Wear and tear or dirt and dust, if your patio furniture has some battle scars it just means you’re doing it right and enjoying your pieces as they are intended. That said, properly cleaning and maintaining your outdoor furniture will ensure they’re able to fight that good fight for many more years to come and look good doing it.
While basic best practices apply to nearly any type of outdoor furniture—like regularly removing debris, applying a solution of mild soap and water while scrubbing gently, and rinsing thoroughly—every patio furniture material requires a slightly different care and cleaning approach. That is why our outdoor living experts have created this guide to provide you with their recommended techniques that will clean your prized patio investments without damaging them.
Teak Furniture Care, Cleaning, and Sealing
One of the most popular patio furniture materials, teak furniture is renowned for its durability against outside elements, not to mention rot and pests. While new teak furniture maintains a beautiful gold hue, its color will gradually change to a silver-gray over time, unless maintained properly.
- Create a mixture of 50% warm water and 50% laundry detergent or 50% warm water and 50% vinegar
- Use a stiff-bristled scrub brush to clean areas with ground-in dirt
- Thoroughly rinse away any soap residue
- Avoid letting furniture sit on wet ground or puddles and allow it to dry in the sun
- Do not paint or stain furniture without products specifically recommended for teak
- Wet your teak surface
- Apply Royal Teak Collection Teak Cleaner with a soft cloth
- Let solution sit for about 3 minutes
- Use a bristle brush and brush with the grain of the teak
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water
If you want your teak to retain its natural golden color, use tung oil, linseed oil, or a teak sealer to treat the wood. Only use teak oil after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned. Oil should be re-applied every 2 to 3 months. With each application, your teak surface should be washed and fully dry before applying oil.
Aluminum Furniture Care & Cleaning
Aluminum patio furniture has remained the top choice for consumers for nearly a century. Durable, heavy-duty, and attractive, aluminum outdoor furniture (whether cast aluminum or extruded aluminum) requires minimal care to keep your pieces looking like new, and the wide array of available styles match any outdoor space.
Caring for Aluminum Furniture
- For any discoloration on furniture, clean with mild soap and warm water
- If rough to the touch, smooth the surface with steel wool and soap (be sure to remove all traces of steel wool after cleaning)
- Drain any water that has accumulated inside the frame by removing foot caps
- Avoid using harsh commercial cleaners on anodized aluminum
Cleaning Aluminum Furniture
- Spray a commercial cleaner onto the aluminum
- Scrub all surfaces of the furniture with a soft-bristled brush or sponge
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water
- Let furniture air dry (preferably in filtered sunlight or partial shade) completely before putting cushions back on or storing
To remove oxidation from aluminum furniture, apply a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, or with a metal polishing paste. If it is heavily oxidized, you may need to use a power washer or sand blaster. You may also want to refinish the cast aluminum with rust-preventing exterior spray paint.
Wrought Iron Furniture Care & Cleaning
Wrought iron patio furniture adds rustic charm to your outdoor space. Like all other types of metal patio furniture, however, wrought iron will rust over time if not cared for properly. Whether you own a wrought iron patio set or an individual piece, all wrought iron furniture will require minor maintenance.
Cleaning & Waxing Wrought Iron Furniture
- Thoroughly wash wrought iron furniture with mild soap and water
- Allow to completely air dry
- Apply an automotive spray wax to your wrought iron patio set
- Remove any grease spots as soon as possible to avoid iron discoloration
Painting & Removing Rust from Wrought Iron Furniture
- Wash the affected area with soap and water
- Allow the area to dry fully
- Using a medium weight sandpaper, smooth out the scratched or rusted area
- Apply a matching touch-up paint designed for metal materials to help guard against rust
We recommend cleaning and waxing wrought iron furniture at least one to two times per year or more frequently as needed. This will keep your pieces looking beautiful for many seasons to come.
Wicker Furniture Care & Cleaning
Wicker patio furniture remains a popular choice for many outdoor spaces. Resin wicker naturally resists the elements better than wicker made from organic plant fibers. The smooth, hard surface of resin wicker allows it to easily repel dirt and stains. Although resin wicker remains durable, the following tips will allow you to greatly extend the life of your furniture.
Caring for Resin Wicker Furniture
- Move wicker furniture under cover or inside during inclement weather if possible
- Avoid direct contact with chlorine and saltwater
- If near saltwater, rinse your furniture weekly
- Keep furniture a safe distance away from open flames or artificial heat
Cleaning for Resin Wicker Furniture
- Remove cushions and fabric seat covers and clean separately
- Use a vacuum or a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt or debris
- Prepare solution of warm water and non-bleach detergent or mild dish soap (avoid abrasive cleaners)
- Scrub all surfaces with soft-bristled brush or sponge, then rinse thoroughly with clean water
- Let furniture air dry completely (preferably in filtered sunlight or partial shade)
Recycled Plastic, HDPE, & Marine Grade Polymer Furniture Care & Cleaning
An environmentally friendly option, recycled plastic, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Marine Grade Polymer (MGP) outdoor furniture are made from 100% reprocessed materials and are excellent additions to any porch or patio. Perfect for any climate, these materials are strong, durable, and incredibly easy to care for and clean.
Caring for Recycled Plastic, HDPE, & MGP Furniture
- Regularly wipe and remove dust and dirt from surface
- Position the furniture to avoid prolonged direct sunlight to prevent color fading
- Don't keep near extreme heat sources, which can affect material stability
- Avoid teak oil and other products that can stain the finish
Cleaning for Recycled Plastic, HDPE, & MGP Furniture
- Remove loose dust or debris from furniture and rinse completely
- Mix a solution of mild soap or non-bleach laundry detergent with water
- Use a washcloth to apply the soapy water and allow to sit for a few minutes
- Using a rag or soft bristled brush, scrub all surfaces
- To remove oil or grease stains you can use citrus cleaner, alcohol or mineral spirits
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water and furniture to air dry
During the off-season, your outdoor furniture should be stored in dry, well-ventilated areas following a thorough cleaning. Make sure pieces are allowed to fully drain and air dry before stacking upright indoors. We then recommend covering your pieces with a patio furniture cover—preferably one that is breathable to prevent moisture build up and the growth of mold. By properly caring for and cleaning your outdoor furniture, you can extend the lifespan of your pieces and keep them looking bold and beautiful.