How to Clean Patio Furniture with Vinegar

How to Clean Patio Furniture with Vinegar

Since the patio area of your home is usually roofless and open to the elements, patio furniture quickly gets dirty and needs to be cleaned regularly. Thankfully, there are easy ways to do this which can make your furniture look new. 

Vinegar is one of the best natural cleaning agents to get patio furniture sparkling clean and ready to be enjoyed again. So, how do you clean patio furniture with vinegar? At the end of this article, you’ll have all of the information you need. 

Why Vinegar?

why use vinegar on patio furniture

Before the discussion of how to clean patio furniture with vinegar, an important question is “why vinegar?” 

That is, of all the cleaning agents that could be used, why should vinegar be given special consideration? The simple answer is that vinegar is natural, safe, and effective.

  • Natural – Vinegar is a natural agent that is made by fermenting substances containing sugar. 
  • Safe – Vinegar is a mild acid. So, when using it, you needn’t worry about toxic fumes or skin reactions.
  • Effective – Vinegar cleanses. It kills moulds that are on patio furniture, and it also prevents future mould growth.


Materials Required

materials in cleaning patio furniture

When cleaning your patio furniture with vinegar, these are some tools that you’ll need.

  • One or two big buckets – This will be used to mix the vinegar with water for washing.
  • Large sponge or microfibre cloth – This will be used to apply and scrub the vinegar solution into the patio furniture.
  • Soft bristle brush – This will be used to clean delicate surfaces to avoid scratches.
  • Tap and hose – This will be used to connect from a tap and wash off the vinegar and dirt from the furniture. If this is not possible, then you’ll need an additional bucket of clean water. 
  • Spray bottle – For spraying diluted vinegar onto the furniture.
  • Bicarbonate of soda – Excellent for the removal of tough stains.
  • Dishwashing liquid – Helps the removal of greasy food stains.


How to Clean Patio Furniture with Vinegar

Clean Patio Furniture with Vinegar

Step 1: Choose a good spot to clean the furniture

Look for a safe place to clean the furniture. This is because vinegar is not friendly to plant life and can kill flowers, grass and weeds.

Therefore, you should choose an area where you can clean the furniture with vinegar without destroying your garden environment. 

Usually, the patio area is perfectly good for this, but make sure to remove any plants which may be in the way. 

Step 2: Mix the vinegar solution

Use the large bucket to mix the vinegar solution.

  • Pour a gallon (4.5 litres) of water into the bucket
  • Measure a cup (250 ml) of vinegar and add it to the bucket
  • Mix the solution

If you want the solution to have an interesting scent, you can add some essential oils to it. This gets rid of the vinegar smell.

Step 3: Apply the vinegar solution on the furniture and wash

How you go about this step depends on the type of your patio furniture. We’ll look at each type in more detail below. 

Patio furniture with removable outer fabric

patio furniture

If your patio furniture has outer fabric that can be removed, it will be best to remove them and wash in a washing machine or hand wash if that’s not an option. 

Add vinegar to the dispenser compartment and set a delicate wash cycle to avoid wear and tear. When the wash cycle completes, air dry the cushions.

Patio furniture with unremovable outer fabrics

If you have patio furniture with cushions that cannot zip off, you’ll have to bring the furniture out to the set spot where you’ll wash them.

Use a spray bottle to spray the vinegar solution onto the patio furniture. Brush it and wait for thirty minutes to one hour. After that, you can rinse with a hose.

If there are tough stains on the cushion, soak a sponge in the vinegar solution, pour some bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) on the sponge and scrub. To easily remove greasy or food stains, add a small quantity of organic dish soap to the vinegar solution while cleaning.

If you want to prevent future mould, after thoroughly rinsing the cushion, re-apply the vinegar solution but do not rinse with clean water. Just let the furniture air dry.

Patio furniture made of plastic or glass

plastic patio furniture

In the case where the furniture is made of plastic or glass, spray the vinegar solution on them to remove all the mildew. Leave it for twenty minutes or more, then rinse with a hose and keep under the sun to dry.

Patio furniture made of wood, stones, or cast iron

wood patio furniture

For furniture made of wood, stone or cast iron, please avoid spraying vinegar on it. Instead, just apply the vinegar solution to the furniture using a sponge or microfibre cloth.

Note that vinegar is not very friendly with wood or aluminium, so you’ll need a heavily diluted vinegar solution. Gently clean the hard surfaces of the furniture, and dirt scrub it with a soft-bristle brush. After cleaning, rinse with water quickly from a medium or low-pressure hose.

Importantly, use a microfibre cloth to dry the surface of the furniture before leaving it to air dry.

Step 4: Inspection

Inspect the furniture to see if there is still any mould and mildew. If you find evidence, then you’ll have to mix a good quantity of vinegar and clean the area again. 

Then dry it with a cloth, and leave it under the sun to make sure it dries properly.


Preventing Mould and Mildew Build-Up

patio furniture mould build up

You want to make it as hard as possible for mould and mildew to form on your patio furniture so that you’ll not be doing extensive cleaning all the time.

Doing the following will prevent, or at least severely hamper, the forming of mould and mildew on your patio furniture.

  • Ensure that there’s a constant flow of air. If your patio furniture is in an enclosed space, you may need to get a dehumidifier to remove moisture. Better still, you may get a fan to blow air in the room.
  • Avoid keeping the furniture where there is no sunlight. A dark and damp environment breeds mould and mildew. Keep your furniture outside the shade or open up the place to allow sunlight to reach your cushion. If it is under a tree, you’ll have to trim up the old branches.
  • If the furniture is under a cover, it should be made of breathable materials that will allow the inflow and outflow of air.
  • Keep your furniture dry. If it gets exposed to rain, then try to dry it as soon as practically possible. 


Final Thoughts

Vinegar is a perfect cleaning agent for patio furniture. It’s natural, it’s safe, and it’s effective. It cleanses the furniture, kills moulds and prevents future growth of mould.

Also, it can be used to clean virtually all types of patio furniture. However, the type of furniture determines how you’ll use vinegar in the cleaning operation. If you follow the steps above then you’ll soon have clean patio furniture, ready for you to relax in the sunshine.