How to Clean Patio Furniture and Enjoy Your Outdoor Space!

Last Updated on April 20, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster

Kick off spring with a clean patio!  Deck and patio furniture often takes a beating over the winter leaving it dull, dirty, and gross when spring rolls around.  Here are a few tips on how to clean patio furniture so you can enjoy your outdoor living space as the weather warms up. 

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How to Clean Patio Furniture


When old patio furniture is functional but UGLY

I love spending time out on my patio in the spring and summer.  However, living in the moldy, pollen loaded south meant that I had to learn how to clean patio furniture the first year we bought this house.

The people we bought the house from were getting divorced and neither one wanted the patio furniture so they asked if we wanted to keep it.  Not being the type to turn down free stuff, we said yes.  

That was 8 years ago and that patio furniture is still sitting on my back patio.  It’s old and faded but still functional so we will not be investing in NEW patio furniture any time soon.  I just can’t justify spending the money when the stuff out there is still working just fine.  I do spend a lot of time drooling over new patio furniture but for now, it isn’t in the budget!

How to Clean Patio Furniture

Easy to clean patio furniture is worth it’s weight in gold

While our current patio furniture might be functional, it definitely needs regular cleaning. Cleaning patio furniture is one of those dreaded chores that I tackle every spring even though I detest doing it.  

It is truly amazing how much nicer your patio will look if you just spend a few hours cleaning the furniture!  It is not an easy chore but you will definitely appreciate being able to sit on your patio in chairs that have not been pooped on by birds or have 2 years of crud built up on them.

How to Clean Patio Furniture


How to Clean Patio Furniture

If you are looking for some ways to spruce up your back yard this summer, here are some tips on how to clean patio furniture.

Choose the right location: 

This step is key in knowing how to clean patio furniture. You are going to be using a lot of water.  Make sure to choose a location for cleaning patio furniture that has good drainage and won’t get muddy.  We have a stone patio so I leave it right where it is.  Driveways are also good locations.  Make sure you have access to a hose.  You are not going to want to keep refilling buckets!

Pre-rinse your furniture:  

Wetting everything down before you start will allow the dirt and crud time to start softening up before you scrub.  You may also want to wet things down as you work…do one chair and rinse it, spraying everything else at the same time.  You will be thankful you did this and it will make cleaning patio furniture easier if the dirt is already loosened up.

Choose the right cleaner:  

Even if you use traditional cleaners in your house, choose an environmentally friendly option for cleaning patio furniture.  Why?  Because inside, those chemicals go down your drain and head to a water treatment facility for processing.   Cleaning patio furniture outside means that those chemicals are running down your driveway and into the nearest stream.  Choose eco friendly products whenever possible to lessen your impact on the environment.  A great cleaning solution would be a bucket full of water with a bit of vinegar and all natural dish soap. Need something a bit stronger?  Here is an affiliate link for Simple Green Cleaner.  I have used it many times and it works well.

Choose the right cleaning instrument: 

The most important thing in learning how to clean patio furniture is that you are going to need to SCRUB.  This outdoor crud will not come off easily.  Choose a brush with stiff bristles or a sponge with a scrubber side to it.  If you have white patio furniture like I do, here is an affiliate link for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  Honestly, those things are amazing!  After scrubbing, my table top was still a bit dirty so I tacked it with a magic eraser and it is SO much cleaner now!  I hope whoever invented those things has been given an award!

Start from top to bottom.  

This might seem like a simple concept but you don’t want to get all the way through cleaning your table top only to remember that you forgot to clean the umbrella.  You will just be creating a ton more work for yourself.  Start high and work your way down.

Rinse with sponge in hand:

You will, most likely, miss a few spots.  Rather than turning off your hose and walking around to find your sponge just rinse with a soapy sponge in hand.  That way, as you rinse you can scrub a tiny spot that you missed without much hassle.

How to Clean Patio Furniture

Let your patio furniture dry in the sun:  

After cleaning patio furniture, it is a waste of time to dry it by hand.  Just place the furniture in a sunny spot and let Mother Nature take care of it for you.

Remove wax residue if present:  

My husband has a bad habit of burning citronella candles out on the patio without a candle holder or tray under them.  As a result, we do occasionally get wax on the table that can be difficult to remove.  Don’t try scrubbing, you will probably not be successful!  Instead, scrape the wax off with a putty knife, credit card, razor blade or any other thin, flat object you have on hand. Use a blow dryer to heat the candle wax if it is being stubborn.    Scrap the candle wax off with an old credit card or other flat item and  pour rubbing alcohol on any remaining residue before wiping it off.

How to Clean Patio Furniture

Check the  mechanics of your furniture while cleaning:

Wouldn’t want someone to sit on your patio furniture and collapse on the ground, right?  Check the nuts and bolts that are holding your furniture together and make sure they are sturdy and secure.

Don’t forget to decorate!

A pretty new tablecloth, candle or patio decorations will make your patio furniture look even more impressive.  Make sure you choose something specifically designed for outdoor decorating or only set it out on special occasions.

clean plastic patio furniture

When Patio Furniture Won’t Come Clean

For more information on how to clean patio furniture, check out the How To Clean Anything website.   Or, if you think your patio needs more than just spring cleaning, read my post on  patio upgrade ideas for a whole new outdoor living space. Looking for a frugal patio upgrade?  Try spray painting plastic outdoor furniture for a clean new look for your old lawn chairs and tables! Will you be cleaning patio furniture this summer?

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  1. No patio or patio furniture here but we do have a picnic table in need of some TLC.

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