Getting Ready For Summer: How to Clean Your Outdoor Furniture

Posted on 05/24/2016 at 12:00 AM by Wendy Muench

Kamea Back

If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate year round, May is the perfect time to take stock in your outdoor furniture. Some may need replacing and others, just a thorough cleaning. If you live in Northern climates, chances are your furniture spent the winter in the shed, garage or basement and is in a pretty nasty, dusty state.

First do the necessary triage. Wood furniture should be inspected for stability.  Often a little screw tightening is all that is required. Cold storage can make the wood and hardware contract and expand, so tighten everything up first. Check for missing hardware and any damage to the finish.

Wood furniture should be cleaned by using a mild detergent such as dawn mixed with water. If the finish is in really bad shape, lightly power wash the furniture, and apply Danish oil or a furniture protector  system such as Golden Care. A fresh coat of paint or outdoor stain is also an option. Some people use a little car wax to restore the luster of paint finishes.


If the cushions or covers are zippered, wash in the washing machine in cold water, but hang to dry instead of putting them in the dryer. Batting and foam can then be sprayed with a mixture of detergent and bleach and hosed off. (For other cushions without zippers, wash and scrub the creases like washing a car. Start with a soft brush or sponge and a mild detergent such as Dawn. This should be safe for all types of fabric. Be sure to flip the cushions often so they dry well.)

Riviera 2 Seat Bench

To remove mold and mildew, use a mild solution of bleach. If your cushions are not polyurethane or an outdoor fabric such as Sunbrella, this can fade or even rot the fabric, so be cautious about bleaching unless necessary.  Sunbrella Fabrics offer a list of stain removal remedies on their website Mold and mildew are tough and this does not work for every cushion.

Put the cushions back on your beautiful patio furniture and enjoy the summer.

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