How to Clean and Maintain Your Wood and Metal Outdoor Furniture

Care guide on wooden and metal outdoor furniture

Nobody likes to eat outside at a filthy table or sit on a dusty patio chair. To keep the patio furniture in excellent shape, regular cleanings are essential. For effective results, you must clean your outdoor furniture at least four times a year: at the start and the end of summer and a few times in between. Depending on the material, there are several ways to clean different patio furniture. We know how to properly clean furniture made of wood and metal. Your patio furniture will look new once you use these cleaning guides. To avoid corrosion and staining, store furniture indoors throughout the winter.

Wood and metal outdoor furniture

Importance of Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

Your outside area, whether a small patio or a big deck, is your private outdoor retreat, so treat it as such! This includes taking care of your outdoor furniture to ensure that your backyard space is always ready for use.

While cleaning patio furniture isn’t always enjoyable or interesting, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be difficult. Additionally, keeping up with your outdoor furniture is essential to extending its lifespan and getting the most out of your investment!

However, it’s easy to forget about your patio furniture when cleaning, and it is risky if you don’t adequately cover it. Nevertheless, by the guidelines listed below, you may lessen how frequently you have to clean the patio furniture.

How to Lessen Outdoor Furniture Cleaning Frequency

Before we get started on cleaning the patio furniture, let’s discuss the greatest preventative measures since the less cleaning we should be doing overall, the better, right?

Start by selecting outdoor furniture that is weather resistant. Wrought iron and stainless steel are perfect choices. Aside from its durability, metal furniture is also very easy to clean.

 If your patio furniture is not made of metal, you can use cushion coverings with technology that repels filth. This lessens the amount of washing required by preventing anything from bleach and mildew to food and water stains. Using top-notch coverings to preserve your outdoor furniture is another efficient approach to keeping it clean.

A patio umbrella cover is also a great option. The umbrella can help to protect your outdoor furniture from falling debris and UV rays, which can cause paint to fade. Just be sure what type, shape, and size of umbrella suit your yard.

How to Clean Wooden Outdoor Furniture

The majority of wooden garden tables and chairs are made of hardwoods, which may be cleaned and maintained similarly.

  1. Using a soft nylon bristles brush, remove any minor debris.
  2. Using a sponge or moist cloth, scrub the surface with lukewarm water and mild household soap.
  3. Make use of microfiber or lint-free towel to absorb any extra water.
  4. Let the wood naturally dry out.

wooden outdoor furniture

If you want to keep your wooden furniture’s original color, you have to clean it more often, treat it with furniture oil, and apply a thin coat of sealer. But if you want the other way around, you have to wash it once or twice a year, and it will fade to a lighter color. The frequency of cleaning them depends on the weather in your place and if they are protected. Maintenance is needed more frequently in places with drier temperatures and more sun exposure. If there are any spills, you have to treat them immediately to prevent discoloration.


Teak furniture eventually gets a nice silvery gray patina that is aesthetic and not a sign of dryness or a structural flaw. The natural oils that help maintain this hardwood healthy and resilient in different environments require relatively little care. Teak is so resistant to the elements that it doesn’t require winter storage or tarp protection.

The teak may be frequently oiled to maintain its original golden honey gloss. This is excellent if the furniture is indoors. However, the oiled teak is more susceptible to mildew when it is outside and may get uneven color. To preserve the teak’s natural color, you may apply a protective sealer rather than oil on it, or you may want to do both.

  1. Allow new teak furniture to spend a few weeks outside.
  2. Clean the wood.
  3. Create a thin sealant coat.
  4. Apply the second application after waiting an hour.
  5. Before using the furniture, wait another 4-5 hours.


Because of shorea’s high oil content and resistance to insects, this thick tropical hardwood is less likely to decay. Similar to teak, shorea develops a lovely silvery gray tint after being exposed to the elements. You need to gently clean the wood patio furniture once or twice a year if it’s fine with you.

You must oil the wood on a regular basis to maintain its warm reddish-brown color. Before using linseed, teak, or other oil or sealer on shorea, clean and dry it well. Test the oil on a little, inconspicuous spot first to be safe. Use a soft cloth or a small paintbrush to rub it in, then wait for the area to dry before deciding whether you like the color.


Compared to teak or shorea, this hardwood has less oil, making it less water-resistant. Eucalyptus may expand and contract in humid situations and regions with large seasonal temperature variations, affecting the structural stability of outdoor patio furniture. It is advisable to oil and seal eucalyptus using a polyurethane-type varnish only a few times a year to prevent cracking, which is the most frequent outcome. In addition to preserving the wood’s strength and guarding it against insects and decay, doing so will give eucalyptus a rich color and shiny sheen. Before applying 2-3 layers of protective sealant, clean and dry the furniture made of eucalyptus. Two hours should pass between applying each layer before adding the next.

After a rain, wipe up any standing water to reduce unwanted moisture contact. Strive to maintain eucalyptus tables and chairs from direct sunlight if your patio or outdoor space allows. Over time, the wood fiber might degrade due to UV rays, resulting in discoloration. When you aren’t using your furniture, you can extend its lifespan and keep it in peak condition by covering it with a breathable protective vinyl cover.


It was reported that this South American hardwood is three times as durable as teak and has many similar weathering characteristics. Ipe furniture will fade from its original dark brown hue to a pewter gray if kept outside. The structural strength of this durable wood will hold up over time despite the visual color loss. Light cleaning will usually be sufficient. However, you may clean ipe with more force than other hardwoods should tree sap or mildew accumulate on the surface. To remove or minimize challenging stains, use a firm brush, light soap, and water. With a hose, rinse any leftover residue, then allow air to dry.

