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Quick guide: cleaning garden furniture

As the summer draws to a close, we’re spending less and less time out of doors. In fact, if you’re organised you’re probably thinking about packing up the outdoor equipment before the weather takes a turn for the worse. But don’t just chuck it all in the shed. Spend some time now cleaning and prepping your garden furniture for next summer and you’ll be able to enjoy it as soon as the sun makes an appearance in 2019.

The best method for cleaning your patio furniture depends on the item’s material. To help, we’ve identified the top tips for each that will have it gleaming in no time.


Wooden garden furniture needs TLC to keep it looking fab, but with some upkeep, it will be in the family for years.

  • Firstly, make sure you don’t use a pressure washer when cleaning here – wood gets damaged by pressure washers stripping away not only the dirt, but some of the timber, too;
  • Instead, get busy with a warm solution of sugar soap and a scrubbing brush. Allow it to soak for several minutes before scrubbing away stubborn dirt patches with the brush;
  • Once done, rinse with fresh water and let dry;
  • On furniture that’s more than ten years old (any newer and it can end up looking black and greasy), the surface grain will have lost its tannins, and replenishing these with wood oils will make it look great.


Although some plastic furniture will resist some staining, it will need some loving at some point!

  • Wet all of your garden furniture, with hot water, and apply lots of baking soda all over the furniture. Rub the the baking soda in well with the sponge;
  • Employ plenty of elbow grease to remove all dirt and mildew on the surface of and underneath the plastic;
  • Rinse with fresh water, and allow the furniture to dry in the sunshine.


The risk of oxidation can be a real challenge when it comes to cleaning aluminum furniture.

  • Remove as much rust as possible before tackling dirt by sanding off tougher areas along with damaged paint;
  • Remove scuff marks from aluminum with a soft cloth dampened with a nonabrasive product cleaning agent;
  • Consider iron furniture sandblasted or powder-coated for added protection;
  • Clean with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water, add a little dish soap;
  • To protect after cleanings, apply a coat (two for iron) of metal wax.


Synthetic rattan furniture is an excellent choice for garden use because it’s durable and easy to maintain, but a couple of times a year, it’ll need a good seeing to keep it looking good.

  • Before scrubbing any of the material, start by using a dry, stiff brush all over the surfaces to loosen and remove caked-on grime, such as mud or moss from between its fibres;
  • After that, use the soft brush attachment of your hoover all over the furniture to capture the loose dirt;
  • Using a soft sponge or cloth, wipe all over the furniture surfaces with a solution of dish soap and hot water solution, paying attention to really grubby areas;
  • Rinse the furniture with cold water, but be sure not to use any type of pressure-washer because you risk damaging the furniture’s finish;
  • Make sure to store away throughout the colder months, because the threads may freeze and snap if left to fend for itself.

Protecting for future use

Whilst these cleaning tips will leave your furniture gleaming, prevention is always better than cure. There are safeguards against dirt and damage which will make looking after your garden much easier.

The absolute best way to maintain the quality of your garden furniture is to invest in a PVC-backed polyester cover which are breathable as well as waterproof. These covers can prevent any mould from growing on your furniture, particularly when it comes to wood.

If you don’t currently have garden furniture but are considering it and want something low maintenance, certain materials are naturally waterproof and don’t weather easily, such as poly or resin rattan.

Treating outdoor furniture every three months with waterproofing sprays can also help to prolong their life. They help avoid build-ups of mildew and grime by developing a water-resistant film to create a barrier between the material and moisture.

Cleaning your garden furniture needn’t be a big palava, and you can get back to enjoying reclining in comfort!

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