Let’s face it: outdoor furniture gets dirty.

Dust, pollen, rain (not to mention kids, pets, and everyday use) all can have an impact on the look and longevity of your outdoor furniture.

The most effective way to keep your outdoor furniture clean is to protect it by using best-in-class covers (The OuterShell™) and dirt-repellent technology (Outer’s proprietary stain-resistant fabrics); but, even with the best precautions, Mother Nature will still have her way.

The OuterShell™ keeps your sofa dry and ready-to-use at all times.

In this guide, we’ll cover how to clean the 3 most popular outdoor furniture materials: all-weather wicker, teak wood, and outdoor fabrics.

To keep your furniture fresh and in top shape, we’ve recruited Outer’s Chief Design Officer and outdoor furniture expert, Terry Lin, for his advice.

Terry’s best outdoor furniture cleaning tips, as well as all the supplies you’ll need to execute, can be found ahead. From removing damp mold from fabrics to getting into the weave of wicker, Terry can show you how.

Watch the Video

How to Clean: All-Weather Wicker

Most of the outdoor furniture you’ll find is made of all-weather (or HPDE) wicker. All-weather wicker is extremely durable making it, in our opinion, the easiest to clean.

Outer's all-weather wicker is made to withstand heat, humidity, rain, & snow.

Did you know? Outer’s all-weather wicker is made up of 30% recycled materials and is fully recyclable.

Tools you’ll need:
Bucket, warm water, gentle natural dish soap, soft bristle brush, hose

Step-by-step:

  1. Remove any cushions, fabric, and obvious debris from your furniture.
  2. Fill your bucket with warm water and a few drops of soap.
  3. Loosen dirt and pollen. Starting at the top and working your way down, dip your bush, then gently rub warm, soapy water into the weave of the wicker, alternating back and forth with up and down strokes.
  4. Keep going until the entire piece has been gently scrubbed. Change bucket water as needed throughout the process.
  5. Take your hose, and on a high-pressure setting, hose off the remaining dirt and soapy water.
  6. Gently towel off excess water. Then let your furniture air dry.

How to Clean: Teak Wood

Teak is a beautiful, natural material and the best wood for outdoor use. It starts out a warm, golden-brown color and naturally weathers into a silver-grey tone.

We recommend using gentle soap and warm water to clean teak. It may be tempting, but it’s best to avoid using a power washer to clean it. It can deepen any natural cracks in the wood, letting water and erosion in.

Tip: If mold has grown on the surface of your teak furniture, add a small amount of bleach to your cleaning solution (and be sure to wear gloves when applying!). This will break down the mold, making it easy to remove.

Tools you’ll need:
Bucket, warm water, gentle natural soap, tarp (optional), a few drops of bleach (optional), soft bristle brush, hose.

Use a soft bristle brush on teak so it doesn't scratch.

Step-by-step:

  1. Depending on where you are cleaning your teak, you may want to put down a tarp.
  2. Fill your bucket with warm water, a few drops of soap, and a small amount of bleach (optional).
  3. Wearing gloves to protect your skin, dip your brush, and begin scrubbing. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom.
  4. Keep going until the entire piece has been gently scrubbed. Change bucket water as needed throughout the process.
  5. Take your hose, and using a soft setting, hose off the remaining dirt and soapy water.
  6. Gently towel off excess water. Let your furniture air dry.

Once you’re done cleaning your teak furniture, if the surface is rough, you can use a 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. Make sure to sand in the direction of the grain. Going across the grain will scratch the surface.

How to Clean: Outdoor Fabrics

In this section, we’ll discuss how to remove everyday dirt from your fabrics to keep them looking new.

If you’d like to learn how to clean food spills on your Outer fabrics, you can watch Terry’s video on removing food stains here.

The best way to keep your fabrics clean is to remove the covers and run them through the washer once or twice a season. Remember: Never put them through the dryer; air dry only. And, always check if your outdoor furniture cushion covers are 1. Removable, and 2. Machine washable before purchasing. If you already own outdoor furniture, check manufacturer instructions before machine washing, as many are not approved.

Did you know? All of Outer’s cushion covers are 100% machine washable.

The Outer cushion covers zip on and off so you can machine-wash away those tougher stains.

Below, we’ll take you through how to spot clean dirt, spills, and stains, as well as how to remove mold that can result from exposure to moisture.

Tools you’ll need:
Bucket, warm water, soft rag, cleaning solution

Spot cleaning: 1:3 Detergent to water solution

Removing mold: 1:3 parts bleach to water solution

Step-by-step:

  1. With a soft rag, wipe any loose dirt from the spot you plan on cleanings.
  2. Mix the appropriate solution.
  3. Dip your rag and gently rub, making circles from the center of the spot outward.
  4. Absorb any moisture from the area.
  5. If necessary, repeat until the spot is clean, dabbing dry after each pass.
The Outer sofa: fits all places, spaces, and decorating tastes.