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How Do You Clean Patio Furniture?

You’ve put the meat on the BBQ, made the potato salad, put ice in the cooler, and invited your friends over for some outdoor entertainment. But, when you go to set the table, you discover the patio furniture is filthy. What now?

Well, you wouldn’t invite friends over for dinner to have them sit at a dusty dining room table or relax on a grubby couch. You should put the same care and attention into looking after your outdoor furniture too.

Cleaning patio furniture is rarely as complicated as looking after a leather couch or shampooing your upholstery. But the materials your furniture is made of, whether it’s teak, wicker, aluminum, or stainless steel, will determine the best way to keep it in tip-top shape. 

Read on to learn all about how to clean your patio furniture.

The four different types of patio furniture materials and how to clean each of them

Taking Care of Teak

Teak may be ultra-durable and able to last a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean it will always stay clean. While teak will not rust or rot, it certainly is not immune from dust and dirt.

Climates with snow, rain, and hail can wreak havoc on patio furniture, but not teak! It contains natural oils that prevent drying or rotting, but mildew can still accumulate on the surface of the furniture. 

All it takes to remove any grime or debris from your teak patio furniture is some soap, water, and a sponge. For best results, scrub with the grain rather than against it. 

Once you get the furniture cleaned up, there is no staining, painting, or finishing required to keep it looking great.

Immaculate Aluminum

The weather can be unkind to furniture left outdoors. But, aluminum is quite hardy and can stand up to the elements. It is rust-resistant, strong, and low-maintenance, making it an ideal material for long-lasting patio furniture. 

If your aluminum furniture is showing signs of discoloration, water and mild soap should be enough to get it looking shiny and new again. Avoid harsh, commercial cleaners and anything overly alkalized. Steel wool and other abrasive cleaning cloths and pads can scratch and leave scuff marks, so stick to sponges and other soft cloths. 

Always rinse your aluminum furniture thoroughly—soap or other cleaning agents can leave a residue that will produce discoloration. 

Outdoor wicker patio furniture out in the rain needing to be cleaned

Washing Your Wicker

Wicker requires minimal maintenance, but you can keep your furniture looking great for years with regular cleaning. A feather duster or a soft cloth can be used to give your wicker patio furniture a quick dusting. 

If it has been a while since you last dusted or there is a significant amount of debris present, use a paintbrush with soft bristles or a toothbrush. These tools can help you reach into the woven crevices and clear out any hidden dirt. 

Annual maintenance and deep cleans can also help keep your patio furniture in tip-top shape. Use a moist towel or soft cloth and thoroughly rub the furniture. 

Don’t use anything too hard or use too much force or you may damage the intricate wicker weave.

Spotless Stainless Steel

Stainless steel requires very little maintenance, but it does have a tendency to get dull and drab, losing that signature shine over time. A good wipe with a soft, microfiber cloth should be enough to restore the finish, but a specialized stainless steel polish is a great way to ensure shine. 

To keep your stainless steel patio furniture looking spotless, it’s best to give it an annual deep clean outside of those regular wipes and polishes. To do this, try a pH-neutral soap and warm water. 

Be sure to avoid any abrasive scrubbers that may damage the finish on your patio furniture. There are specialized stainless steel pads available, made for cleaning your furniture without scratching it. 

Preparation Helps Make Your Patio Pristine

Now that you know how to clean your patio furniture, it’s time to make your outdoor space look as good as new. Before you begin cleaning your patio furniture, a little preparation can help the process go faster and smoother. Here are some tips:

  • Gather your supplies and materials. 
  • Remove any cushions or upholstered pieces. Be sure you have somewhere to put them that isn’t on the ground—you don’t want to have to clean those too!
  • Thoroughly dry your furniture before replacing the patio cushions. 

Once your patio furniture is clean, enjoy your outdoor space!