Deck and Patio Cleaning Tips for Summer

House and Home

power washing deck
photo: Olger Fallas/Flickr CC

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If you’ve got a patio or deck, flaunt it. Get your outdoor space in tip-top shape in preparation for lots of barbecuing and outdoor meals and get-togethers this summer.

Here are some smart tips for cleaning your outdoor furniture, patio, and deck—or skip right to the all-in-one solution.

Plastic or Resin Furniture

Use water and dish detergent or an all-purpose cleaner. Or use a sponge or rag with a mix of borax + dish soap + hydrogen peroxide. For caked-on grime, let the cleaning solution sit on the furniture for about 15 minutes, then scrub with a soft cleaning brush and rinse. You can use wax if you really want a polished-looking shine. For stains, we’ve had excellent results with the Magic Eraser or similar products.

Wood Furniture

Use a soft scrub brush with dishwashing detergent or OxiClean (or other oxygen bleach). Softer woods like cedar require a gentler touch—scrub in the direction of the grain and don’t use abrasive tools or pressure washers.

For mildew, choose an oxygen cleaner like OxiClean or a commercial mildew cleaner. Also try these natural solutions for killing mildewOr just set the furniture in the sun. (Did you know the sun kills mildew naturally?)

Metal Furniture

Water and soap should do the trick—easy peasy. Try a car-washing soap. For rust, try a steel-wool pad or fine sandpaper. Start with finer grain and work up.

Outdoor Cushions

Scrub with a solution of dish detergent (many cleaning gurus swear by Dawn detergent), borax, and water using a soft-bristle brush. Allow the solution to sit for about 10 minutes, then spray with a hose to rinse. Dry completely in the sun

Canvas Seats and Seat Backs

Machine wash or use a scrub brush and laundry soap to spot clean. Rinse well.


For small areas, use a commercial deck cleaner and a scrub brush or bleach diluted with water and a hose. (Wear gloves, please!) For a large area that needs serious cleaning, two words: power washer. Just don’t use too much pressure on a wood deck—you can ruin the wood! Some excellent tips here.

Patio Stone and Pavement

Pull up the weeds and consider a sealant to prevent weeds down the line. Scrub with soapy water and a long-handled bristle brush. Hose it down. Want to do an soup-to-nuts deep cleaning job? Check out this YouTube video with step-by-step instructions.

For solutions to specific pavement problems, read the excellent information from

Everything—the All-in-One Solution

Make things easier on yourself by using one cleaner to do it all. OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Powder can be used on multiple surfaces like patio furniture, unfinished decks, and even gutters. (Then you can bring it indoors for carpets, upholstery, and kitchen and bath surfaces.) For metal surfaces, make sure to rinse well, immediately.

Be sure to maintain your outdoor space to make life easier for yourself: wipe down your furniture, patio, and deck periodically through the summer and pull those weeds regularly to keep everything looking great.

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