February 14, 2024

how to clean garden furniture

Ah, the British summer – a fleeting glimpse of sunshine amongst unpredictable showers and blustery winds. But while the weather may be fickle, one thing remains constant: our desire to enjoy our outdoor spaces. And what better way to do that than with comfortable and inviting garden furniture?

Of course, keeping your furniture looking its best requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Fear not, fellow UK garden enthusiast! This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to tackle any cleaning challenge, ensuring your garden furniture remains a haven for relaxation and al fresco dining throughout the season.

how to clean garden furniture-min
how to clean garden furniture-min

Assessing Your Arsenal:

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, let's understand your tools. Identify the material your furniture is made of, as different materials require specific cleaning methods. Here are the most common:

  • Wood: Classic and timeless, but requires regular care to prevent warping and rot.
  • Rattan/Wicker: Adds natural charm, but susceptible to mold and mildew if not cleaned properly
  • Metal: Durable and low-maintenance, but prone to rust if not cleaned regularly
  • Plastic: Easy to clean and versatile, but can fade in direct sunlight.

The Cleaning Cavalry:

Now, let's assemble your cleaning cavalry! Choose your weapons based on the material and grime level:

  • Warm, soapy water: The trusty classic, perfect for light cleaning of most materials. Add a few drops of dish soap for extra cleaning power.
  • Baking soda: A natural cleaning agent, ideal for removing stubborn stains and neutralizing odors.
  • White vinegar: Diluted with water, it tackles mold and mildew on wood and wicker without harsh chemicals.
  • Commercial cleaners: Opt for products specifically designed for your furniture material, following the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Battle Plan: Material-Specific Strategies:


  • Regular cleaning: Wash with warm soapy water and a soft sponge. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely.
  • Stains: For stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply gently, leave for 15 minutes, then rinse.
  • Mold and mildew: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Apply to affected areas, leave for 30 minutes, then scrub with a soft brush and rinse.


  • Vacuuming: Remove loose dirt and debris with a soft brush attachment.
  • Washing: Use a mild soap solution and a soft sponge, avoiding soaking the furniture. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely.
  • Mold and mildew: Similar to wood, use a diluted white vinegar solution to combat mold and mildew.


  • Warm soapy water: Your go-to for regular cleaning. Add baking soda for extra grime removal.
  • Rust removal: For small rust spots, apply a paste of baking soda and water. Leave for 30 minutes, scrub with a brush, and rinse.
  • Heavy rust: Seek professional cleaning or refinishing for heavily rusted furniture.


  • Warm soapy water: The usual suspect for regular cleaning. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Stubborn stains: Apply a baking soda paste for 15 minutes, then scrub and rinse.
  • Sun fading: Consider using a plastic furniture protectant to mitigate sun damage.

Pro Tips for the UK Climate:

  • Clean regularly: Aim for weekly cleaning during peak summer months and monthly cleaning during milder seasons.
  • Address spills promptly: Don't let stains settle, as they become harder to remove later.
  • Store furniture properly: When not in use, store your furniture indoors or under a cover to protect it from harsh weather.
  • Winterize your furniture: During winter, cover or store your furniture to prevent frost damage and moisture build-up.

Enjoying Your Victory Lap:

By following these cleaning strategies and pro tips, you'll ensure your garden furniture remains not only clean but also protected from the elements. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautiful outdoor space, knowing your furniture is ready to weather any British storm (or drizzle)!

Cleaning Garden Furniture FAQs

Q: What if my furniture has a different material, like fabric or concrete?

A: Always check the manufacturer's care instructions for specific materials. Fabric cushions may require spot cleaning or professional cleaning, while concrete may need special cleaners to avoid damage.

Q: Are there any cleaning products I should avoid?

A: Avoid harsh chemicals, bleach, and abrasive cleaners, as they can damage your furniture. Stick to gentle soaps, baking soda, and white vinegar solutions for most materials.

Q: Is it safe to use a pressure washer on my garden furniture?

A: Generally, avoid pressure washers, as they can damage the material and loosen joints. Stick to manual cleaning methods for best results.

Q: Where can I buy cleaning products specifically for garden furniture?

A: DIY stores, supermarkets, and online retailers offer a variety of garden furniture cleaning products. Choose one specifically designed for your furniture material.

Q: How often should I reapply protective sealants or paint to my furniture?

A: This depends on the material and manufacturer's recommendations. Typically, wood needs resealing every 1-2 years, while metal furniture may need touch-up paint occasionally.

Q: My furniture has seen better days. Is it worth refurbishing or should I buy new?

A: Consider the extent of damage, your budget, and sentimental value. Minor repairs and cleaning may revitalize your existing furniture. For extensive damage, buying new might be more cost-effective.

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