How to Care for Your Outdoor Couch

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If you like to spend time on your patio, an outdoor couch is a great place to enjoy a relaxing day in your al fresco living space.

While your regular living room couch may get stained or become covered with pet fur, your outdoor couch encounters these things plus rain, dirt, mud, and insects. In order to keep your outdoor couch looking its best, it’s important to clean it on a regular basis. Here we’ll show you how to care for your outdoor couch.

Basic Outdoor Couch Cleaning Tips

It’s important to clean off debris quickly if you want your outdoor couch to be as clean as possible. To do this most effectively:

  1. Use a spot removal brush, like this heavy-duty brush with a comfort grip handle from Fuller, to sweep off your outdoor couch as needed.
  2. Mix 1 gallon of warm water with 1/4 cup of dishwashing liquid. Dip the brush into the solution and gently scrub away any remaining grime or debris.
  3. Rinse the couch thoroughly with a hose, and then either let the sun dry it or pat it dry with a towel.
  4. If you notice mold on your outdoor furniture, wear disposable gloves and a face mask when scrubbing the spots with a cleaning solution designed for mold removal.

Pressure Wash for Stubborn Stains & Deep Cleaning

If the soap, water, and scrub brush don’t do the trick, a pressure washer can be helpful.

Choose a pressure washer that allows you to adjust the water pressure. For example, this Karcher pressure washer features three pressure settings and one detergent setting for washing away stubborn stains. 

Start with the detergent setting when spraying on the cleaning solution and then use the gentlest pressure first to see if it will remove the stain.

You can use the pressure washer for deep cleaning patio furniture as well. Do this in the spring as temperatures are starting to warm up, and then in the late autumn before the cold season arrives.

How to Tackle Rust on Your Outdoor Couch

For outdoor couches made from iron, steel, or other types of metal, rust may become an issue. If you notice rust forming on your outdoor sofa frame, use the following tips to remove it:

  1. Start by cleaning the rust as best you can with the bench brush and cleaning solution. Pat the areas dry with a towel.
  2. If the rust remains, gently rub the areas with fine-grit sandpaper, and then wipe off the rust.
  3. For painted frames that become rusty, you can apply touch-up paint over the sanded areas. For instance, furniture paint like Rust-Oleum comes in a number of colors, repels rust, and can easily be sprayed onto your outdoor metal furniture.

How to Clean a Plastic Outdoor Couch

Manufacturers of plastic outdoor sofas often incorporate fungicides and other additives to keep them looking clean for longer. But when dirt, mold, and/or mildew show up, clean it with these tips:

  • Use the warm water/dish soap solution, and a sponge or microfiber cleaning cloth to scrub off the plastic outdoor couch
  • Be sure to check the manufacturer’s cleaning guide to be sure bleach is okay to use on the plastic
  • For tough stains, or mold and mildew, combine 2 oz of bleach with 20 oz of water and clean the areas while wearing disposable gloves 
  • If your manual says not to use bleach, try a one-to-one ratio of water and white vinegar on stubborn stains

What About Outdoor Couch Cushions?

Some cushions on outdoor sofas feature removable covers. If this is the case for yours, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions on the label, and let your washer and dryer literally do the dirty work for you.

That said, you should spot clean the cushions as needed. For instance, if you spill a beverage or food on a cushion use the water/mild dish soap solution suggested above and spot clean the stain to remove as much of it as you can.

But if the stain remains, try a color-safe cleaner like OxiClean, letting it sit on the area for several minutes, and then wipe it off.

Regular Care Keeps Outdoor Couches Looking Brand New

The best way to keep your outdoor sofa in good condition is regular light cleaning and rapid-response spot-stain cleaning. It’s easy to care for your outdoor couch without spending a lot of time or money. In most cases, all it takes is a few basic tools and cleaning solutions you may already have on hand. 

These tips plus a little time and effort will keep your patio furniture looking clean and inviting for years to come.