How to Clean and Maintain Outdoor Wooden Furniture - dummies

How to Clean and Maintain Outdoor Wooden Furniture

By Gill Chilton

Buying – and remembering to use – water-proof furniture covers for your wooden furniture makes it easier to maintain and clean your outdoor furniture. These covers keep tables and chairs safe from their biggest danger – extreme wet.

  • Protect wood furniture at the start of each season with a sealant that’s appropriate to its composition and style. For example, use teak-oil for hardwood chairs and preservative for a budget softwood bench.

    Take care to avoid varnishing on top of screw fittings. The natural shrinkage and swelling of wood according to the weather mean you may have to regularly tighten these. If they’re gummed up with varnish, it gets tricky.

  • Avoid standing wood legs directly on grass. The moisture from the ground may rot untreated wood over time. If your garden is such that you truly can’t avoid this, at least give wood legs some extra protection by standing table and chair legs in saucers of wood preservative for several hours, so that as much solution as possible gets soaked into the wood.

  • In cleaning up wet spills, be sure to dry as well as wipe. Unless it’s a real scorcher of a day, never assume that the sun will do it. The wood may take all day to dry out, and in that time, airborne dirt such as pollen may have formed an invisible yet sticky film on your table.

Every two weeks, wipe down tables and chairs with a cloth, wrung out from a solution of soapy wood cleaner. Use the cleaner neat on any particularly stubborn stains. Dry thoroughly, with a fresh cloth.

Get into the good habit of wiping tables and chairs with a dry cloth every time you go to use them. This gets off pollen or fine strands of grass that have found their way to your furniture and dried on rather than got blown away.