Sure, it’s designed to withstand exposure to the elements day after day, but should I power wash my outdoor furniture? Whether it’s made from wood, wicker, plastic, or metal, it’s best to save the pressure washer for your deck or patio. Still, you can easily clean your furniture by following these simple steps.
1. Wash, rinse, and repeat
Regardless of the furniture material, there’s one solution we recommend using above all others—and you probably already have it in your home. Just take a cup of dishwashing liquid (preferably the clear kind that doesn’t have any excess ingredients or coloring) and warm water. That’s it. What’s great is you can even use it on your fabric cushions, too!
When applying it, a lot of people try to save time and scrubbing with a power washer, rather than a hose. However, if it’s not particularly sturdy or well-anchored to your outdoor space, it’s probably not worth it. Especially when dealing with older furniture, you’re risking further chipping or other damage by using a pressure washer. You can always save that for when you’re trying to clean your entire deck or patio instead!
2. Repaint or restain
Even after a thorough scrubbing, your furniture may still look like it needs a little love. The easiest way to bring it back to life is with a fresh coat of paint/stain. For plastic, metal, or vinyl wicker pieces, you can apply a new layer of paint yourself. To start, try this pro tip: use sandpaper or steel wool to remove lingering stains like rust, mold or mildew and help the paint adhere to the surface. Then, follow that up with a multipurpose primer and your favorite colors of paint in a traditional or spray variety. Let dry and it’ll look like you’ve got a new set of outdoor furniture!
For wooden pieces, you have the option to paint them, but most people choose to allow the natural grain of the wood to show through instead—even after a couple of seasons out in the elements. To preserve this, you’ll want to do your scrubbing and sanding in the direction of the wood grain, unless you’ve got a really hard wood like teak where it doesn’t matter. Then, you can choose an oil or stain that brings color back to your sun-bleached furniture. They even make ones that block UV rays, so you won’t have as much fading in the future!
Many people think that teak oil is the way to go, but it’s an old fashioned solution. An improper application of this treatment can suck out the natural oil of the wood and trap moisture leading to later mold and mildew. Plus, you have so many other options today!
3. Fluff up the fabrics
Depending on what the tag says, you might just be able to pop your pieces into the washing machine. However, we always recommend reading your labels first to keep these fabrics looking their best. For items with serious stains or mildew, you’ll want to see if they’re bleach-safe and test a small piece before dousing the whole thing. Keep in mind that washing can remove the water repellents that protect your seat cushions, pillows, or umbrellas. So, you may need to reapply some type of fabric guard after you’re finished.
The key part to this process is drying. Both the interior and exterior of your outdoor fabrics need to dry completely before you resume normal use. If moisture gets trapped inside, you’ll quickly have mold or mildew on your hands—not to mention unpleasant odors. So, try to pick a warm sunny day where you can leave everything out for at least a few hours before adding the finishing touches to your outdoor furniture.
While we’re more than happy to help you with a number of exterior cleaning projects, your outdoor furniture probably isn’t one of them. When we’re out providing a free estimate, we’ll look over the pieces you have in mind and make a personalized recommendation. Even if you have to freshen them up yourself, though, you now have all the steps right here! For all your other pressure washing needs, keep Peak Power Wash in mind.