Shopping Cart
/ /

How Do You Clean Wooden Outdoor Furniture?

Nov 28,2023 | MONDAWE

dining set with acacia wood tabletop

Mondawe's Acacia Wood Tabletop

Wooden outdoor furniture adds warmth and character to any outdoor space. However, exposure to the elements can take a toll on its appearance and durability over time. Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the beauty and extend the lifespan of your wooden furniture. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to clean wooden outdoor furniture effectively.

Ⅰ. Things You Need to Prepare Before Cleaning

Proper preparation is key to ensure effective and safe cleaning of your wooden outdoor furniture. This section will guide you through the necessary steps to prepare for the cleaning process.

tools to clean wooden furniture

Before you begin cleaning, it's essential to gather the tools and materials needed for the task. 

  1. Soft cloths or microfiber towels: These are gentle on the wood surface and won't scratch or damage it.

  2. Mild wood cleaner: Choose a cleaner specifically designed for wooden furniture. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can strip off the finish or cause discoloration.

  3. Water: You may need water for diluting the wood cleaner or dampening the cloth for cleaning.

  4. Soft-bristled brush: A soft-bristled brush can be useful for removing dust and debris from intricate carvings or hard-to-reach areas.

  5. Furniture polish or wax: Depending on the type of finish on your wooden furniture, you may need furniture polish or wax to restore shine and protect the wood.

  6. Gloves: It's a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from any chemicals in the cleaner or polish.

  7. Vacuum cleaner or dusting tool: Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a dusting tool to remove loose dirt and dust before cleaning.

Ⅱ. How Do You Clean Wooden Outdoor Furniture?

Now that you have prepared your wooden outdoor furniture for cleaning, it's time to dive into the step-by-step cleaning process. This section will provide a detailed guide on how to clean your furniture effectively, from removing loose dirt and debris to treating stains and spots.

Step 1: Removing Loose Dirt and Debris

loose dirt on wooden outdoor furniture

Before applying any cleaning solutions, it's crucial to remove loose dirt, leaves, and other debris from the furniture's surface. This step will help ensure that the subsequent cleaning solution can effectively penetrate the fabric and provide a thorough clean.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Cleaning Solution

When choosing a cleaning solution for your wood furniture, it's important to consider the type of wood and any existing finishes or treatments. For general cleaning, a mild detergent mixed with water is often safe and effective. However, if your wood furniture has specific care instructions or is particularly delicate, it's recommended to consult the manufacturer's guidelines or seek professional advice. Additionally, always perform a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area before applying the solution to the entire piece to ensure it doesn't cause any adverse effects.

Step 3: Scrubbing or Brushing the Surfaces

brushing the surface of the furniture

Once you have chosen the right cleaning solution, dampen a clean, soft cloth or sponge with the cleaning solution. Gently scrub or brush the surfaces of the wood furniture, working in small sections at a time. Use circular motions or follow the grain of the wood, depending on the recommended technique for your specific furniture. Pay attention to any stubborn stains or heavily soiled areas, giving them a bit of extra attention. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously, as this can potentially damage the wood. After cleaning, wipe away any excess moisture with a dry cloth and allow the furniture to air dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 4: Special Treatments on Stains and Spots

spots on wooden furniture

If you notice stains or spots on your wooden outdoor furniture, it's important to treat them properly. For food or beverage stains, start by blotting up any excess liquid with a clean cloth or paper towel. Then, mix a mild detergent with water and gently scrub the stained area using a soft brush or sponge. Rinse with clean water and pat dry.

For tougher stains or discoloration caused by environmental factors, such as mold or mildew, you may need to use a specialized cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water. Follow the manufacturer's instructions or recommended guidelines for the specific cleaner you're using. Be sure to wear protective gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when using bleach.

Step 5: Rinsing and Drying the Furniture

To rinse the furniture, use a clean sponge or cloth dampened with plain water to remove any remaining cleaning solution or residue. Make sure to thoroughly rinse all surfaces, including crevices and hard-to-reach areas.

