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How to clean and protect outdoor furniture

When you invest in high-quality outdoor furniture you’ll want to ensure you are taking care of it. Taking the time to regularly protect any piece of furniture will help it stay in good condition for longer. So, If you’re wondering how you can clean and protect your outdoor furniture, we’ve got you covered. There’s a lot to consider before you fish out your cleaning products and get to work. In this guide, we’ll be telling you the best ways you can clean and protect all kinds of outdoor furniture. Here’s a brief overview of what we’ll be covering.

How often should you clean your outdoor furniture

What do you clean outdoor furniture with

How to clean outdoor furniture

How to protect outdoor furniture 

Outdoor furniture available at Briscoes

Let’s get started!

How often should you clean your outdoor furniture?

If you’ve purchased some new outdoor furniture recently, you’re probably wondering how often you should be cleaning it. We recommend treating outdoor furniture the same as the furniture inside your home. The general rule of thumb for cleaning outdoor furniture is to give it a clean, whenever it needs one. It’s also a good idea to give your outdoor furniture a quick wipe-down before and after you use it, particularly if you’ve been enjoying some alfresco dining. Food and crumbs can attract birds and insects which can damage your outdoor furniture, while greasy marks left for too long can create unsightly stains. Other than that, you should give your outdoor furniture a deep clean at least four times per year - once every season. But, you might want to increase this over the summer months, particularly if you are using it regularly.


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What do you clean outdoor furniture with?

Now you know how regularly you should be cleaning your outdoor furniture, you’re probably wondering what you should clean it with. The answer to this depends on what material your outdoor furniture is made of. Different types of furniture will have different cleaning and maintenance requirements. To make things a little easier for you, here is a list of what you’ll need, depending on what your outdoor furniture is made from: 

Stainless steel

If your outdoor furniture is made from stainless steel you should use a sponge and a brush when cleaning. Ensure you use a soft brush when cleaning stainless steel. Brushes with harsh bristles can leave scratches on the surface and we don’t want that! Using bleaches, chloride base cleaners or cleaning products with abrasives in them can damage stainless steel, so opt for neutral soaps with fresh water.


Wooden outdoor furniture should be cleaned with a damp microfiber cloth. We recommend mixing dish soap and water. When it comes to oiling your wooden furniture, you’ll need your preferred oil and a soft cloth. It can be tempting if you are cleaning your wooden deck with a water blaster to give the furniture a quick blast too, but this isn’t recommended and could damage the furniture or create splinters.


The best way to clean wicker furniture is with soapy water and cloth. Before you bust out the scrubbing brush, try to brush off or vacuum as much of the surface dust and grit as you can, and it can get between the woven material. Wicker can sometimes be prone to mildewing, so if this is the case ensure to scrub away mildew using a mild oil-based soap mixed with water, and leave to dry completely.


If you’ve got fabric outdoor furniture, we recommend using soapy water and cloth and a vacuum. Outdoor cushions and fabric furniture can be more prone to staining from dirty feet, sunscreen and outdoor weather, so spot-treating stains and marks as they appear can be a good idea.

How to clean outdoor furniture

Step 1: Remove any soft furnishings

First things first, you should remove any soft furnishings before you start cleaning. So, if you have any decorative cushions, blankets or even chair pads, put them to one side for the time being. Soft furnishings will have different cleaning requirements. If you’re looking to spot-treat any stains, you can do this. Otherwise, take off any removable covers and launder them, following the instructions on the care label. To get the best results, always follow the information on the label.

Step 2: Remove dust and debris

Once you’ve removed any soft furnishings, you can get to work removing any dust and debris on your outdoor furniture. You can do this by brushing or wiping away any dirt. However, this will depend on what type of outdoor furniture you have. If you have a wicker set, you might want to give it a vacuum. Alternatively, if you have a plastic outdoor furniture set, you might prefer to wash away any debris with your garden hose.

