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Outdoor Furniture Cleaning & Care Tips

Cleaning, maintaining, and protecting your outdoor furniture ensures you can enjoy your patio essentials for years to come. Since these maintenance tasks vary by material, keep these tips and tricks in mind when caring for your outdoor patio investment.

Wood and Synthetic Wicker

When it comes to synthetic wicker furniture,a damp cloth with light detergent or oil-based soap is all you need to clean up small spills. Wicker cannot withstand too much water or harsh detergents, so it’s best to clean on a regular basis to prevent mildew buildup. For larger jobs, like getting furniture ready for a new season, the pieces can be washed outside with a garden hose and light detergent. Make sure to rinse the wicker well and let dry completely before use. 

Some woods also need to be oiled as part of their maintenance plan. Teak and cedar can be treated annually with a protective oil, whereas eucalyptus needs to be treated on a regular basis with a water-based, acrylic sealant.

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Seat Cushion Fabric

To clean fabric seat cushions, use a soft bristle brush to loosen dirt and grime, then follow it with soap and warm water to lift the stain. Allow the cushion to dry completely before use. Regardless of fabric, it’s best to bring cushions inside during inclement weather, especially during winter months. If space is limited, consider investing in furniture covers to provide protection from the elements. You can also store covers in outdoor storage boxes to protect them from the elements.

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Metal, Iron, and Aluminum

When it’s time to clean metal, iron, or aluminum outdoor furniture, use a mild soap solution, followed by a water rinse. Dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which may include an additional step of applying liquid or paste wax to the pieces. Aluminum is highly susceptible to oxidation, so before you clean it, use a metal polish paste to remove as much of the staining as possible. To protect wrought iron from rust, consider adding a powder coat finish.

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To clean outdoor furniture made made from glass, remove stubborn debris with a non-abrasive cleaning pad designed for delicate surfaces, and remove the remaining spill with a mixture of dish detergent and warm water. Once the glass is clean, spray with white vinegar or glass cleaner and wipe dry. Make sure to repeat the process with the underside for a crystal clear finish.  


If your umbrella can be removed from the base and other mechanics, it can be thrown into the wash on a cold cycle with normal detergent and then air dried.  Do not put the fabric in the dryer. For fixed umbrellas, first open the umbrella and lay it in the grass, on it side. You may want to place a tarp between the umbrella and grass to keep dirt at bay. Use a dry, stiff brush to wipe away any extra debris, working your way across the entire surface. Wet the entire surface with a garden hose, and once saturated, scrub with the stiff brush and mild cleanser. Rinse the umbrella fully – including underneath – so water runs clear. Leave open to dry in the sun.


As always, consult the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning. They may have additional suggestions you can incorporate into the cleaning routine.

If that doesn’t do the trick, get in touch with a Watson’s outdoor furniture expert. We’re happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding the care for and cleaning of your outdoor furniture.

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