Find Out The Steps On How To Clean Wooden Garden Furniture

Spring is back! And, with the arrival of sunny days comes the desire to bask in the sun, comfortably sitting in the garden lounge or on the terrace. To enjoy your DIY outdoor table and chairs of the dining set or outdoor garden benches, you still need to know how to clean your furniture the right way, besides reviving your old plastic furniture. Imagine the relaxation you could get while having a chat with your friends and family even during the colder days by your patio heater.

A wonderful garden with some wooden garden furniture in it

Garden furniture spends a lot of time outdoors, even in the rain and snow and this can cause damage rather sooner than later. But there are ways to keep the garden furniture shiny and looking like new for longer. And the secret is cleaning! How do we do this?

What you need to know about garden furniture

Wooden furniture brings originality and character to any area, inside or out. But to extend its lifespan, it should be cleaned regularly with the right products. Although it may appear to be a challenging task, it is not as difficult as it seems. Here are some things that you should always have in mind:

  • Regular cleaning and maintenance of your garden furniture is essential
  • Clean your garden furniture at least once a year
  • Wooden furniture is particularly delicate; it needs to be cleaned and oiled before, during, and after the beautiful season.
  • Aggressive cleaning products and abrasive brushes can damage the surface and should be avoided on wood, metal, and plastic
  • Always keep the high-pressure washer at 70-100 centimetres from your wooden furniture
  • High-pressure cleaners are particularly effective at cleaning plastic and metal garden furniture.

Someone cleaning a wooden chair with a pressure washer

Things to consider about different types of wooden furniture

There are several kinds of wooden garden furniture: varnished wood furniture, raw wood, painted wood, or waxed wood. Beware, each surface requires special maintenance:

  • Raw wood furniture: clean it with soapy water and a microfiber cloth (or soft bristle brush).
  • Glazed wooden furniture: avoid any abrasive products, such as bleach or anything acidic (white vinegar, lemon). You could use soapy water or a tea infusion, ideal on particularly sticky varnishes.
  • Painted wooden furniture: a simple cloth soaked in hot water with some soap is enough to clean this furniture. You might also use a small number of soda crystals or ammonia mixed with water. Don’t forget to sponge the surface of the furniture with a clean cloth.
  • Waxed wooden furniture: you can use a vinegar-soaked cloth on the wood.

Cleaning wooden garden furniture step-by-step

There are several tricks to clean wooden outdoor furniture efficiently. It is essential to start by dusting the furniture’s surface to make it a beautiful colour before removing the dirt. Remove dust with a microfiber cloth or a small soft brush in the direction of the grooves. You can then clean your wooden furniture using soapy water. Unbelievable but true, tea, flaxseed oil, or talc can also be used to clean your wooden furniture effectively. 

Tools that you will need:

water from the hose outdoors, man's hand

Then follow the steps below:

  1. Spray the furniture with water to moisten it. 
  2. Shake the cleaner before using it.
  3. Apply the furniture cleaner with a fluffy cloth or a sponge.  
  4. Set aside for 3 minutes to soak. 
  5. Scrub the furniture in the direction of the grain with a scrubbing brush.
  6. Thoroughly rinse the furniture with water
  7. Allow enough time for drying

After that, you can add a protector for longer-lasting paint, but make sure your furniture is fully dry first.

What are the best ways to clean and repair old teak furniture?

Before any use, think about waterproofing your furniture. Once or twice a year, clean yours with a stiff brush, black soap, and water. Do not hesitate to wet the wood as the moisture straightens the fibres. The important thing is to let it dry well (to avoid black spots). 

Do not use a high-pressure washer from a close distance as it may damage the structure. Don’t forget to polish the furniture to close the pores of the wood. Then apply teak oil and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some furniture is made of raw wood. If you don’t treat it, the wood will take over time a silvery grey patina. The wood will also be covered with small cracks, but they do not affect the furniture’s quality and durability. Against stains, pass 0-grain sandpaper on clean wood before applying teak oil. The sun’s rays and lousy weather dry the furniture, and the wood loses its honey colour and greys. Apply a wood remover to regain its natural colour.

A piece of sandpaper ready for usage

Use a cleaner and repair your old garden furniture, which is specially used to destroy mould and mildew spores while also brightening the wood and returning it to its former glory. Before you use the furniture cleaner, make sure the ground under your work area is protected. Rubber gloves and eye protection shall be used as well.

What is the best way to clean food and drink spills from teak furniture? 

Since they naturally absorbent, dabbing the area clean with kitchen towels or an absorbent cloth can remove as much of the spillage as possible. After doing so, let it dry completely. What’s left of the spillage can be removed with light sanding

If you like, you can also use a sealant, which makes it impossible for wine, coffee, oil, or butter to seep into it, and then clean your garden table or chairs with a damp cloth after meals to eliminate any unsightly stains.

How can oil and grease stains on wood furniture be removed?

If you’re worried your wooden furniture is beyond repair as there are grease stains on it, you’ll be relieved to know that there are ways around this too. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Soak up as much oil or grease as possible with kitchen paper towels or even cat litter, which can be very effective. It’s essential to be as precise as possible in this phase, and it’s even possible to extract all of the oil as well.
  2. Then, using a medium-firm brush, water and dishwashing liquid solution, clean the wooden piece
  3. After that, you may want to try using a furniture cleaner to clean and brighten the wood.
  4. If any stains remain after it has dried, sand it in the grain’s direction with a very fine grade
  5. At this stage, you can use either a protector to achieve that honey-gold colour or an optimizer to achieve that silvery look of weathered teak.
  6. Finally, use a sealant to create an impenetrable barrier that will protect your furniture from potential spills.

Someone cleaning a wooden table with a sponge and water

Cleaning and maintenance tips

Is there a way to make the whole cleaning process easier? Are there any rules that you can follow to keep your furniture at its finest? Have a look!

  1. Use a soft brush or cloth to start with a light cleaning on all surfaces. Then determine whether any additional cleaning or care is needed.
  2. Non-detergent liquid soap (think dish soap) is your best friend when it comes to washing outdoor furniture. It can clean your furniture without damaging it or its surroundings, using water and white vinegar to remove harder stains and mildew.
  3. Read the instruction manual. If you inherit or buy antiques or outdoor furniture look for instructions online or ask a specialist. If you buy it new in a shop, make sure to get the instruction manual and study it.
  4. Sunscreens and bird droppings should be collected as soon as possible from your furniture. They can be particularly harmful, leaving permanent stains and corrosion behind.
  5. If your exterior wood furniture is not in use for an extended period, consider using furniture covers or even storing it. Even if it can withstand the weather conditions, cleaning it will prolong its life and make maintenance easier once the outdoor season resumes. Don’t forget that if you want to prevent making a mould incubator you have to use breathable covers. When you live in an area where the winters are particularly harsh, try to keep your furniture indoors as much as possible.
  6. Never forget your cushions or mattresses for outdoor garden seats. Wash the covers in a washing machine if they are dissociable from the cushions. Alternatively, a wet sponge or a soft cloth and shampoo for upholstery will help you overcome stubborn stains.

It’s a mixture of keeping wood and hardwood garden furniture undercover, washing it, and conditioning it to keep the wood safe and maintain its lovely warmth.

Some garden wooden furniture ready to be painted

Now that you’ve learned what you need to do to clean and protect your wooden garden furniture, it’s time to gather your tools and get right to it. No need to worry! You don’t have to be an expert to do them justice. Plus, with the sunny days that lay ahead, this is a perfect opportunity to enjoy your outdoor space with friends and family. Good luck with your cleaning session!

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