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Is your garden furniture in need of a spruce up? Keeping your furnishings clean not only helps to keep them looking fantastic, but it also helps to extend their lifespan. Wood is one of the most popular materials for your outdoor furniture thanks to its aesthetic appeal and durability. However, it can also require a little more upkeep and care compared to other materials.

Continuous exposure to rain, sunlight, and other natural elements can quickly take their toll on the wood. This can cause your expensive furnishings to begin to look unsightly and deteriorate, so how do you clean outdoor furniture and get the most from your investment?

To help you keep your garden furniture in the best condition possible, this blog explores how often you should clean it, the tools you will need, and other maintenance techniques.

How often should you clean outdoor furniture?

When it comes to keeping your outdoor furniture in the best condition possible, there are several factors that you will need to consider. The first thing to remember is to always follow the maintenance instructions that came with the furniture; the manufacturer will clearly outline the timeframe and methods you should follow in order to keep your wooden furniture in the best condition possible.

For furniture made from the likes of eucalyptus, teak, and acacia, then a general rule of thumb to keep in mind is to consider cleaning it twice a year. However, this can vary depending on the weather conditions they are exposed to and how they are being stored:

Permanent Patio Layouts

Looking to clean outdoor furniture that remains on your patio throughout the year? In this instance, it might be best to consider cleaning it three times a year. You should first focus on giving the chairs and tables a good scrub ahead of the summer season to remove any grime and dirt that might have built up over the winter.

You should then give it a quick brush and clean during the summer months to ensure they remain looking their best and then a final update before you place them back in storage for winter.

Seasonal Use

If you are planning on storing your outdoor furniture for the winter months, then you may only want to clean them ahead of putting them away and then again before getting them out again the following year.

Under Cover

Placing covers over your chairs and tables will help to protect your belongings and reduce how often you need to clean outdoor furniture. These covers are typically made from breathable materials that will protect them from the elements and minimize the dirt and grime that builds up, ensuring you will only need to clean your furniture once a year.

Necessary touch-ups

In order to keep your furniture in the very best condition possible, then regular touch-ups are a great way to protect them from the elements. Over time, everyday use, as well as things such as spillages, suntan lotion, and bird droppings, can damage the wood. That is why you should make sure you clean these up as soon as possible when they occur.

What tools do you need to clean outdoor furniture?

No matter whether you are looking to clean outdoor furniture once a year or regularly every few months, the right tools are essential. While pressure washing might be the quickest and easiest solution, the strong jets can damage the wood. That is why to guarantee a thorough clean without causing harm; you will need:

  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Cleaning sponge
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Silicone lubricant spray
  • Wood stains
  • Paintbrush
  • Mild dish soap
  • Warm water and a bucket
  • Low-pressure hose
  • Fine-grit sanding paper or steel wool.

How to clean outdoor furniture

Once you have been able to gather the tools that you need, it is now time to start the cleaning process. This can be a time-consuming task to complete thoroughly, but the more care you take at this stage, the longer the lifespan of your furniture will be.

Before you do begin the cleaning process, make sure that you test any sealants or stains that you are using on an inconspicuous area that is out of sight from everyday use. When you are confident that it hasn’t caused any issues and will not harm your furniture, you can move on to the deep clean.

Step one – surface clean

The first thing that you should do is to use your soft-bristled brush to remove any loose debris and dirt from the surface of your furniture. During this process, you can also check for any signs of mold, paint chipping, or damage that you will need to repair.

Step two – rust removal

When you have been able to remove the surface debris, you can then move on to inspect any metal components for signs of rust. If you do notice unsightly rust, you can remove it using your sandpaper or steel wool.

Step three – wash it

When you are confident that all debris and rust have been removed, you can then wash the furniture down with a warm water and soap solution. When removing stubborn dirt or grime, make sure that you gently scrub the furniture in the direction of the grain.

Step four – rinse and dry

After giving your outdoor furniture a thorough scrub, you can then rinse it again with a low pressure hose to remove any soapy residue that might be remaining. Once clean, you should then use a towel to remove any pooled water and then let the furniture fully dry. This can take several hours, so it is best to leave it for a day to guarantee the wood is dry.

Step five – smooth it out

Once the wood is completely dry, you can then smooth out any ridges or rough surfaces using sandpaper. As with scrubbing, move the sandpaper in the direction of the grain and then make sure that you are vacuuming or brushing away any particles; for heaving sanding, it might be best to rinse the furniture once again to ensure all particles are removed.

Step six – stain or seal it

When completely dry, your next step is to ensure that you are thoroughly sealing the wood. This can be through paint, sealant, primer, or wood stain; just remember to ensure that you are covering the entire exterior to keep it protected from the elements.

Step seven – lubricate it

Finally, you should then lubricate any moving parts such as hinges, gliders, and wheels. This will not only prevent them from squeaking, but it will also guarantee smooth movement and motion.

Final Thoughts

No matter whether you are planning on hosting a BBQ with your loved ones or you simply want to get your garden ready for summer, clean outdoor furniture is essential. While it can be a time-consuming task, taking the time to remove any dirt will ensure that your furniture remains in the very best condition for as long as possible.