How to Clean and Stain Outdoor Wood Furniture

Danny Lipford and Julie Day Jones staining wood furniture.

Outdoor wood furniture needs to be cleaned and stained from time to time to protect it from the elements. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Clean the wood with a quality deck cleaner and brightener, such as Flood Cleaner/Brightener, following the instructions on the container. Wear safety glasses, rubber gloves, and protective clothing with working with strong cleaners.
  2. Rinse the cleaner off the furniture with a garden hose, and allow it to dry thoroughly (24-48 hours or more).
  3. For a two-tone stain, apply masking tape to keep the two colors separate.
  4. Use a quality, exterior stain, and stir it thoroughly before application.
  5. Stain the main part of the furniture using a 3” paintbrush.
  6. Remove the masking tape and stain the remaining parts of the furniture with the accent stain color.
  7. Allow the furniture to dry for 24 hours or more before using.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

If you have wood outdoor furniture, you need to protect it from the elements. And whether it’s brand new or already weathered, here are the steps to help guarantee years of useful service.

For wood that has been outside long enough to turn gray, dingy, and covered with mildew, you need to thoroughly clean the wood and open its pores. A good-quality wood cleaner is perfect to prep old, weathered wood.

Because it’s a concentrate, we’re going to dilute it a little bit with water. This is still strong cleaner, so proper protection is a must. With safety glasses and rubber gloves in place, we’re using a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the surface with the cleaner and allow it to work for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off. For really dirty surfaces, a second washing may be necessary.

Once the bench has been rinsed clean, allow a full 24-48 hours for the wood to completely dry. After the bench is dry, find a shaded area and place a drop cloth down to protect the ground’s surface.

For our bench and chair, we’re applying stain on the lower sections in one color, and to help prevent any bleed-over, we’re using a painter’s tape to mask off between the two colors. Choose any color that matches your exterior décor, but for a little added interest, you may want to consider a two-tone palette. In this instance, the top of the bench and the arms of the Adirondack chair will be a darker color, so we’re using the tape to draw the dividing line.

Once the tape is in place, thoroughly stir the stain, and apply it on the wood surface with a three-inch brush. If you have several pieces of furniture to stain, occasionally stir the stain to keep the pigments from settling on the bottom of the can.

As you are applying the stain, make sure you smooth out any runs and completely cover all surfaces, especially between any of the wood slats. Using a darker colored stain on the top of the bench and the arms of the chair adds a distinctive accent to any piece of outdoor furniture.

Allow the stain to dry a minimum of 24 hours before using the furniture.


  1. Unfortunately, this was of little use to me. I have outdoor furniture that needs sanding and then to start from the beginning. I need to know what is the best type of products to use for staining and protecting after it’s completely sanded down. How many coats do I apply of what products, do I sand in between coats, what size grits should I be using, do I add a urathane type protectant after stainng, for example? Your video was just too basic for me.

  2. What do I use to protect the wood after it has been stained as the wooden table I’m working on will be used outside.

    Thank you

  3. Good video on staining outdoor wood furniture. What about conditioning, would it be needed here? I’ve had many projects turn out bad because I didn’t use conditioner, particularly on pine and maple. Back then, one of the main problems was: I didn’t really know how to properly apply the conditioner. But I finally took the time to do some research.

  4. Thank you for this post. There are involved in product , chair , table , out door. The best type of product to be use for staining .It is use in best quaility. i am sharing this post.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here