Follow these expert tips before wiping down outdoor pieces.
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Patios are a great place to entertain a small group of loved ones or to unwind solo after a long day. No matter the occasion, whether you're hosting guests or planning to enjoy a family meal, there's nothing worse than heading outside and being greeted by dirty, dingy patio furniture. But with outdoor sets made from everything from teak and resin to wicker and aluminum, it can be hard to know exactly how to clean and maintain your pieces. So, what is the best way to make sure all of these materials—whether in the form of a couch, table, chairs, or more—stay clean? Here, experts walk us through the process.

outdoor patio furniture by pool
Credit: Mint Images / Getty Images

Understanding Patio Furniture

Before reaching for your cleaning supplies, get a better grasp on the makeup of common patio furniture types, say our experts. Kadi Dulude, the owner of Wizard of Homes, the number one-rated home cleaner on Yelp, explains that the most popular material you will come across is wicker. "Outdoor wicker furniture works best with cushions, like the Teva Wicker Outdoor Loveseat ($699,, which offer additional comfort and a nice pop of color to your outdoor space," adds Gary McCoy, a store manager and lawn and garden expert at Lowe's. There are also more durable options, like aluminum and teak. McCoy explains that aluminum is lightweight, rust-resistant, and can withstand the elements. "Teak is a beautiful option when looking for wooden patio furniture, as it is weather-proof and designed to stand the test of time," he adds. "But it is worth noting that a luxurious look will being on the higher end in terms of pricing." Otherwise, resin (an inexpensive, plastic-like material) is popular, along with heavy, durable steel and iron.

Best Cleaning Practices

With all of this in mind, McCoy recommends starting the deep-cleaning process by brushing off excess leaves or debris that may have become embedded into your furniture. When it comes to plastic, resin, or metal items, simply wipe everything down with an all-purpose outdoor cleaner (like 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner ($9.98, If the material is wood or wicker, both experts recommend a mild oil-based soap, such as Hope's Tung Oil ($4.48, "Finally, make sure to wipe down your furniture regularly to protect it from dust or excess water. You can use products such as Wet & Forget Outdoor Cleaner ($19.98, to clean up moss, mold, mildew, and algae on virtually all outdoor surfaces," he explains. For a quicker clean, Dulude says to consider power washing non-delicate pieces—or hiring a professional if you don't have the tools handy. And for protection against sunny and stormy weather? Consider purchasing patio furniture covers, like the Elemental Polyester Patio Cover ($119,, for full coverage.


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