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7 Tips for Cleaning and Storing Outdoor Furniture

Renee Valdes
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Get tips for cleaning and storing outdoor furniture ll The Home Depot Garden Club

Don’t let changing temperatures and wet weather get the best of your outdoor furniture.

Protect your investment now by cleaning your patio furniture, including chairs, umbrellas and cushions. Also, make plans for storing outdoor furniture for when the season is done.

7 tips for cleaner patio furniture:

  1. Flat surface. Place outdoor furniture on the patio or driveway to avoid working on a surface that could become muddy. Remove all cushions and set aside.
  2. Wear gloves. Protect your hands (and your manicure) while you clean furniture. Wear rubber gloves.
  3. Hose down. Make sure your hose sprayer offers a forceful setting. Adjust the nozzle to that setting to blast any dirt or dust off furniture. It may be tempting to use a pressure washer, but they can damage wicker, wooden furniture and painted surfaces.
  4. Cleaning solution. Create a soapy solution in a bucket using a gallon of water with a quarter cup of environmentally safe, non-toxic, biodegradable all-purpose cleaner such as Simple Green. Thoroughly wet each piece of furniture with the soapy water to remove any remaining dirt. 
  5. Use the right tool for the right surface. Use a sponge to clean cushions, colored surfaces or wicker and use a scrub brush on wood, canvas and metal. Scrub wooden furniture in the direction of the grain.
  6. Rinse and repeat. If you’ve got tough stains, rinse and repeat.
  7. Let it dry. Allow your furniture to air dry or wipe it down with a cleaning cloth before putting it back to use or storing it away.

Tips for cleaning and storing outdoor furniture

Ways to Extend the life of your outdoor furniture

  • When not in use, cover your outdoor patio furniture with a furniture cover or tarp to keep elements at bay. Consider investing in heavy-duty patio furniture covers for extended protection, especially in extreme climates.
  • Tie covers in place so that brisk winds don’t blow them away.
  • For patio umbrellas, grills and patio heaters, look for furniture covers sized just right for them.
  • For furniture with flat surfaces, such as tables or ottomans, place a ball or upside-down planter in the center before covering. That will create tenting in the cover, forcing rain and snow to runoff rather than pool on the cover.
  • If you’re lucky enough to have space in your garage or shed, this is an ideal place for storing lawn furniture and accessories when seasons change and outdoor time is limited. Don’t forget to stack lightweight chairs to conserve space.


Get tips for storing outdoor furniture ll The Home Depot Garden Club


Another option is an outdoor deck box or ottoman with storage.

Though many cushions available today come with fade-resistant fabrics, storage ottomans or deck boxes are ideal places to stash them away to preserve them for seasons to come. Put them in large plastic trash bags or lock and seal bags for extra protection.

Looking for something for your outdoor room? Check out these options for outdoor furniture.

See our other lists for fall clean-up and maintenance:

Got questions about this article or any other garden topic? Go here now to post your gardening ideas, questions, kudos or complaints. We have gardening experts standing by to help you!