How To Clean Outdoor Furniture: Read Our Simple Guide To Get Started

How To Clean Outdoor Furniture: Read Our Simple Guide To Get Started

Now that the sun is shining, you’ve probably planned plenty of garden parties. Inviting your friends and family members around for a BBQ is all well and good… but have you seen the state of your outdoor furniture? Of course, you can’t expect Uncle Ian to chow down while sitting on a grubby, mould-covered chair. He deserves better than that!

You don’t need to rush out and buy new seats. If you want to know how to clean your outdoor furniture, we’ve got you covered. Getting it to look as good as new will take no time. In just six simple steps, you can spruce up the furniture. So, how can you get started? In this guide, we will cover everything that you need to know, plus some FAQs.

You will need:

  • Soft brush
  • Cloths
  • Oil-based soap
  • Warm water
  • The Pink Stuff
  • Microfibre cloths

Step 1: Prepare your outdoor furniture

First things first, you need to prepare your furniture. That means removing any covers or additional parts. For example, if you have a patio furniture set with a large umbrella over it, you will want to take it down. Additionally, if it is possible to take your furniture apart, you should do that too. You need to make it as easy as possible to clean. 

Often enough, chairs and sofa seats slot together. Separate these items to ensure you can get to all sides of the furniture. That should take you a couple of minutes to get right. Get rid of any cushions or extras too.

Step 2: Use a brush to get rid of dirt

Next up, grab yourself a soft brush and get to work. You can’t clean your garden furniture with water until you do this step. That is because you might end up making it look more grubby. Any grime or dirt that has been resting on the furniture is likely to get in the way.

When you add soap and water to that equation, you might have a recipe for disaster. That’s why you need to use a soft brush. Be gentle but sweet away any of the dirt you can see. You might need to use extra elbow grease if there are any stubborn bits.

Step 3: Wash with soap and warm water

Now comes the main part. Grab a bucket and a cloth. You should use some warm water and an oil-based soap to make your cleaner. When you have done that, use the cloth to clean the area. You should pay special attention to any marks, mould, or grime.

You may need to rinse the area thoroughly once or twice during the washing process. You can use a bucket of cool water to get this part of the job done. You might want to pour it gently over the garden furniture or use a watering hose if you have one at home.

Step 4: Dry off the furniture

Once you’ve done the bulk of the washing, it’s time to dry the furniture. You can use a microfibre cloth to do so. You might want to wipe down the corners and specific areas. You don’t need to be too thorough in this step. You have more washing to do!

Step 5: Use The Pink Stuff for rust

The Pink Stuff can help you get awkward stains or rust off your garden furniture. However, it’s best suited to metal furniture. With that in mind, you may want to use it as part of the next step if you have that type of outdoor furniture. Before you get going, you will need a tub of the cleaning product, a clean cloth, and some warm water. To get started, you should use the fabric to scoop out a small amount of the Pink Stuff quickly and easily.

Directly apply the cleaning agent to the furniture. You should rub the paste in circular motions to ensure you get a deep clean. When you have rubbed the stuff into the furniture, you should leave it for roughly 10 minutes. Once you have done that, it’s time to rinse it off. Use some warm water to rinse the area as thoroughly as possible.

Step 6: Rinse well and dry

After completing all of the above, the final stage of the process is to rinse the garden or patio furniture. Once again, you can use a hose if you need a little extra power. You can also use a microfibre cloth to wipe down the area as much as possible.

Optional: Wash the covers and cushions

Do you have patio furniture with covers and cushions on it? If the answer is yes, you might want to wash them too. There’s no use washing all the frames and then popping some filthy cushions on top of them. In some cases, you will find that you can remove the cushions and the seat covers. You may need to refer back to the manual or box here.

You may find that you can wash the cushion and seat covers in your machine. If that is the case, you should turn all of the covers inside out and then put them on a gentle wash. You don’t want to use a harsh wash as the material may be sensitive.

Once you’ve done all of the above, you’re finished. That means you can easily enjoy fun in the sun without looking at messy garden furniture. Keeping these items clean means that you can have a garden to be proud of this summer. Why not get to work today and clean off your patio furniture? There’s no time like the present. If your furniture is looking worse for wear, have a go at making your own chalk paint. It's perfect for upcycling furniture! 


Have you got a burning question that we haven’t answered? Check out our frequently asked questions below. Here are some of the things you might need to know:

How do you get grime off outdoor furniture?

You don’t need fancy products to clean grime off outdoor furniture. Mix some oil-based soap and warm water in a bucket. Then, grab a soft cloth and get to work. You will need to be firm on the areas that have already gathered a load of grime to shift it.

Does vinegar clean outdoor furniture?

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean outdoor furniture. Vinegar has high acidity levels, which is an excellent natural cleaning agent. If you’re ready to get started, take the time to mix a gallon of water with a cup of apple cider vinegar. You can then combine the solution well and use a cloth to apply it directly to your outdoor furniture.

Can you wash patio furniture?

The short answer is yes. If you have patio furniture with removable cushions and covers, you should have no problem washing them. Check the label first, but you should find that you can put these in the washing machine without any trouble. Depending on the material of the furniture frame, you may also be able to clean it with warm, soapy water.

Can you use bleach on patio furniture?

Bleach is a handy but strong cleaning agent. Whether you can use it on patio furniture depends on what it’s made from. You can use this cleaner on certain materials, including glass and nonporous wood. Be sure to go easy with the bleach if you’re unsure, and read our tips for getting bleach smells off your hands.

Can you pressure wash outdoor furniture?

No, it is not safe or advisable to pressure wash outdoor furniture. Chances are, the water current will be too strong for the furniture. If you want some extra help, you can use a garden hose to get the job done. You don’t want to go overboard here.

What is mildew?

Mildew is a particular type of mould. It tends to grow in damp areas, especially those that have been water damaged. For that reason, you may have mildew on garden furniture. Often this mould will start to grow on outdoor furniture or outdoor umbrellas.

How do you remove green algae from wooden furniture?

If you have algae growing on your outdoor furniture, you will want to do something about it. One approach you might find helpful is mixing white wine vinegar and water. You can use this homemade solution to clean the algae. You might need to work hard to get the green stuff off. Keep going, even when it gets tricky.

What type of garden furniture are you trying to clean? Let us know in the comments below!

Joanne A


Expert in finding beautiful solutions for small and rented spaces. Would happily spend the rest of my life shopping for homewares and watching Disney movies - I only wish I had Cinderella's army of mice to help me clean!

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