Outdoor Furniture Cleaning: How to Clean your Outdoor Patio and Lawn Furniture

Patio Furniture

Summer is the season of entertaining guests, specifically in an outdoor setting. This makes it all the more important that your lawn and lawn furniture are well maintained. Here’s how to clean your outdoor furniture, so you can make the best impression possible. Enjoy our outdoor furniture cleaning guide!

How to Clean Patio Furniture Cushions

Patio Furniture Cushions

Now that you’ve committed to revamping your patio for the summertime, your outdoor furniture cushions are a great place to start. After all, that’s likely where your guests and you will be spending a considerable amount of time. Because most cushions cannot be washed in a washing machine, you will have to do this part by hand. Here is one way to clean your cushions:

Combine 1-quart warm water, 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent, and 1 tablespoon of sodium borate in a bucket. Using a sponge, dip into the solution and scrub the cushions on all sides. Let the solution soak into the cushion for 15 minutes, then rinse it off with a hose. Keep cushions standing on an edge until completely dry.

How to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

Plastic patio furniture is inexpensive and a popular choice amongst those looking to furnish their backyard. Plastic is relatively easy to maintain, but routine care will help extend the life of your patio furniture.

Plastic outdoor furniture

  • Most plastic furniture benefits from a mild cleanser as opposed to a harsh one. Make your own by combining ½ cup washing soda with 1 gallon of warm water.
  • For colored plastic, mix ¼ cup white vinegar and 1-quart warm water.
  • When cleaning white plastic, avoid chemicals, such as chlorine and bleach. Both of which can eat away at the material.
  • For stubborn stains, use white vinegar and a rag to wipe down the piece. Also substitute baking soda for white vinegar to peel away stains without scratching plastic furniture.

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How to Clean Metal Patio Furniture

Metal is often considered to be the most durable material for outdoor furniture and can last a lifetime with the appropriate amount of care. Most metal patio furniture is finished with a type of paint, varnish or powder coating to prevent the development of rust. In most cases, metal patio furniture can be cleaned by using  ¼ cup mild dish soap added to a gallon of warm water. With a sponge or brush, wash away surface pollutants that are known to cause rust, and consider repainting or recoating if necessary.

How to Clean Rusted Metal Patio FurnitureClassy outdoor furniture

Perhaps the greatest inconvenience of metal patio furniture is rust. Although most metal furniture is painted or coated with a rust-resistant finish, it likely will wear over time. Consider one of many options to remove rust from your metal patio furniture to have it looking brand new.

Use a Mild Cleaning Agent

The simplest way to rid your outdoor patio furniture of rust is to use a mild cleaning agent, such as lemon juice or white vinegar. A gentle cleanser will allow you to wipe away the early signs of wear before they become a much larger problem.

Using the cleaning agent and a rag, spray the solution onto the metal and begin wiping away at the rust. The rust stains will begin turning a brownish-red color and will slowly start coming off with continuous rubbing. Wipe away excess rust with a dry rag.  

Use Baking Soda

Mix baking soda with water or hydrogen peroxide to prepare a thick paste. Apply the paste on metal surfaces using a cleaning cloth or pad, and allow the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes. Proceed by abrasively scrubbing the rust off your furniture and repeating the process two to three times.

Use Aluminum Foil

Aluminum reacts with rust to form a combination that is easily scrubbed off of metal. Begin by dipping an aluminum foil ball into a mixture of salt and water and apply it to the rusted surface. This will loosen the rust, allowing you to wipe away remaining residue with a clean towel. This process also may need to be repeated a few times for complete results.

Preventing Rust

Over time, rust will likely begin to form on any kind of metal surface. That being said, there are preventative measures that can be taken to slow down the process of wear on your patio furniture.

  • Regularly scheduled cleaning will prolong the longevity of your metal furniture. Wipe every part of the surface with a clean dry cloth on a continual basis.
  • Use coverings to protect furniture from rain and direct sunlight.
  • Apply a coat of rust-resistant paint, grease, or oil for water repellant to protect your furniture from rusting.

How to Clean Patio Furniture Mesh

Wicker Patio Furniture

A gentler approach should be taken with mesh patio furniture. Acid-based or vinegar solutions can damage the mesh of your furniture, so consider using a milder alternative.

Fabric and Plastic Mesh: Begin by brushing away loose dirt with a soft-bristled brush. Using a mixture of detergent and water, wipe down the mesh using a rag. Repeat on front and back. Rinse the mesh using a bucket of warm water and wipe down again once the fabric has been thoroughly rinsed.

Arms and Frame: Mix 1 tablespoon detergent and 1 cup warm water. Apply the solution to the arms and frame of your patio furniture using a rag and rinse with clean warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.

