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Easy Garden Furniture Cleaning Tips


It is a task that needs doing often and so any garden furniture cleaning hacks are welcome. We discuss some of the techniques for making it easier.

If you are enjoying the 2018 summer heatwave, you are probably spending more time in your garden than in your home. And that means your garden furniture, including your outdoor dining set, is working hard.

Before you start scrubbing and brushing, you need to make sure you have the right technique, tools and materials for the material your garden furniture is made from.

Always test any cleaning solution too, on the garden bench, the outdoor dining furniture set or whatever it is you are cleaning so you can see if it works without damaging it.


Teak garden furniture

Teak is a hardwood, ideal for garden furniture (especially outdoor dining furniture and benches) as it withstands weather well. But it does need some help to stay looking fabulous;

  • Clean on a regular basis
  • Brush down with a soft brush
  • Wash with warm water and allow to air dry

If you have more stubborn stains, consider using a solution of 200ml white vinegar diluted in 3 litres of water. This slightly acidic solution will lift most ingrained dirt without damaging the wood.

Once clean, consider using a teak oil (or Danish oil) to form a protective layer on the wood.

The important thing to understand with wood is that it shrinks and swells as the weather changes and so putting on a hard layer of varnish or exterior gloss paint may look fabulous.

However, hard varnish stops this natural movement in the wood and can lead to it cracking, peeling and looking a bit of an eyesore.


  • Metal brushes
  • Harsh cleaning solutions
  • Power washers


Metal garden furniture

From chic bistro sets to metal and glass tables outdoor dining sets, the use of metal as a material for outdoor furniture is not uncommon.

However, there are two issues with it – depending on the metal it can rust from being left out in the rain and secondly, the joints on folding chairs can start to seize.

If there are no such issues with your metal garden set, then give it a brush and a wash, leave to dry and it should look fabulous.

If, however, it needs something extra, give it a clean and then, using wire wool, give it a gentle ‘exfoliation’! Use a specialist metal paint and give it several days to dry. You can paint it on with a brush or there is now a range of spray paints that work well (but protect the surrounding area!).


Rattan garden furniture

Another popular material – and no wonder, the rattan garden furniture sets are a delight to the eye – that is both affordable and easy to maintain.

From sofas to sun loungers, dining sets and more, rattan is like wood in that it is a living, natural material. Although incredibly tough, it doesn’t like to be treated too rough;

  • A soft bristled brush to get rid of dust, cobwebs and detritus
  • Wash down with warm water and a gentle detergent
  • Allow to dry, preferably in the breeze and shade, not in direct sun

Like teak outdoor dining furniture and benches, avoid using a power washer on rattan.


Plastic garden furniture

Fun, colourful and lightweight, the range of moulded plastic chairs and tables for the garden have increased in recent years.

And plastic is an incredibly hardwearing material although the environmentally conscious amongst you may be asking how plastic garden items are recycled when you no longer want them…

As a material, it is easy to keep clean and can take a lot of vigorous scrubbing;

  • After brushing down, wash the plastic garden furniture with hot water and a detergent
  • There are some specialist plastic furniture cleaners that help to lift ground-in stains but check its garden-friendly properties before you buy
  • Plastic garden furniture can be power washed too


In summary

The garden is an extension of your home. It is understandable that you want to keep your garden furniture clean and in a good state of repair;

  • Regular cleaning is key because this way, stains and damage don’t happen
  • A soft brush is a great cleaning tool and is all that is needed to knock the dust off
  • A soft cloth a bowl of warm water with a squirt of ordinary washing up liquid is usually all that you need to keep it looking great. Don’t forget to clean outdoor cushions
  • If you need a cleaning fluid with a bit more poke, consider making your own such as a mix of warm water and white vinegar
Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

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