Cleaning Outdoor Furniture After a Long Winter

Winter is finally over and you’re looking forward to spring with growing confidence in the weather. You’re getting ready to use your grill, spend some time in the garden, and generally be outdoors after several months inside.

However, before you get to enjoy the warmer weather you should pay close attention to your outdoor furniture. Unless you have a good storage set-up for your pieces, your outdoor items will likely need some serious TLC after a season of rain, hail, and snow.

Luckily, we’ve put together a list of useful cleaning tips when it comes to getting your outdoor furniture into shape after a long winter:

First Thing’s First

No matter the material, your outdoor furniture is likely dirty after a season outdoors or in storage, and will need to be cleared off debris. Start by brushing or vacuuming your pieces to remove any obvious dirt and grime. Then proceed to wash everything down with warm, soapy water, and rinse.

Don’t Get Carried Away

It may be tempting to use a power washer on your pieces to clean them quickly. While efficient in the short term, you actually run the risk of damaging your furniture. Forgo the power washer and opt for a hands-on approach to ensure the sustainability of your pieces.


Wicker is a great aesthetic choice for outdoor furniture, but can be tricky to maintain. The best way to clean wicker items is to gently wipe them down with a sponge or rag, being careful not to chip any paint, and tucking in any loose strands. If that isn’t enough, giving wicker a fresh coat of paint offers the piece a new lease of life.


Plastic is a firm favorite in many peoples’ outdoor spaces because of how easy it is to maintain, and its inexpensive price tag. It’s certainly easier to clean than other materials – to give it a general clean, mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid with warm water, and wipe the piece clean with a towel or rag. Make sure you’re using a dishwashing soap that won’t damage your hands and that is generally skin-friendly – after all, these pieces will be coming into contact with your skin, so you want to make sure you aren’t using any irritants where possible. If, after a general clean with dishwashing liquid and water, your plastic furniture is still looking less than fresh, you can move on to a bleach and water combination – just make sure you use rubber gloves!


As a general rule, you can get most of the grime off wooden furniture by using a dishwashing liquid and water solution. However, if you need to do a deeper clean, you can use a scrub brush at the same time, or even sand down the wood to remove surface dirt.


The biggest concern with metal furniture is rust. If you find any, sand it down and consider repainting the piece to help prevent the issue from reoccurring. If the rust persists, make sure you keep your pieces covered during colder seasons as well, as rain and snow can be contributing factors to the problem.


Sunlight damages fabric, which makes it harder to take care of. When it comes to keeping your fabrics clean, using soapy, warm water is always a safe bet. Take care to read the instructions on the material’s care tag to determine if there are specific cleaning instructions you should follow. If the fabric is removable, even better!

You can put it through it the washing machine at a gentle cycle. OpenWorks is guided by a simple philosophy: A cleaner, safer and healthier environment means a more productive workplace.

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