May Home Maintenance To-Do List

Cleaning outdoor patio furniture.
Cleaning outdoor patio furniture.

To-Do #8: Clean Outdoor Patio Furniture

Weather, temperature changes, the sun, and pollen can wreak havoc on outdoor patio furniture. Here are some quick tips for cleaning a variety of furniture materials.

Outdoor Furniture Cleaning Tips:

    • Wrought Iron: Scrub with soap, smooth rough spots with a wire brush or sandpaper, spray with a rust-inhibiting metal primer, and apply several coats of metal spray paint in the desired color.
    • Aluminum: Remove oxidation by scrubbing with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. Use automotive rubbing compound, or soap and very fine steel wool, to remove any oxidation, being careful not to scratch the aluminum. Rinse and allow to dry thoroughly, then apply automotive paste wax to protect the finish.
    • Plastic and Resin: Scrub with a dampened sponge sprinkled with baking soda to gently scour away grime. Remove mold and mildew by mixing up 1/4 cup white vinegar in a quart of water. Spray it on the surface, let it sit for 10-20 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and let the furniture dry in the sun. White furniture can be cleaned with a weak bleach solution. Shine the furniture by applying automotive paste wax.
    • Wood: Scrub cedar, redwood, and pine furniture with a solution of 1/4 cup ammonia and two tablespoons white vinegar per quart of water. Clean teakwood using a solution of laundry detergent, bleach, and water applied with a scrub brush. If desired, apply teak oil after the furniture has thoroughly dried.
  • Fabric: If fabric covers are machine washable, remove them and launder according to the instructions on the tag. Replace the covers on the cushions while still wet to reduce shrinkage and ensure a tight fit. Attached cushions can be cleaned by mixing a squirt of dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon of borax in a quart of water. Spray down the fabric and scrub with a sponge or soft brush, and allow to soak for 10-20 minutes. Rinse with a hose and allow to dry. Mildew stains can be removed using regular bleach for white fabrics and color-safe bleach or oxygen bleach for colored fabrics.

For more information, see our article on How To Clean Outdoor Patio Furniture.


  1. I was wondering if you needed projects for your TV show. I am a single mother of four children in Rhinelander, WI. I work full-time and have no family. My parents passed away 15 years ago. I know my dad would help if he were around! My home is 16 years old and needs lots of TLC, such as driveway sealing, more insulation, grass and roof help (lots of moss), repainting of front door, several vinyl siding pieces that need to be replaced, etc. I would appreciate any help you can give me. I am more than willing to help, but don’t know HOW to do most of these things. Thanks so much for considering my request.

  2. I wish you the best of luck Lisa!! This is a great post Danny. I recently helped my step father with a lot if these things and it can be a bit of a back breaking process if you don’t space them out. Another thing with summer is making sure your home is safe and secure with quality locks. I love summer but it can bring out some that are up to no good.

  3. I have a large bedroom floor approximately 12′ x 20′, half of the subfloor is wooden and the add on is concrete. Can I use real wood 5″ x 3/4″ planks for the entire coverage or do I have to use another type of flooring? My concern is that the concrete side will not allow the wood to acclimate.


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