Oil ipe three to four times a year to maintain its naturally dark color. However, you must let the furniture weather for 30 to 60 days before the initial oiling. This facilitates the oil’s penetration of the hardwood. Before applying the oil, it might be essential to lightly sand the surface to get rid of any small spots. On ipe sunroom furniture, varnish or wood sealants shouldn’t be used since the filmy covering will immediately flake and peel after application.

Don’t be concerned if the wood has a few tiny surface cracks or checks. As a result of continual exposure to the weather and varying temperatures, this is to be expected.

White Oak

Compared to other hardwoods in outdoor furniture, white oak has a low oil component yet is sturdy, waterproof, and rot-resistant. To maintain its original light or pigmented color, it must be oiled every year and sealed with an external urethane sealer or spar varnish. Restoring the oil content also aids in reducing weather checking, which can happen when the wood is left outside for a long time. White oak will eventually become dark brown or black if it is not sealed. However, waiting a season or two before applying one to new furniture would be a good idea. Instead of a clear lacquer concealing the wood’s original grain, you can also paint it white.

How to Deal with Mold and Mildew in your Wooden Outdoor Furniture

The deck chairs and tables may develop mold or mildew if you live in a warm, humid region. This fungus does not harm most hardwoods, but it may leave ugly stains and pose health concerns to people and animals. Despite the frequent recommendations for bleach-based cleaning solutions, some formulas have been shown to damage wood and create discolorations.

You have to step up your game if the wooden furniture still develops mold or mildew after standard cleaning. Use a sponge or soft-bristled brush to apply the resulting solution to the troubled region. Combine the components given below.

  • 1 cup of ammonia
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 gallon of warm to hot water

Sanding will be required to remove any mold that has penetrated the wood and is still there. If so, sand the wood using fine-grained paper before refinishing or oiling it.

How to Clean Metal Outdoor Furniture

Metal patio furniture sounds fantastic when it’s brand-new, but if it’s ignored and left to rust or stain, it can become a source of humiliation. Although most frames may be easily cleaned the same way, every metal has unique properties requiring careful handling.

  1. Take out any upholstered cushions and accent pillows.
  2. Use a garden hose to lightly spray your metal outdoor furniture frames to remove the bulk of the dirt and debris.
  3. Utilize a delicate cloth dipped in soapy water to clean the metallic surfaces.
  4. Wipe again with clean water after rinsing the towel.
  5. Dry using a low-abrasion or microfiber cloth.

Metal Outdoor Furniture

Pay close attention to any joints. Avoid using cleaners that include acids, solvents, alcohol, or other abrasives that might damage the surface.

Stainless Steel

Outdoor tables and furniture with hairline brushed steel frames provide a modern, expensive appearance. But even the smallest stain or discoloration can take away the elegant appearance. Metal may become soiled and stained due to greasy hands and precipitation. While furniture constructed of stainless steel of the 316 marine standards will not rust, furniture of the 304 and lower grades that have not been electrostatically polished are vulnerable, particularly in locations with salt air. Fortunately, many of these problems have easy fixes to maintain any stainless-steel outdoor furniture in excellent condition.

  • Greasy Fingerprints & Smudges: Rub the area with white vinegar using a soft, damp towel to remove the imperfections.
  • Water Marks: Clean the area thoroughly, remove excess water, and allow the surface to air dry in the shade.
  • Rust & Corrosion – Use a soft-bristled brush to lightly scrub the surface in the direction of the grain using a paste made of baking powder and water. After that, rinse the area well with clean water.

Galvanized Steel

A zinc oxide coating keeps this matte gray metal from corroding, although it gradually deteriorates. Regularly cleaning galvanized steel will help to slow down deterioration. Scrub the surface in tiny circular motions with a soft-bristled brush while using hot water and mild dishwashing liquid. Clean the surface with water, then use a microfiber towel to dry it.

Powder Coated Aluminum

Aluminum is simple to work with and may be utilized to make a wide range of unique patio furniture. Despite being sturdy and light, it is more prone to denting than other metals. When transferring metal furniture for storage or cleaning, please be careful. Dents reduce the protective quality of any coating and weaken the metal’s structural stability.

In heavy traffic outdoor settings, powder-coated aluminum patio furniture frequently becomes scratched. Before doing basic cleaning, it is advisable to get rid of any marks left by shoes, tools, toys, and lawnmowers. Most of the time, non-abrasive liquid cleansers will work. Using a soft towel and water, gently massage the cleaner onto any scratches. The majority of scuffs should be rather simple to remove. However, it could take a few tries.

If the initial powder coating has a gloss finish, baby oil or automotive wax will keep the sheen. You may repair scratches with touch-up kits, which manufacturers frequently sell, or you could spray a clear lacquer on the exposed metal to protect it.

Wrought Iron

Numerous wrought iron outdoor furniture items feature complex patterns, nooks, and crevices. Compared to other metal garden chairs and tables, this makes them a little more challenging to keep clean. It would be best if you started cleaning them by using a vacuum with a little brush attachment to get rid of as much of the small debris as possible because they tend to accumulate a lot of dust. Use a small nylon scrub brush or an old but clean toothbrush to clean tight curves and nooks while adhering to the fundamental metal cleaning procedures.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains on Metal Outdoor Furniture

On metal, water with a lot of minerals can eventually create a white, chalky deposit. These unattractive stains require a little more effort to remove.

  • Combine distilled white vinegar with water to create a mixture (25 percent vinegar for stainless steel and 50 percent for galvanized steel)
  • Use a spray bottle to spread the mixture onto the metal or a delicate cloth to massage it in gently.
  • Submerge a clean towel in warm water, then wring it out.
  • Utilize the damp towel to remove the vinegar solution.
  • Use a dry towel to clean the surface.

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