How to Clean Outdoor Wooden Furniture & Maintenance Tips

  • By: Mike Hale
  • Date: July 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Wooden patio furniture is expensive, which is why buying it is considered an investment. And much like every investment you make, you need to make sure it lasts you for years. To ensure that is the case with your wooden furniture, you need to buy the best patio furniture set (or DIY one yourself), clean it every day, deep clean it regularly, and keep it protected from outdoor elements, like rain and snow.

 If you want to learn more about how to clean outdoor wooden furniture and maintain it, you’ve come to the right place. The type of wood furniture you have determines the cleaning method you will use. 

The most common type of wood used to make outdoor furniture is hardwood because it is more long-lasting than softwood. However, softwood furniture is cheaper. Keep reading this guide to find out how you can clean and maintain softwood or hardwood furniture.

How to clean outdoor wooden furniture

How to Clean Outdoor Wooden Furniture

The general maintenance and cleaning tips include deep cleaning before the start and end of every season, keeping your furniture covered when not in use, and regularly cleaning it whenever dust accumulates.

Here are more details on the cleaning method for each type of wooden furniture.

1.    Shorea Wooden Furniture

Shorea is a type of wood that has high oil content and is thus, water-resistant. It is also quite durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, which means that it does not require much maintenance. When you set up your newly bought furniture, ensure to spray it lightly with water and wipe it with a piece of cloth to remove any dust.

To deep clean at the start and end of every season, you will need to spray the furniture with a hose lightly. Then, dip a cloth into a mixture of detergent soap and water and use it to scrub the furniture lightly. Once that is done, you will need to lightly wash the furniture with water again before letting it dry.

To maintain and preserve the color of the shorea furniture, you can apply a layer of high-quality hardwood or teak oil with a soft-bristle brush or a piece of cloth.

2.    Teakwood Furniture

Teak is another type of hardwood, and it shares many of the same properties as shorea. For that reason, the maintenance and cleaning method for both types of furniture is the same. You will need to do a seasonal deep cleaning with a water and detergent mixture and lightly spray the furniture with water whenever needed. However, with teakwood furniture, you will need to apply teak-oil routinely, especially during the warm and dry seasons.

3.    Ipe wood Furniture

This is another type of hardwood and is popularly known as ironwood and Brazilian walnut. It shares the same wear and tear properties as teakwood and shorea, so it requires the same type and frequency of cleaning. You will also need to apply hardwood or teak oil to the furniture every three months or whenever you think it is looking dull. Make sure the wood is completely dry of water before you apply the oil. However, depending on how many stains, cracks, and splinters there are on the wood, you will need to apply sandpaper to it as well.

4.    Softwood Furniture

Most softwood outdoor furniture is covered in paint, which chips off after a while. Thus, maintenance of this type of furniture requires repainting it every year or whenever needed. Moreover, you have to be extra careful while cleaning softwood since it is not scratch resistant.

To clean, make a mixture of detergent and water and scrub the wooden furniture with a soft brush. Since the wood is soft, don’t scrub too hard or perpendicularly across the grain.

Outdoor Wooden Furniture Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Now that you know the basics of how to clean outdoor wooden furniture, here are some things you should be careful about when doing so and other tips you can follow to keep your outdoor wooden furniture in pristine condition:

Don’t Use Pressure Washers.

Particularly with softwood, pressure washers should not be used. Water enters into the pores through pressure washers and pushes the grains out, making the wood less durable.

Use Bleach or Acid for Stronger Stains

If you’re unable to remove the stains using a water and soap detergent mixture, you can use bleach or acid. Make a mixture of powdered bleach with water and apply with a brush. Let the mixture rest on the wooden furniture for a while before washing it off with a garden hose. This is a fool-proof way of removing stains, but you can use a mixture of synthetic vinegar and water if you don’t have access to bleach. This may not be as powerful as bleach, but it might do the job.

Let the Furniture Dry

Drying your outdoor wooden furniture is crucial because it will not allow mildew and mold to form from the moisture. Hence once you are done cleaning the furniture with water, make sure you place the furniture under direct sunlight for a few hours.

Cover Your Furniture When Not in Use

When you are not using your outdoor furniture, you should put covers on top to prevent bird droppings or constant exposure to direct sunlight. This is a great way to make your outdoor furniture last for a long time. If you are confused about outdoor furniture covers and what cautions to take when you buy them, take a look at our helpful guide on outdoor furniture covers.

Make Your Own DIY Wooden Furniture Cleaner

You can use the aforementioned water and detergent mixer to clean your wooden furniture. If you want something stronger for regular use, you can make your own. All you will need to do is mix warm water with two tablespoons of vinegar and ¼ cup of ammonia.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to cleaning outdoor wooden furniture, you can use any aforementioned ways depending on the type of wooden furniture you have. Make sure to keep cleaning your furniture, even if it’s with water, to ensure it stays clean and durable for many seasons to come.