Garden Furniture Care Tips for Every Type
July 13, 2022

When the sun is shining, what beats spending time in your garden? Soaking up the sun on a lounger or bench, having a barbecue with family and friends, or nodding off on a day bed are the order of the summer’s day. 

Your outdoor activities often revolve around your furniture and, after investing in some great pieces, you want it to last – which is why garden furniture care is so important. But what’s the best way to keep it looking good? For starters, we recommend using furniture covers in winter and harsher weather conditions, but there are plenty of other ways to care for your furniture. Have a look below and find out everything you need to know, from how to clean wooden pieces to how to get rust off metal garden furniture. 

How to Maintain and Clean Wooden Garden Furniture

RD 3 seater wooden fence benchRD 3 seater wooden fence bench

Wooden garden furniture is natural, rustic and full of charm, making it a popular choice. But to keep it looking good year after year, how do you go about maintaining and cleaning it? We have the answers. 

Caring for Hardwood 

Hardwood furniture is the most durable because it has more natural oils to protect it from the elements. Common hardwoods used for garden furniture include teak, cedar, acacia and eucalyptus, with teak being especially hardy.

All that’s needed to care for hardwood garden furniture is a yearly scrub with soapy water, followed by a rinse. However, if you feel it needs brightening up a bit more you can use an oil, such as teak oil. However, it's important to proceed with caution when using an oil, as it isn't suitable for some woods, such as roble and if used on wet furniture, it may cause it to blacken. 

 

One of the best teak oils for outdoor furniture is Ronseal Teak Oil. Long-lasting and restorative, it simply needs to be applied to the surface and allowed to dry. Use it regularly to keep your furniture in top condition. 

 

Caring for Softwood

 

Softwood furniture needs a touch more TLC than hardwood furniture as it has fewer natural oils. There are plenty of garden furniture treatments out there to offer protection, though – here’s what they do and how to use them.

Using Oil on Wooden Furniture

Oil penetrates the wood, replacing the natural oils that may have been lost while out in all weathers. It helps prevent the wood from getting too dry which can lead to it splitting or cracking. There are various brands that make good quality furniture oil, like Cuprinol and Ronseal, or you could even go natural with a raw linseed oil.

It’s advisable to clean your wooden furniture at least once a year. Make sure it’s been cleaned thoroughly first with some hot soapy water and leave to dry for 24-48 hours. When it’s dry, lightly sand it and wipe away any dust, and then apply the oil in the direction of the grain with a long-haired natural bristle brush. If you need to do a second coat, let the first coat dry for at least an hour before you reapply.

Wood Stain for Protection

Wood stains give the timber a new lease of life, enhancing the natural grain and making it more vibrant in colour. It also protects the wood from sun, water damage and rot.

To treat your wooden garden furniture with a stain, make sure it’s clean first, like when you treat it with oil. Then apply the stain with a paintbrush or lint-free cloth and let it dry for 24 hours.

Garden Furniture Restorer

If the wood’s looking a little grey and weathered, you can use a garden furniture restorer before you treat it with a stain or oil. This prepares the timber for protection by stripping the weathered surface to reveal the wood below. Cuprinol’s garden furniture restorer is a good one, and it works in just 15 minutes.


How to Clean Metal Garden Furniture

provence 4 seater metal furniture setprovence 4 seater metal furniture set

Different metals require various types of maintenance, and how much you do depends on the state of the metal. Whether you’re restoring it to its former glory or simply giving it a clean, here’s how to do it.

Cleaning Metal Garden Furniture

Cleaning your metal garden furniture is easy – all you need is a mild, non-detergent soap, some water and a cloth or a sponge. Just be careful not to use abrasive scrubbers as they can scratch the surface and expose the metal to moisture, causing it to rust. Tip: If you ever spot any bird droppings on your furniture, remove them as soon as you can. They’re highly acidic and can leave permanent marks.

Restoring Metal Garden Furniture

Metal outdoor furniture, like steel or iron, can rust if the paint or powder coating has cracked because the elements can weather the exposed metal surface. To remedy this you’ll first need to remove any rust or mould with some sandpaper (or wire wool if sandpaper isn’t doing the job), and then add two to three coats of paint. If it’s a bubbled effect you’re sanding away, then make sure you remove all the paint in that area before you add another coat; repainting over old paint is often the cause of this bubbled appearance and can also cause the paint to chip off.

 

Aluminium garden furniture, on the other hand, doesn’t rust – but it can oxidise. To remove oxidisation or light stains on other types of metal furniture, wipe it down with a solution of water and a mild acid in equal parts, like white vinegar or lemon (avoid alkaline solutions as they cause oxidisation).


How to Clean Rattan Garden Furniture

monaco rattan egg setmonaco rattan egg set

With hardly any maintenance required, rattan garden furniture is a breeze to clean – as long as you clean it frequently enough, of course. If not, dust and mould can build up between the weaves.

 

Whenever it looks like it needs some care, grab a cloth and some soapy water and give it a wipe down. You can also use a toothbrush to get into the cracks and crevices.

 

If some of the rattan is dry, cracked or split, don’t worry – you can remedy this. Boiled linseed oil works well as it’s absorbed by the rattan and then hardens to protect it. Keep applying the oil until the rattan won’t absorb any more and then wipe it clean with a soft cloth. Just make sure the oil is boiled and not cold as otherwise it won’t dry and harden.


Whether you’re deciding what type of garden furniture to buy according to how easy they are to maintain, or want to clean a tired-looking piece, now you know garden furniture care doesn’t have to be hard. Wood, metal and rattan are all pretty easy to clean and maintain, so you can soak up the sun in the knowledge that, whatever material your furniture is made of, you can keep it looking its best. 


Shop our range of garden furniture today to find the perfect set for you.