Step 3: Wash away dirt

Now that you’ve removed the dust and debris, it’s time to wash your outdoor furniture. For this, we recommend using mild soapy water and a soft sponge. Simply put your sponge in the soapy water and wipe over the furniture. If you’re looking for a deeper clean, you may wish to change the soapy water and repeat this step, until you achieve the desired results.

Step 4: Pat dry

Once you have washed your outdoor furniture, we recommend you dry it off. For best results, grab an old towel or rag and pat your furniture dry. It may be tempting to leave it to dry in the sun. However, some materials such as stainless steel shouldn’t be left wet, as this can contribute to ‘tea staining’ or rust. Any outdoor furniture made from iron should be dried off after washing. When iron is left outside whilst wet it can cause rusting to occur. 

How to protect outdoor furniture

There are other steps you can take to protect your outdoor furniture to ensure you can enjoy it for years to come. To do this, follow our simple step-by-step instructions:

Oil wooden furniture once a year

If you’ve invested in a beautiful wooden outdoor furniture set, you’ll want to stay on top of maintenance to keep it looking fresh. We recommend that you re-oil or stain your wooden furniture at least twice per year. Oiling wooden furniture nourishes the wood and acts as a protective layer. This is an important step in protecting your furniture as it protects against surface damage and reduces general wear and tear. It also gives wooden furniture a high-quality finish. So, if you think it’s looking a little dull or faded, oiling it can give it a new lease of life. To do this, simply sand the wood so it’s smooth, then add your chosen oil to the furniture and rub it in with a dry cloth. Then repeat until all areas are covered.


Remove soft furnishings at night

Accessorising your outdoor furniture can be a great way to elevate your outdoor space. However, leaving soft furnishings outside at night can damage them. When the sun sets on even the warmest of summer nights, condensation can build up on your lovely accessories. So, we recommend that you remove all cushions, blankets and pillows and place them inside at night, or in a designated outdoor cushion storage unit. This will protect against a build-up of moisture and prevent mould.

Cover your furniture when you’re not using it

Another way you can protect your outdoor furniture is by covering it when you’re not using it. This will ensure your furniture is suitably protected against extreme weather conditions. This is particularly important during the colder months. We recommend buying a shade cover or storing it inside if you have the space. It’s worth keeping an eye on the weather at any time of the year, this is New Zealand after all. A downpour in summer isn’t unheard of!


Outdoor furniture available at Briscoes

Furniture sets

At Briscoes, we have a wide range of outdoor furniture sets that can help you achieve your outdoor living area of dreams. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor dining set to host summer garden parties or a comfortable sofa set to relax in, we’ve got you covered. With outdoor furniture styles to suit every taste, you’re spoiled for choice.

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If you’re looking to create the perfect spot to soak up the summer sun, consider buying some loungers to level up your outdoor area. Whether you want to unwind by your pool, curl up with a good book or just soak up Vitamin D, sun loungers are a great way to elevate your outdoor space. Explore our range of comfortable outdoor loungers in-store and online.


Do you love alfresco dining with the family? Then you’ll love our range of outdoor tables. A good outdoor dining table sets the foundation for a beautiful evening. So if you love hosting summer BBQs or you’re simply trying to enhance your indoor-outdoor flow, you can’t go wrong with an outdoor table.



At Briscoes, we’ve got an unbeatable range of outdoor chairs to enhance your outdoor living area. Whether you’re looking to create a comfortable corner with a sofa chair or need more seats at your table, we’ve got everything you need. Explore our range of outdoor chairs today.


Outdoor furniture accessories

If you’re looking to give your outdoor area a refresh, adding new accessories is a great way to do it. At Briscoes, we’ve got everything from umbrellas and gazebos, to chair pads, shade covers and everything in between. Explore our range of outdoor accessories and discover how you can level up your outdoor living space.


Ready to transform your outdoor space?

Do you feel confident to keep your outdoor furniture clean and protected all year round? Follow the steps in this guide to keep your outdoor space looking its best. If you think it’s time to invest in new outdoor furniture, explore our range of outdoor living at Briscoes. Browse online or pop into your local store and speak to a member of our friendly staff. Your dream outdoor space could be closer than you think. If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our outdoor lookbook.