How to clean garden furniture: get your outdoor furniture ready for spring

Here's how to clean garden furniture to keep it looking as good as new

how to clean garden furniture
(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Knowing how to clean garden furniture properly is essential if you want to keep your purchases looking as good as new. Cleaning and storing your outdoor furniture correctly will also means it will last longer. 

Whether the best garden furniture is made of plastic, wood, metal, rattan or fake rattan, there are just four simple steps to cleaning it. The key things to remember are not to use any kind of bleach, even in a mild solution, as it could discolour the furniture.

And although using the best pressure washer is great for cleaning everything from patios to cars, they're too powerful for cleaning garden furniture, so don't be tempted to reach for yours. Instead, opt for your garden hose, set on a medium spray. If it's time for an upgrade, take a look at our guide to the best garden hose for every budget.

Whatever type of garden furniture you are cleaning, make sure you move any potted plants or decorative items out of the way before you start so you've got an empty space to work with.

How to clean garden furniture

Follow our step-by-step guide and ensure you get sparkling results every time. 

Step one: prepare your furniture for cleaning

how to clean garden furniture - remove cushions

(Image credit: Future)

Prepare your furniture by removing any cushions and giving them a wash or wipe down according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step two: get rid of loose dirt

how to clean garden furniture - remove loose dirt

(Image credit: Future)

You need to get rid of any fallen leaves, muck or moss from the surface of your furniture. Use a brush, like the one with your dustpan and brush set, to get rid of any stuck on debris, 

If you have an extension lead or a cordless vacuum you can take outside, you should then use your vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment to get rid of the dust that’s built up.

Step three: wash with soapy water

how to clean garden furniture - mix soapy water

(Image credit: Future)

Mix an eggcup full of washing up liquid with a bucket of warm water and use a soft cloth to wipe down the furniture and allow to soak for a few minutes. Make sure you get into all those nooks and crannies. 

If you have rattan or faux furniture, you might want to use an soft toothbrush – a child's one is best – to get any stubborn stains off where the fabrics overlay one another.

Step four: rinse with your garden hose

how to clean garden furniture - rinse

(Image credit: Future)

Rinse the furniture with your garden hose on a medium pressure setting until all the soap suds have been washed away. Don’t use a pressure washer as it will damage the furniture. Then allow the furniture to dry thoroughly.

How often should you clean garden furniture?

We'd recommend giving your furniture a clean using the steps above twice a year. Clean your furniture in spring when you uncover it for the first time to wash off any cobwebs or debris, and then clean it again before you put it back into storage in autumn.

How to store garden furniture

Even waterproof garden furniture is only designed to be left outside in showers, so you really should bring your furniture indoors during winter months. If you don’t have a shed or garage big enough to store your furniture in, then invest in a set of the best outdoor furniture covers from somewhere like Amazon and use rope or bungee cords to tie it down. Protecting your furniture from the elements will help keep it looking as good as new.

Finally, if you have wooden or metal garden furniture, it’ll need staining or coating once every couple of years. Make sure you take a look at our step-by-step guide to painting garden furniture before you start.

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