re new to having this type of outdoor seating, you may not know how to clean outdoor furniture. We can help!

Before you learn how to clean your outdoor furniture, it’s important to know why you should keep these outdoor decor items clean. You should also know that each type of material might have to be cleaned in a different way. Therefore, it’s important to have knowledge of the finer details on how best to clean these outdoor patio furniture items. When you know how to do so, you’ll soon become a pro at keeping your outdoor furniture clean and looking great. And you're sure to love having clean patio furniture.

Why You Should Clean Your Outdoor Furniture

You might think that outdoor furniture will get clean every time it rains or won’t get that dirty at all. However, this is not the case. No matter where you put your outdoor furniture, if it’s outside in the elements, it’s susceptible to debris from pollen, leaves, dirt, and other particles that will stick to your furniture and make it look not as nice as when you first bought it. Plus, if you don’t clean your furniture, people won’t want to sit on it as it will get their clothes dirty and just doesn’t look that inviting. That’s why you should keep your outdoor furniture clean!

Why the Type of Outdoor Furniture Material Matters

plastic outdoor furniture

If you’re wondering what types of outdoor furniture should be cleaned, the answer is, “All types!” With that said, before you start cleaning your outdoor furnishings, you have to keep the type of material in mind. The furniture material will dictate how you clean your chairs, lounges, and tables that sit outside. 

Some furniture materials can be soaked in water and handle a good scrubbing while other materials need a gentler touch applied when cleaning them. If you know the type of material your furniture is made of, you’ll be able to clean it in the right way and not damage the furniture. 

Here are some of the main types of outdoor furniture materials:

  • Wicker 

  • Fabric

  • Plastic

  • Wood

  • Metal

Now that you know what the main types of outdoor furniture materials are, you can follow the easy steps below on how to clean outdoor furniture. You’ll learn how to safely and thoroughly clean your outdoor furnishings.

How to Clean Outdoor Furniture According to Material

wooden outdoor furniture

If you’re ready to clean your outdoor furniture, first consider what furniture you want to clean. You can start with one or two pieces of furniture or tackle the entire collection of back porch furnishings. Once you know what furniture you’ll be cleaning, figure out what material the furniture is made of. Keep in mind you may have a piece of furniture that has multiple material types in one furniture piece, so you should clean each area accordingly.  

Once you know what type of furniture you’ll be cleaning, it’s time to get started. Follow the cleaning instructions below based on the material type for the furniture you’re cleaning:


Wicker is a popular outdoor furniture material. All-weather wicker is comfortable to sit on and durable. It’s also quite easy to clean when you need to do so. 

To get ready for the cleaning session, grab a bucket of warm water, dish soap, a soft bristle brush, and a hose. Once you have all these items, follow these steps to gently clean your wicker furniture:

  1. Remove cushions and any other fabric pieces from the furniture.

  2. Prepare a warm bucket of water with a few drops of gentle dish soap to make a simple cleaning solution.

  3. Using the soft bristle brush, wet the brush and gently scrub the wicker, making sure to get in the grooves of the furniture. 

  4. Once the entire furniture piece is scrubbed, rinse it off with the hose. 

  5. Gently towel dry your furniture and let the remaining moisture air dry.


If you have furniture with fabric cushions that you can’t remove or outdoor fabrics on other parts of the furniture that you’re unable to take off, you can clean these items gently. However, you’ll use a technique specifically suited for this type of material known as spot cleaning.

Spot cleaning entails only cleaning areas that have stains or highly visible dirt areas. Before you spot clean the fabric, gather together a bucket of warm water, soft cloth, gentle detergent, and a garden hose. You can spot clean the fabric via this technique: 

  1. Use the dry rag to remove any loose dirt from the area you’ll be cleaning.

  2. Wet part of the rag by dipping it into the soapy water cleaning solution that you’ve created by adding a couple of drops of detergent into the bucket (1:3 detergent to water mixture). 

  3. Gently rub the rag on the dirt spot using a circular motion until clean.

  4. Dab the area dry with the dry part of the rag and let the area air dry the rest of the way. 


Plastic patio furniture is easier to clean than some other types of furnishings. And you don’t have to be as gentle with plastic as you would with some other materials. Before you get started, mix two tablespoons of dish detergent with a gallon of warm water in a bucket. Then follow these instructions to get your plastic patio furniture clean:

  1. Soak a sponge in warm, soapy water.

  2. Scrub the patio furniture to remove the dirt and grime.

  3. Rinse the plastic furniture off with a hose. 

  4. Dry the furniture with a cloth and then let it air dry completely.  


Wood furniture cleaning techniques are a bit different than with some other materials. But, don’t worry! You’ll still be able to get this furniture material clean. Gather together a bucket of warm water, dish soap, a soft bristle scrub brush, and a garden hose. Next, follow these steps: 

  1. Put a few drops of dish soap in the warm water.

  2. Wet the brush and scrub the furniture, working from the top of the chair, table, or other furniture item, and move to the bottom as you remove stains.

  3. Rinse the furniture off with a hose until all dirt and soap are gone.

  4. You can towel dry the furniture and then let it air dry completely in your outdoor area. 


Whether you have wrought iron patio furniture or only parts of the furniture contain metal, you’ll want to clean these items as well. Make sure you have a bucket of warm water with a few drops of dish soap added. You’ll also need a soft rag and garden hose. Once you have these items handy simply follow these steps to clean your metal outdoor furniture:

  1. Dip the soft rag in the soapy water and gently clean all areas of the metal furniture that need it. 

  2. Use the garden hose to rinse off the soapy water and any extra debris.

  3. After the furniture is cleaned and rinsed, make sure you dry it off with a clean, dry rag.

  4. Let the outdoor furniture air dry of any excess water and it’s ready for its next use.

ginger cat sitting on an outdoor sofa

When to Clean Your Outdoor Furniture

Now that you know how to clean your outdoor pieces of furniture, you may be wondering when you should do so. You should always clean your furniture when you see it’s not looking as clean as it should. In addition, it’s a good idea to do a full cleaning during the season that you continually use it and also before you cover the furniture up for the colder winter months. You only need to clean your outdoor cushions if they have stains or debris and remember to spot clean and don't soak them.

You might also need to clean your outdoor furniture if you spill something on it. In that case, make sure you clean it up as soon as possible so the mess doesn’t result in a permanent stain. It will also be much easier to clean the spill or dirt off the furniture if you do it right away.

Keep Your Outdoor Furniture Looking Great

If you want to keep your outdoor furniture looking great, make sure you give it periodic cleanings. Follow the directions above when cleaning outdoor furniture based on each material type. This patio furniture cleaning guide will help you with the patio furniture cleaning process. Remember to be gentle with the furniture, no matter what type of material it’s made of. After all, outdoor furniture can be expensive and you want it to last a long time, especially if it’s one of your favorite furniture items. 

Rest easy knowing that it’s not a difficult task to keep your outdoor furniture looking fabulous and clean. And cleaning patio furniture in your outdoor space will leave you feeling good every time you look at the finished product.

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