Whether your patio furniture is made of metal, aluminum, plastic, or wood, it’s going to need a scrub to get it ready for the summer season.  And those cushions?  Yep, even if you stored them indoors, it’s a good idea to give them a nice wash before putting them to use.  The elements can be hard on your patio furniture, but regular cleaning can help to protect it and keep it looking like new.  So how should you clean your outdoor furniture? Read on to find out.

1. If you have metal outdoor furniture

Mix a little dishwashing detergent in a bucket of warm water, grab a sponge, and scrub the surface of your metal patio set.  Rinse with water and allow furniture to dry completely.7

2. If you have aluminum outdoor furniture

Clean the surface of your aluminum patio furniture with some dishwashing detergent, warm water, and a very fine steel wool sponge.  You’ll want to test the sponge on a hidden area first to be sure that it won’t scratch the aluminum.  Rinse with water, and allow your furniture to dry completely.  To prevent oxidation, apply a coat of automotive paste wax to the furniture’s surface, and let it sit for a few minutes.  Remove the excess residue and polish with a clean cloth.8

3. If you have plastic outdoor furniture

Baking soda acts as a mild abrasive, and is perfect for keeping your plastic patio furniture looking like new.  Wet a sponge, squeeze out any excess water, and sprinkle some baking soda on top.  Scrub the furniture with the sponge and rinse with water, allowing the furniture to dry in full sun.  If you notice a little mold or mildew on your furniture, ¼ cup of white vinegar mixed with 1 quart of water should help.  Spray on and let it sit for 10-20 minutes, then rinse with water and let the furniture dry completely.9

4. If you have natural wood furniture

With a soft brush and wood cleaner, scrub the surface of your wooden patio furniture according to the directions on the cleaning solution container.  Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.  When finished, rinse with the garden hose and allow your furniture to dry in full sunlight.  If you don’t have any special wood cleaner handy, mix ¼ cup ammonia, and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, in one quart of water.  Rinse with water, and allow furniture to dry completely.  10

5. If you have fabric outdoor furniture cushions

If you’re lucky enough to have removable cushion covers on your patio furniture, simply take them off and follow the instructions on the washing tag to get ‘em nice and clean.  One important tip: put the covers back on the cushions when they’re still damp.  It’ll help to reduce any potential shrinkage.

If you can’t remove your cushion covers, a squirt of dish washing detergent and a teaspoon of borax in a quart of warm water can get them clean.  Wet the fabric with the cleaning solution and scrub lightly with a sponge.  Let the cushions soak for about 15 minutes, then rinse them with a garden hose with sprayer.  Allow them to dry fully before use.11