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With the weather beginning to warm up, many of us are now starting to turn our attention to our backyards and outdoor entertaining. Whether it’s simply relaxing after a busy day at work, spending some valuable time with your family, or having your friends over for a BBQ, outdoor furniture plays a vital role.

However, over the winter months and with regular use, your outdoor furniture faces a lot of abuse. Not only that, but exposure to the elements can also lead to you needing to clean them frequently to remove stains and keep them looking their best.

How do you clean your outdoor furniture, though, and how often should you clean them? We thought we would take a closer look to ensure your outdoor furniture not only looks great but can last a long time.

How Often Should You Clean Your Outdoor Furniture?

Before looking at the best methods to clean your furniture and fabrics, it is first important to know how often you should do it. While there is no set period of time that you should clean your furniture, you should make sure that you are doing so as soon as you see a stain.

Waiting until the end of summer before cleaning your cushions and furniture can make it far more challenging. When cleaning your furniture, while many people will focus on the fabrics, you should also make sure that you are giving any metal, plastic, or wooden areas a wipe down and clean.

What Tools Do You Need?

Cleaning your outdoor furniture does not require specialist tools, and some of the most common items you will need include:

  • Soft-Bristled Brush
  • Detergent
  • Warm Water
  • Bleach
  • Dull Knife


If you are in need of cleaning your outdoor furniture, we have put together some instructions to help you clean some of the most common materials:

How To Remove Grass Stains

Grass stains are one of the most common sights on fabric garden furniture, so if you are looking to remove those unsightly green smudges, here is how:

1) Pre-Treat The Stain

The first thing that you need to do is to pre-treat the stain using a heavy-duty liquid detergent. This will help to break down the stains and make cleaning even easier.

2) Work The Detergent In

Once applied to your fabric, you should then work the solution in using a soft-bristled brush. When working it in, make small circular motions until the entire stain is covered.

3) Rinse and Soak

The final stage is to then rinse the fabric well, leaving it to soak in warm water and an oxygen-based bleach. Ideally, you should leave the material in there for an hour before then washing the entire fabric in clean water.

How To Remove Mildew

Mildew is another very common type of stain on outdoor furniture fabric. This is a living organism that thrives on cotton fabric, slowly eating away and weakening the fabric, which is why you need to ensure you are removing it as soon as possible. To remove mildew, you need to:

1) Brush The Item Out

If you have noticed mildew, the first thing that you should do is to shake and brush out the fabric to prevent the mildew from spreading.

2) Pre-Treat The Stain

Once brushed out, you should then pre-treat the fabric with a heavy-duty detergent. As you would with a grass stain, work the detergent in slowly using a soft-bristled brush and leave it to work for around 15 minutes.

3) Wash The Fabric

The next stage would be to launder the fabric using the hottest wash possible – making sure you follow the instructions of the material you are washing. You should then dry the fabric by leaving it out in the sun.

4) Bleach White Fabric

If your white cushion covers are looking a little dirty still, then you can use an oxygen-based bleach to help restore that whiteness and leave your fabric looking as good as new. As always, when using bleach, make sure that you are following the instructions on the product label.

How To Remove Tree Sap

Tree sap is another very common stain on outdoor furniture and can be very damaging if not removed quickly. Tree sap can be very tough to remove, so it is very important that you take extra care when removing it.

1) Treat With A Stain Remover

The first thing that you should do is to treat the hard, waxy part of the tree sap using a heavy-duty detergent or an enzyme-based stain remover. You should leave this for around 15 minutes, ensuring that the sap is completely broken down.

2) Add A Detergent

Once you have broken down the sap, you can then add a heavy-duty detergent to the fabric. This will help you remove the stain, leaving your material looking its best.

3) Scrub Your Fabric

If the stains are stubborn, then gently scrub the detergent into the fabric using a soft-bristled brush, rinsing it in hot water as required.

4) Wash The Fabric

Finally, you should then wash the fabric on the hottest setting possible. Make sure that you follow the instructions on the label. For white fabrics, utilize a detergent or oxygen-based bleach to remove any discoloration.

How To Wash Outdoor Cushions

Are your outdoor furniture cushions in need of cleaning? Many cushion covers are able to go directly into the washer, using a heavy-duty detergent to remove any stains. You should take care when using a dryer, as this could cause the fabric to shrink, and use an iron on a low setting to remove any wrinkles.

For larger items that cannot fit into a washer, such as large pillows or an umbrella cover, then you will need to wash these manually. To do this, on a warm and sunny day, spread the fabric out on your patio or a plastic tarp, and scrub using warm water, a heavy-duty detergent, and a soft-bristled brush. Start in small sections and make sure you are rinsing it with water.

Leave the fabric in the sun to dry out, hanging it up from a clothesline, if possible, to ensure any standing water can drip away.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to keeping your outdoor furniture looking its best, then making sure that you are regularly cleaning them is essential. Stains and tree sap not only look unsightly, but they can also be very damaging, so keeping your fabrics clean will ensure that they not only look fantastic but will last for a long time, too.