How to clean outdoor furniture including metal and rattan using ‘basic’ cleaning products

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Outdoor furniture can be cleaned with several different products, but depending on the material, some may need a more gentle clean. Experts at Luxury Rattan and metals4U have shared top tips on cleaning outdoor furniture using “basic” cleaning products already found in the home.

Rattan furniture:

Laura Schwarze, Head of Luxury Rattan, said: “If you find there is dirt trapped in the weave of the rattan, grab a toothbrush to loosen it.

“You should then be able to wipe or vacuum it away with ease.

“When it comes to washing your rattan furniture, it’s important to be gentle and avoid any harsh cleaners or chemicals.”

For the best spot clean, the expert recommended using warm soapy water and wiping it down gently.

Laura added: “Once you have cleaned your furniture make sure to check the feet of your chairs and tables and replace them with new pads if they are scratched or damaged to bring them back to life and improve their longevity.

Metal furniture:

Many garden items are made from steel, meaning rust can build up if kept outdoors for long periods.

Rust can thrive in hot and dry environments as well as rainy conditions so it is important to be aware of rust prevention.

Managing Director, Paul McFayden at metals4U said: “Rust is generally a tough type of corrosion to clean from metal surfaces, and therefore must be treated with the right care as to not damage your furniture.

“The best way to remove rust if you have already spotted it on your furniture is simple.

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“Simply pour white vinegar evenly over the surface of the furniture and give it some time to settle, an hour should be enough.

“Once you have done this just wipe away with a cloth wearing gloves and repeat again if necessary.”

Wooden furniture:

Wooden furniture can deteriorate over time, but there are ways to bring it back to life.

Laura said: “If you have an old piece of wooden rattan furniture that is looking worse for wear, I would recommend using a soft cloth and rubbing some olive oil onto the product. 

“This will reduce cracking and add shine to your rattan, making it look as good as new.”

“Alternatively, you could give your wooden furniture a lick of paint to completely transform the feel of your outdoor space.

“To make the process of painting natural rattan as easy as possible it’s best to use spray paint. 

“Before you start, make sure that your furniture is clean and dry and that you have prepared a well ventilated area to spray paint on. Don’t forget goggles and a face mask too.”

A coat of primer will need to be added before the spray paint.

Depending on the paint used, it may need several thin coats before adding a layer of top coat.


To keep garden furniture looking its best, Laura recommended washing garden cushions with detergent.

If cushions cannot be removed, detergent can be used to spot clean areas.

Britons should also avoid leaving cushions outside as the sun can bleach them.

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