Summer outdoor furniture care tips

Exposed to the elements all year round, outdoor furniture can look a little tired without care. Here, we share some tips on how to refresh your outdoor furniture in time for summer and care for it throughout the season.

Timber outdoor furniture

Summer Outdoor Furniture 02
Featured: Bremer Timber Dining Table and Kotti Dining Chairs

Refreshing your timber outdoor furniture in time for summer is a relatively simple process, especially if you are allowing it to weather naturally. A light clean and tightening of the componentry may be all you need to care for your furniture during summer.

Weather naturally

If you’re allowing the timber to naturally weather turning a beautiful silver-grey, most of your work will be in cleaning the pieces. You can do this by cleaning any debris with a stiff brush and hosing the furniture down. If needed, you can use some mild detergent to help lift stubborn stains.

See more tips about bringing your timber table back here.

Be careful when using harsh chemicals as it can disturb the integrity of the timber. Pressure washing can also scar the surface if the timber is of poor quality.  


For those wanting to retain the original finish, you’re best to use a quality timber sealer with UV protection. Clean the surface well and then lightly sand before applying the sealer with a brush or a cloth.

Avoid water-based sealants on pieces that will be exposed to rain as the water can lead to white spots and can cause the surface to fade unevenly.


For painted timber furniture, you’ll need to clean and lightly sand the surface to remove any flakes of old paint before applying a primer and a new coat of paint. The primer will provide a smooth finish, and is especially recommended for bare timber.  

You can opt for a brush or spray on paint. If using a brush ensure you choose a high-quality tool and apply the paint evenly along the grain. It’s advised you apply two thin coats, allowing the first coat to dry at least 8 hours before applying the next.   

Wicker, rattan or resin outdoor furniture

Summer Outdoor Furniture 01
Featured: Juno Armchairs with Bronte Dining Table

Caring for your wicker, rattan or resin outdoor furniture during summer is mainly about keeping it clean.

For rattan and wicker outdoor furniture, simply dust off your pieces before using a soft brush to get in-between the little spaces. A toothbrush can come in handy here.

A mild detergent, sponge and soft brush can also help to remove more stubborn stains. Be careful when scrubbing, especially if the furniture is painted or sealed as this can remove the finish.

The care for resin outdoor furniture is relatively the same, however, it is imperative you avoid harsh cleaning products so as not to damage the finish. Firm brushes and hard scrubbing can also scratch resin pieces.

Wicker, rattan and resin outdoor furniture can be repainted if your pieces have faded and the finish is flaking. Resin will require a specific primer and spray paint for plastics. An all-purpose outdoor primer and paint will be suitable for rattan and wicker pieces.  

Cast iron outdoor furniture

Painted cast iron outdoor furniture will need reviving occasionally depending on the quality of your pieces. With some cast iron furniture, the paint is baked on to ensure longevity, however, others may require more maintenance.

If you’ve noticed flaking paint or rust spots, you are best to take action immediately to protect the metal. This can be done with a wire brush and some elbow grease after which you’ll need to clean and dry the areas.

Select a primer and spray paint specifically for metals and apply a couple of light coats in a sweeping motion.

Sealed cast iron furniture will only need a new protective coat applied to restore it in time for summer entertaining.  

Outdoor upholstery

Summer Outdoor Furniture 03
Featured: Burleigh Lounge Chair and outdoor scatter cushions

The quality of outdoor fabrics has improved greatly since the days of limited selection and scratchy, plastic-like materials. The cushion inserts have also improved allowing you to leave these outside without worrying about mould overgrowth.

Keeping your outdoor upholstery looking great for longer largely comes down to common sense. Regularly remove dirt and debris, clean stains as they occur and angle the cushions on their side if rain is forecast.

Detailed tips on how to care for cushions can be found here.  

During summer, rotate your cushions when they are exposed to extreme temperatures to minimise sun damage. If you’re worried about fading, avoid leaving your cushions, especially those of bright colours, out in the full sun for long periods of time will help.

Limit the amount of chlorinated water your pool-side cushions are exposed to will help keep the fabric fresh. Avoid water pooling on the surface and instead, tip the cushions on their side to drain.

If you are planning to store your cushions away, make sure they are dried thoroughly before doing so to avoid mildew damaging the fabrics and inserts.