Quick Tips to Care for Outdoor Furniture


With a few simple steps, you can keep your outdoor furniture looking fresh and new for many years.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance offers the following care and maintenance tips:

Aluminum Frames

Clean with mild soap and water. For non-textured surfaces, apply an automotive wax every few months. On textured finishes, periodically apply baby or mineral oil. Occasionally spray oil lubricant on chair swivels or glides.

Tempered Glass

Tabletops Clean regularly with a soft cloth, a mild detergent and warm water. Buff dry with a clean, lint-free cloth. Commercial glass cleaners also may be used.

Outdoor Wicker

Vacuum gently or brush with a soft bristle brush. Hose off every few weeks and clean periodically with mild detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.

Vinyl Straps

Wash with mild detergent and warm water, using a soft sponge or cloth. Rinse thoroughly. To remove scuff marks, apply toothpaste or gentle abrasive and rub gently with a dry cloth. To remove mildew, use a solution of warm water, mild detergent and bleach (no more than one-quarter cup to 3 gallons of water). Apply vinyl protectant to the straps after cleaning.

Sling Furniture

Wash with mild soap and water. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.


Vacuum as needed to remove organic material and prevent decay. Clean by sponging with mild detergent and warm water. Rinse thoroughly. Air dry. If mildew occurs, use a solution of one-cup bleach and a squirt of detergent per gallon of water. Scrub with a sponge or soft brush. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and air dry. Always test an inconspicuous spot first to make sure the color won't fade. Bleach may not be suitable for some fabrics.

Wrought Iron and Steel

Clean with warm, soapy water. To maintain the gloss on non-textured surfaces, apply automotive wax. On textured finishes, periodically apply mineral or baby oil. If rust develops, clean area by sanding lightly, then wipe thoroughly and apply touch-up paint (usually provided by the manufacturer).


Clean with mild detergent and water. Rinse well. Some manufacturers recommend an occasional application of oil. Teak and Jarrah can stay outdoors year-round. Pine, oak and cedar should be stored for the winter. Painted woods will require painting every year or so.


Wash covers with mild soap and water, using a long-handled brush. Spray silicone on the joints of wire frames. Use wax or furniture polish on wooden umbrellas.