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7 Tips for Cleaning and Storing Outdoor Furniture

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 storage for when the season is done.


  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 and set the nozzle to it and 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 dishwashing liquid. Thoroughly wet each piece of furniture with the soapy water to remove any remaining dirt. If your furniture demands a deeper clean, use a non-toxic, biodegradable all-purpose cleaner that’s safe for the environment such as Simple Green.
  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.


When not in use, cover your furniture with a tarp or furniture cover to keep elements at bay. Consider investing in heavy-duty patio furniture covers for extended protection, especially in extreme climates. Be sure to tie the covers in place so that brisk winds don’t blow them away.

For patio umbrellas and heaters, look for 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. 

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 idea 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.


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