Everyone has different preferences and tastes and that is reflected in the furniture sets they buy for their home and garden.

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That also means there will be a range of different materials found in every home, from timber and rattan, to iron and aluminium, with various combinations also available. Maintenance will play a big role in maximising their value and longevity, which is why we’ve put together 4 tips for cleaning garden furniture so you can get the most from your purchase.

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One common thread you’ll find throughout this piece talking about cleaning garden furniture is that bleach-based products are generally avoided (except for plastic and resin-based furniture). While it is an affective cleaner on harder, brittle surfaces, it is seen as too harsh for the majority of garden furniture sets.

That is definitely the case for timber garden furniture, which responds best to use of sugar soap as it does not contain chlorine or bleach that damage the material.

As standard, start furniture cleaning by wiping down the piece to remove dirt and dust, as this can get matted onto the material with the water. Mix together approximately 1/8 cup of liquid soap into 2 litres of water and dampen a soft sponge/cloth to wipe down the furniture. It is also advisable to rinse the item as soon as possible to avoid any potential damage being caused to the wood.


It’s important to understand how to care for rattan garden furniture as it’s a specialist material that is unlikely to exist in any other part of your home.
The good news is this doesn’t mean it requires specialist cleaning materials to keep it in good shape. But just like any other material it is susceptible to mould, mildew and other forms of wear and tear decreasing its lifespan, which is why owners should be aware of the maintenance required.

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You can either use washing-up liquid or dishwashing detergent as a rattan garden furniture cleaner. As with cleaning timber garden furniture, it’s a very simple process of using warm water and a small amount of detergent/washing-up liquid and wiping down the surface with a sponge or soft sponge. You can also use a toothbrush to get into the weaves of the rattan to remove more stubborn debris or dirt, but be careful not to work the area too vigorously.

Aside from the cleaning aspect, another good tip is to invest in rattan garden furniture covers for ongoing protection. Covering the items will protect them from soaking up too much rainwater and shield them from harsh UV rays, increasing their lifespan in the process.

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While aesthetically plastic and resin furniture is not as attractive as many alternatives, people tend to invest due to its low cost and durability.

Cleaning garden furniture that is made of plastic requires something stronger than most other materials as stains and marks can become embedded more easily and are thus more noticeable. This is the rare occasion where bleach should be used to keep your furniture sets clean.

As normal, use warm water, and then add in a small amount of detergent – followed by some detergent on pieces that need a bit more cleaning. While this is fine for white plastic furniture sets, you should keep bleach to a minimum on items that are coloured, otherwise you run the risk of dulling or even removing the colour coating.

After you have finished furniture cleaning your plastic garden sets you can also add some car wax to create a water-resistant layer to minimise the appearance of future dirt.

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Whether it’s iron, aluminium or engineered metal garden furniture, metal furniture will look fantastic in your garden as long you are able to put in the work to keep it in great condition.

Cast aluminium is manufactured to be rust-proof, which reduces a lot of the maintenance work, but wrought iron garden furniture can be susceptible to oxidation which can soon lead to rust. If you can find a reliable garden furniture cleaner you can use in this instance to help combat this should be acceptable.

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After wiping away dust, debris and dirt, apply a polishing spray or a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water across the affected areas. To remove scratch marks, use a soft cloth and a non-abrasive cleaning cloth, before carefully applying light sandpaper and covering with rust-proof paint. You can even add on a final layer of car wax for create weather protection to reduce your workload in the future.

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