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Outdoor Furniture Care

contemporary outdoor plastic furniture

 We often get questions from our customers asking how to care for their outdoor furniture. Although the products we supply for outdoor use are of the highest quality and built to withstand adverse conditions, a bit of extra care will make a world of difference and allow you to keep the fresh new look for longer. Here is what we would recommend: 

Plastic Outdoor Furniture Care

Cleaning: In general, surfaces made from plastic materials can be cleaned with a soft damp cloth and warm water; for persistent stains, a small amount of liquid soap diluted in water may be used.


  • Avoid using acetone, trichloroethylene, ammonia and detergents that contain even just a small amount of these substances because they can render shiny surfaces opaque.
  • Avoid the use of ethyl alcohol as this too can make the surface opaque.
  • Avoid all types of abrasive substances, for example powdered cleaning products, abrasive creams, score pads and rough sponges.
  • Using dry cloths is not recommended. When rubbed, plastic surfaces become electrically charged and attract dust; this is therefore not recommended on any shiny or glossy surface.
  • Avoid placing objects on the furniture that can scratch the material with which the products are made. We remind you that surfaces made from plastic materials cannot endure high temperatures, for example direct contact with hot pots or pans.

weave tub furniture

Weave Outdoor Furniture Care

Cleaning: If you have an outdoor vacuum, use it to vacuum away any loose dust and dirt on your furniture. Dry brush all surfaces. Use a new, soft bristled paint brush to dry brush all the surfaces. The brush can be used to get between the gaps in the weave and should loosen any dirt that is stuck on the weave. Start with the top and tightest weave areas then work the brush outward toward the looser weave areas. Don't forget the back and bottom of the furniture surfaces. Wipe with damp cloth. Dip a clean cloth into a bucket with a mixture of water and mild detergent. Wring the cloth so that it is damp, not dripping. Then wipe the weave surfaces. Be patient and rinse the cloth often as the dirt builds up. You need enough moisture to get the cloth into the open spaces of the weave without soaking the weave. Rinse with damp cloth. Once the dirt has been removed, use a new clean cloth with a bucket of clean water. Slowly go over the surfaces again to rinse away any remaining dirt and any residue from the soapy water wash. Set aside to dry. Weave is pliable and easily damaged when wet so it needs to dry as soon as it is cleaned. Set the weave furniture aside so that it can air dry without being disturbed. Let the furniture dry for a couple of hours before anyone sits in them.

Caution: Weave furniture can be easily damaged if hosed down, don`t allow to get too wet or manipulated while wet so follow these steps and have a little patience. You will be able to clean the outdoor weave furniture without causing damage to the furniture.

colourful metal cafe chairs in a row 

Metal Outdoor Furniture Care

Cleaning: Metallic, steel, aluminium and polished surfaces should be cleaned with a soft damp cloth and warm water; for persistent stains, liquid soap diluted in water can be used. After cleaning, always dry with a soft cloth or a leather cloth.


  • Do not use cleaning products for steel, chlorine, bleach, or other aggressive
  • Avoid abrasive creams, score pads and abrasive sponges that can scratch metallic
  • Handle painted metal items with care to avoid hitting one against another which will chip paint, just as stones and gravel will chip paint on an automobile. Painted metal card tables, chairs are often banged against each other in storage and soon paint is chipped badly.

Seasonal Care: About midway through summer, a thorough cleaning and waxing will help maintain general appearance of metal outdoor furnishings. 

teak restaurant tables and benches by a lake 

Teak Outdoor Furniture Care

Cleaning: Cleaning can be done with a normal household bristle brush [not too hard] and some warm, mildly soapy water. Wash down afterwards with clean water. There are also proprietary cleaners on the market to clean off various deposits and accumulated dirt and stains. If the furniture has some stubborn and heavily ingrained stains these can be removed by sanding with a fine grade of sandpaper, being sure to work only with the direction of the timber grain. After sanding stains away like this, if the furniture was previously teak oiled, you may wish to re-oil, or if it had previously been left natural, the fresh teak colour exposed by sanding will soon mellow in. Once the furniture has taken on a weathered surface, it is easily maintained by an annual cleaning with a soft bristled brush and soapy water to remove accumulated dirt.

Caution: Pressure washers are to be avoided as they can scour and roughen the wood surface. Also, the use of steel wool is not recommended as it can leave a residue that can produce rust spots.

Seasonal Care: Oil teak furniture every three months to maintain its original color.Teak oil is based on special vegetable oils and resins to give a quick penetrating seal to teak. It is always best to cover your teak furniture during winter. Use a material that allows the wood to breathe.

rattan furniture with cushions in grounds of hotel 

Care for Outdoor Cushions

Cleaning: When cleaning your outdoor furniture cushions you should first determine what type of material you have. Check the tags. This will often tell you the material and give you cleaning instructions. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. You can also check the manufacturer's website if you have additional questions. Most new outdoor cushions are coated or treated in some way to protect against sun and other elements. Common materials are acrylics that feel like canvas woven polyesters coated with PVC, or vinyl. Fillings are often polyesters that don't hold water. Other cushion filling may be urethane foam that is not completely waterproof. Knowing the materials of your cushion can guide you in caring for them.

PVC Polyesters and vinyl can be washed with soap and water. A mild dish detergent is good for regular monthly cleaning. A quarter cup in a gallon of water makes a good solution. Stains can be scrubbed with a plastic-bristled brush. Tough stains can often be scrubbed with a cleaner similar to SoftScrub. Rinse thoroughly with a hose after cleaning. 

Most of the time, canvas can be machine washed and then put back on the furniture while it is damp to stretch the material back into shape. However, if you can't remove the canvas, use a scrub brush and rub the brush back and forth on the canvas.

Remember, always follow your own manufacturer's cleaning recommendations. Don't put cushions or cushion covers in the washing machine, unless specifically recommended by your manufacturer. Same rules apply to using a dryer.

Free Furniture Care & Maintenance Guide

Get more from your contract furniture by caring for it properly.  Download our Furniture Care & Maintenance Guide to learn how to make your furniture last longer in a hospitality space.


Topics: Outdoor furniture, Furniture care

By Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth on 01/08/17 10:36
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