After rinsing, it's crucial to allow the furniture to dry completely. Wipe away any excess water with a dry cloth and then leave the furniture in a well-ventilated area or out in the sun to air dry naturally. Avoid placing wet cushions or other accessories back on the furniture until it is fully dry to prevent moisture-related issues such as mold or warping.

If you're in a hurry or the weather conditions are not suitable for air drying, you can use a fan or a gentle heat source to expedite the drying process. However, avoid using high heat or placing the furniture near direct heat sources, as this can cause damage.

Ⅲ. How Do You Carry out Routine Maintenance for Longevity?

Cleaning is just one part of maintaining your wooden outdoor furniture. This section will focus on essential maintenance tips to keep your furniture in optimal condition throughout the year.

Applying Protective Coatings or Sealants

There are various protective coatings and sealants available to safeguard your wooden furniture from the elements. Some common options include wood sealers, varnishes, polyurethane coatings, and outdoor wood oils. The specific product you choose will depend on factors such as the type of wood, desired appearance, and environmental conditions.Before applying any protective coating, ensure that the wood is clean and dry. 

Preventing Mold, Mildew, and Insect Infestation

Wooden outdoor furniture is vulnerable to mold, mildew, and insect infestation, especially in humid or damp environments. To prevent these issues, it's important to take several measures. Regular cleaning is crucial for removing dirt and organic matter that can promote mold and mildew growth.

Protecting Furniture During Extreme Weather Conditions

Extreme weather conditions can cause significant damage to wooden outdoor furniture. You can consider securely anchoring or storing your furniture indoors before severe weather hits. This will prevent it from being blown around or damaged by strong winds.

Regular Inspections and Repairs

Regular inspections are essential for maintaining the condition of your wooden outdoor furniture. By conducting inspections, you can promptly identify any signs of damage or wear and tear. Look for cracks, splintering, loose joints, or any other structural issues. Additionally, check for discoloration, peeling finishes, or signs of mold or mildew. If you notice any damage during the inspection, it's important to address it promptly.

wooden outdoor adirondack chair

Mondawe's Wooden Adirondack Chair


In brief, cleaning wooden outdoor furniture is essential for preserving its beauty and extending its lifespan. By following the step-by-step cleaning guide and implementing proper maintenance practices, you can enjoy your wooden furniture for years to come. Remember to adapt the cleaning methods and solutions based on the type of wood and specific conditions of your outdoor environment. Take the necessary precautions, stay consistent with your cleaning routine, and your wooden outdoor furniture will continue to impress with its timeless appeal.


Q: How often should wooden outdoor furniture be cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning wooden outdoor furniture depends on various factors, including the amount of use, the surrounding environment, and the presence of stains or dirt. As a general guideline, it is recommended to clean wooden outdoor furniture at least once or twice a year. However, if your furniture is exposed to heavy use, harsh weather conditions, or significant dirt and debris accumulation, more frequent cleaning may be necessary. Additionally, it's important to address any spills, stains, or visible dirt promptly by spot cleaning as soon as they occur.

Q: Can pressure washing be used on wooden furniture?

Pressure washing can be used on wooden outdoor furniture, but it should be done with caution and proper technique to avoid damaging the wood. 

It's important to note that pressure washing is not suitable for all types of wooden furniture. Delicate or antique pieces, as well as furniture with loose joints or prior damage, may not be suitable for pressure washing. In such cases, manual cleaning methods using mild detergent and water, along with a soft brush or sponge, may be a safer option.

Q: Is it necessary to sand and refinish the furniture regularly?

The frequency of sanding and refinishing depends on the specific needs of your furniture. As a general guideline, it is recommended to refinish outdoor wooden furniture every 1-3 years. However, this can vary based on factors such as the type of wood, climate, and level of exposure to the elements.

It's important to note that some finishes, such as varnishes or polyurethane coatings, may require complete removal before applying a new coat. Others, like outdoor wood oils, may only require a light sanding and reapplication. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and consider the specific needs of your furniture when determining the appropriate refinishing schedule.