How to Clean Patio Furniture Covers

Outdoor furniture covers can help protect and extend the lifespan of your patio furniture. Maintaining your patio furniture covers is also important in the upkeep of lawn pieces as well.

To clean your patio furniture covers, mix a cup of mild detergent with warm water. Use a soft brush or towel to wipe down the covers with the solution. Make sure to pay extra attention to the seams of the cover, as they often hold the most dirt. Rinse the cover off with a hose and allow it to air dry.

How to Clean Patio Furniture and Stones with Vinegar


Mildew can be a common occurrence on patio furniture, especially in hot, humid climates. If you’re wary of using bleach to rid your lawn furniture of contaminants, try a milder vinegar-based solution.

  • Keep full-strength white vinegar in a spray bottle to use whenever you see mildew growing on your patio furniture. Mildew will likely wipe right off most surfaces, and the vinegar will prevent it from coming back for a while.
  • Remove mildew from wood patio furniture and stones by combining 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup, white vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 gallon water and sponging the solution onto the stain. Also consider using a toothbrush to work the mixture into hard to reach spaces.
  • To prevent the growth of mildew on outdoor plastic mesh furniture and patio umbrellas, mix 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap with 2 cups white vinegar in a bucket of hot water. Using a soft brush, work the solution into the grooves of the plastic furniture and umbrella fabric. Rinse with cold water and allow the furniture to dry in the sun.

How to Clean a Patio Umbrella

Outdoor umbrella

Patio umbrellas provide the perfect amount of shade for a backyard get together, but much like other outdoor furniture, they can quickly accumulate dirt and debris. Outdoor umbrellas should be cleaned regularly, at least on a monthly basis, to best preserve them and have them looking their best.

Routine Outdoor Umbrella Cleaning

  • Move the umbrella to a shaded area.
  • Brush or vacuum off any excess dirt. A soft bristle brush is recommended for keeping any loose soil, on your umbrella, from driving deeper into the fabric.
  • Mix ¼ cup of laundry detergent for every gallon of warm water. Use a soft bristle brush to work the mixture into the fabric in circular motions.
  • Allow the solution to soak into the fabric of the umbrella for 15-20 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly using a hose sprayer to remove soap residue.
  • Move the umbrella back to a spot with direct sunlight and allow it to dry. Do not close the umbrella until it is completely dry.

How to Clean an Outdoor Umbrella Frame

Aluminum Frames: Use a mixture of dish soap and water to wipe away surface soil. Rinse with clean water and dry the frame using a rag. Do not use abrasive cleansers or bleaches to clean the frame, as this will cause damage to the finish. For water spotting or a calcium build-up, mix together a solution one part white vinegar and nine parts water.

Wooden Frames: Use a mixture of dish soap and water to wipe down wooden umbrella frames with a soft bristle brush or cloth. Try not to overwet the surface while rinsing and allow the frame to air dry.

How to Clean Patio Screens and Door Tracks

  • With a screwdriver, remove the patio screen from its tracks. Lay it flat.
  • Vacuum both sides of the screen to remove loose dirt.
  • Spray aerosolized cleaner and wipe away hardened dirt from the screen.
  • For tracks, vacuum access dirt and scrub away harder stains with steel wool. Use a cleaner to wipe down the track and allow it time to dry. Apply a small amount of lubricant if you see fit.

How to Store Your Patio Furniture in the Winter

Outdoor furniture in winter

Protecting your patio furniture from seasonal damage is the key to having it for as long as possible. Because most lawn furniture idly sits during the winter exposed to the elements, your best solution for preserving your outdoor furnishings is to store them.

If you don’t have the room in your home to do so, consider self-storage. Self-storage allows you to store your belongings in an easily accessible facility.

Neighbor, commonly referred to as the Airbnb of Storage, takes the guesswork out of finding a place to store your belongings. Neighbor connects its hosts, those with additional room in or around their homes, with renters looking for self-storage space.

Consider self-storage, so when summer rolls back around, you’ll be able to retrieve your patio furniture in no time at all!

How to Prepare Outdoor Furniture for Storage


  • Clean it Up: Perhaps the most important step in preparing your patio furniture for storage is to clean it as thoroughly as possible beforehand. This will help to prevent further weathering and staining while it’s being kept in storage.
  • Give it a Coat: Consider repainting or recoating your outdoor furniture before placing it in storage.
  • Cover Outdoor Furniture: Cover any furniture in storage to prevent additional damage.

When it comes to maintaining your lawn furniture and impressing summer guests as a result, routine cleanings are essential. Outdoor furniture should be cleaned four times a year, once at the beginning of summer, once at the end of summer, and a few times in between that. Consider storing lawn furniture in the winter months to prevent additional damage or staining or hiring a pro to help you clean your furniture.

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