3 Simple Steps to Clean Outdoor Furniture

3 Simple Steps to Clean Outdoor Furniture

Could your deck or patio seating use a little TLC? These tips can help.

By Debbie Koenig

The sun shines down, and dinner al fresco seems like the perfect plan. But when you pull out the patio furniture, your appetite disappears. Grime, stains, and mildew may make you want to eat indoors for the rest of the summer, but we’ve got good news: You’re just three steps away from sparkling clean furniture.

Before you start, look for care instructions attached to cushions or frames—some removable covers are machine-washable, and some wood furniture may require special treatment. In general, though, the basic procedure couldn’t be simpler:

1. Brush or vacuum away any leaves, pine needles, or other debris.

2. Scrub surfaces with a soft sponge and the appropriate cleaner. A quarter-cup of Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid dissolved in a gallon of warm water will give a thorough-but-gentle cleaning to most materials, including mesh fabric seats, metal, resin, wicker, wood, or plastic frames, and glass tabletops.

3. Rinse with a spray nozzle on your garden hose and leave the furniture to air-dry completely.

More from P&G everyday: The Ultimate Family To-Do List to Gear Up for Summer

Some special conditions may call for a little more work:

  • To remove soil or gunk that doesn’t come off with basic treatment, grab a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable. Dunk it in water, squeeze out the excess, and wipe away the grime (test on a small area first). Note that the Magic Eraser is not recommended for the following surfaces: high gloss, polished, dark, brushed, satin, faux, bare/polished wood, copper, stainless steel appliances, non-stick coating or vehicle body.
  • For rusted metal, carefully sand off the corrosion with sandpaper or steel wool. Wipe away any particles with a damp cloth, and let it dry completely. Coat with a rust-resistant primer, then top with rust-resistant spray paint.
  • On moldy or mildewed surfaces, you’ve got two options. The first works a little more reliably, but should only be used on surfaces you know to be bleach-safe: Fill a spray bottle with a solution of one tablespoon of bleach and one pint of warm water. Spray the mildewed area, then scrub gently and rinse thoroughly. When bleach isn’t advised, fill the spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar. Leave the vinegar-sprayed furniture in the sun for an hour or so, then wipe away any residue with a damp sponge.

Now that your furniture is ready for summer, you only need 30 minutes to clean that patio! And is your grill clean and prepped for dinner?

Debbie Koenig writes about family and food, and is the author of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too. Find her at debbiekoenig.com.

Image ©iStock.com/fallbrook


Become a member of P&G everyday and get exclusive offers!

Become a member

You also may like:

Garden Tool Cleanup Tips

7 Best Plants to Grow With Little Kids

Get Money-Saving Coupons on Favorite Cleaning Brands Like Tide and Dawn

Complete your personal information

Please fill in the information marked with an asterisk to proceed; if you want to get tailored offers and content, don't forget to fill in the optional fields.




My PVC furniture out side needs some cleaning this time of year so I use your Dawn wipes ! I just wet them and them scrub the table and chairs and then spray them off. I don't need the bucket just the wipes and hose.. you need to do more ads for this item outside of the kitchen !!!!

  • Report it