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How to Clean Outdoor Furniture & Get Back to Living Life Outdoors

Apr 14, 2023 John McGrann outdoor furniture Tips & Advice

There are few things quite as exciting as rescuing your outdoor furniture from hibernation after a long, cold winter and bringing your outdoor living space back to life.

But while you may be ready to get back outside, your patio furniture requires a bit of care before it is ready for the sun and shade. Quality furniture will last years, often decades, but only when it’s well cared for. And the key to that longevity? An annual spring cleaning. 

Different materials and fabrics require different cleaning regimes. And this is often where homeowners veer down the wrong cleaning path. A well-intended spring cleaning can end up damaging your outdoor furniture if you use the wrong products or cleaning methods. 

This month, our retail store manager and outdoor living specialist, Laura Luce-Wolgemuth, shares five furniture cleaning tips to help you get your patio furniture ready so you can get back to living life outdoors.

How to Clean Outdoor Furniture the Right Way

Laura coaches homeowners on the right – and wrong – ways to clean and protect their outdoor furniture. 

“Your outdoor furniture is an investment in your home and outdoor living space,” says Laura. “Caring for it with the right cleaning methods and products will help make sure that investment lasts decades, not just a few seasons.”

Here are Laura’s five most important cleaning tips to keep your furniture looking like new for years to come. 

    • Back Away from the Power Washer

It’s tempting, but using a power washer to clean metal and wood furniture can cause damage to even the highest-quality outdoor pieces. The powerful blast of water is too much for many of the finishes applied to keep outdoor furniture weather-resistant. 

Instead, choose a detergent designed specifically for your furniture type and use some good ‘ole fashioned elbow grease. 

    • Steer Clear of Harsh Chemicals and Abrasive Sponges

Chemicals and sponges can be just as damaging to your furniture as power washing. Read labels and make sure the cleaners you choose are made for your specific furniture. The finish on the furniture also plays a big role in the type of cleaners you can use. 

    • Wash Outdoor Fabrics with a Gentle Detergent

Your patio upholstery was designed to stand up to sun and rain, but it’s no match for harsh detergents. Gently wash outdoor fabrics with a mild detergent and a soft sponge or cloth to wipe away dust and debris that may have found their way onto your cushions over the winter. 

    • Keep Outdoor Fabrics Out of the Dryer

After you’ve gently washed your outdoor upholstery, let it dry in its natural habitat – outside under the sun. Never the dryer. Placing outdoor fabric in the dryer will start to break down the fibers and their ability to withstand hot sun and the occasional rain shower.

    • Don’t Forget to Wax Aluminum, Steel, and Composite Furniture

Just like your car, your aluminum and steel furniture as well as composite tables love the occasional wax. Not only will waxing protect your furniture, but it’ll also give them a springtime glow and help them look like new for longer.

Purchase from Trusted Outdoor Furniture Manufacturers that Provide Maintenance and Care Guidance

Most quality outdoor furniture manufacturers provide customers with cleaning tips and guidance on how to best care for their pieces. Here are care guides from four of the quality brands you’ll find when you visit the Penn Stone showroom.

Seaside Casual is one of the many furniture manufacturers that recommends a gentle cleanser for composite materials.

For aluminum furniture, Homecrest Outdoor Living offers a thorough cleaning and care guide. 

Fermob, one of Penn Stone’s most popular brands, offers an in-depth video showing how to clean and care for powder-coated aluminum furniture. 

Cleaning patio umbrellas requires a bit of a different cleaning technique. This cleaning guide from Sunbrella will help you clean your fabric so it stays clean and durable.

Laura and our team at Penn Stone are here to help you care for and prepare your outdoor living furniture for the upcoming season. Stop into our showroom at 190 West Ross Street in Lancaster, PA, or contact us and we’ll help you find the right cleaning products for your outdoor furniture this spring.

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