How to take care of your outdoor furniture this summer

With summer weather looming, it’s time to pull the covers off the outdoor furniture, light the pit, and watch the stars emerge at night. Clean furniture is essential for enjoying the outdoors, whether you’re doing it alone or with friends and family. Keeping your furniture looking like new will depend on a few factors (like usage and climate) and will vary depending on the material. Here are some of the best expert tips on cleaning wicker, wood, plastic, wrought iron, aluminum and outdoor cushions:

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Plastic is the easiest type of furniture to clean, as it usually has a naturally stain-resistant glossy finish. “When cleaning plastic, we recommend all purpose cleaners based on natural oils and enzymes; it gives a residue-free finish,” says Austin Miller, co-founder of Spruse, a Seattle-based cleaning company. “When cleaning plastic furniture, do not use scouring pads, as it will leave slight gouges and scratches on the cleaned surface. We always recommend using microfiber towels, then hosing them down when you’re done for even drying.

wrought iron

Wrought iron is a popular choice for outdoor furniture due to its durability. “We recommend using white cleaning vinegar and a scratch pad,” says Miller. “Gently scrub all areas and when done, wipe areas with just a towel and water to remove excess dirt. Make sure you don’t use anything acidic, or anything that can scratch, as wrought iron can be damaged that way.


Aluminum is another common option for benches, accent chairs, tables, etc. “Always remove the cushions before reaching the frame of your aluminum furniture so that you have a fully exposed canvas before washing,” advise Anne and Will Massie, founders of the heritage outdoor furniture brand. McKinnon and Harris. “When cleaning the frame, we suggest using a cleaner designed for washing surfaces like cars and boats, like Meguiar’s Gel Wash. The premium wash is loaded with rich ingredients that protect the finish and give it that shine. newly minted without removing the wax protector that was originally applied to the aluminum.The pair also recommend using a soft cloth, such as a microfiber towel, slick cloth, or soft sponge to lather up the cleanser before simply rinsing.

outdoor sofa cushions

Are your sofa cushions removable? This means you can just throw them in the washing machine when they get dirty. Meanwhile, Ikea (whose outdoor sofa cushions are not removable) advises hand washing. The brand recommends cleaning non-removable cushions with a sponge or cloth soaked in soapy water. Simply wipe down surface coverings with soap and water, then wipe dry with a clean cloth. If your outdoor sofa has ever been infected with algae or mold, simply wash it with water and vinegar, then rinse off the vinegar.


Wicker furniture can be woven from natural materials like rattan, bamboo or cane or man-made versions of these materials. “Natural materials like rattan, bamboo or cane are naturally porous, which means they will absorb any moisture left behind in rainy or humid conditions,” advises Nicole Hunt, product development manager at Item. Since these natural materials have minimal UV resistance, they will fade or dry out in sunny, hot conditions. A good habit is to keep them in a covered outdoor area or store them indoors when not in use. “To keep your outdoor wicker pieces looking great for years, brush away dirt and debris with a soft nylon brush,” says Hunt. “Generally, if it’s gentle enough to brush your teeth on, it’s safe for furniture. For a quick cleanup, use a slightly damp cloth to wipe down your furniture to remove any dust or dirt that may have accumulated.


Materials like teak, acacia and eucalyptus are great choices for outdoor furniture as they are sturdy and very durable materials. Although naturally weather resistant, acacia can still be sensitive to humidity and humidity, while teak is naturally weather and fungus resistant. “Maintenance of wooden outdoor furniture is quite simple,” says Hunt. “Wipe off any dirt with a damp, non-abrasive cloth. For tougher messes and spills, soak a cloth in pH-neutral soap and warm water, wring out any excess liquid, and wipe the stain away. Then let it dry naturally in the sun or dab the area with a clean, dry cloth.”

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