How to Clean Your Outdoor Furniture with a Pressure Washer

It always seems to me like it takes just as much time to prepare my outdoor furniture for the spring as it does to prep it for winter storage. Whether you leave it out over the winter or place it in storage, it collects all kinds of dust, dirt, and debris. I was tired of it taking so long to clean up my patio furniture before I could use it and I knew there had to be a better way. I wondered how to clean your outdoor patio furniture with a pressure washer in a way that was fast but safe for the furniture.


Pressure Washer

I found that there is a right way to pressure wash your furniture along with a few other helpful hints for preparing your patio furniture for the season.

The first thing you want to do is place your furniture on a flat surface away from any windows that the pressure washer could break if the spray goes astray. Remove all of the cushions on your furniture and machine wash them separately. To keep your furniture safe, but still clean the grime you want to use a lower pressure setting, between 25 and 40 degrees is good. Start at the top of the furniture and wash from top to bottom. The beauty of a pressure washer is that you don’t need soap which is both easier and environmentally friendlier.

Depending on your region and how often you use your patio furniture, you may have a few more questions on maintenance and upkeep throughout the season.

What Are the Main Benefits of Pressure Washing My Patio Furniture?

benefits_presWasherThe idea of buying a machine that you have never used before may be daunting, but when you read the benefits of cleaning your patio furniture, you will want to run out and get one right now.

  • Money Saving – Buying a pressure washer represents an undeniable upfront cost, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. There is no more need for sponges, soaps, chemicals, or calling professionals to do the work for you.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Since pressure washing uses pressure instead of harmful chemicals, all you need is all-natural water. There is no need for harmful soaps and chemical that can seep into the ground and get into the water supply or kill your grass among other things.
  • Hits Hard to Reach Spots – Soap and water don’t always get into the crevices of your furniture where harmful mold can grow. A pressure washer will get into those spots and clear out the gunk that can make your family sick.
  • Not Just for Furniture – You want to buy a pressure washer to clean your patio furniture, but they are incredibly versatile. Soon after you purchase your machine, you will find many other ways you can use it around the house including cleaning the driveway and washing off your siding.

How Often Should I Pressure Wash My Furniture?

youtubeCapture1You are going to wash the furniture at the beginning of the season; but how often after that? Since pressure cleaning is so easy, you could do it every day, but that is tedious. Depending on the condition of your yard, you will want to clean the furniture if there is a lot of dust kicked up by a storm.

Mowing the lawn can be especially brutal on patio furniture so plan to spray down your furniture after every mow. Of course, you are going to want to make things easier on your future self by washing the furniture one more time before storing it.

It is important only to wash your furniture when you need to because you don’t want to overdo it. Repetitive pressure washing can saturate the wood or remove the finish leaving it susceptible to the elements.

How Hard and Time Consuming is the Process?

PIXNIO-47035-4096x6143One of the greatest benefits of using a pressure washer is that it takes a fraction of the time and is a lot easier on you. Instead of having to be down on your knees on hard surfaces scrubbing for long periods you will be standing and letting the pressure washer do all the work. The process also keeps you a lot cleaner, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up afterward.

As far as time goes, depending on the size and amount of dirt on the patio piece, it shouldn’t take more than five minutes per piece wash away the grime. You’d probably be done washing your furniture in the time it would take to collect all of the tools for the traditional sponge and soap washing.

If time is an important factor, remember that it will take some time for the furniture to air dry so if you are hosting a party it is better to clean the furniture a day or two ahead of time.

Do I Need to Take Safety Precautions?

cleaning-gearJust like any piece of heavy machinery, there are a few things you should do to ensure the safety of you and the people and objects around you.

  • Always wear protective gear. Safety goggles are a must along with close-toed shoes and hearing protection if you are using a gas-powered washer.
  • If there is mold growing on your chair make sure to wear a facemask, so you don’t breathe in harmful spores that become airborne in the cleaning process.
  • Start at least two feet away from the surface you are cleaning and adjust your distance from there.
  • Always point the nozzle away from yourself and others, the pressurizes spray can cut skin. The same goes for sensitive areas like windows, lighting, and outdoor appliances (e.g., air conditioners.)
  • It never hurts to start with a lower pressure nozzle and work your way up. Always start spraying in a small inconspicuous area just in case the spray is strong enough to do damage.

Is There Any Furniture I Shouldn’t Pressure Wash?


All furniture is pressure washable to a degree, but some fair better than others. Wicker and plastic can be washed all day long with no issue. Metal furniture responds great to pressure washing but needs to be wiped down afterward to prevent rust.

As mentioned above, you can pressure wash wood, but there are some precautions you want to take. Remember that the softer the wood is, the more likely pressure can scratch or damage it, so you want to use the lowest pressure setting possible for softwoods.

Don’t forget that pressure washers are used to remove paint from items so if your finish is cracking and peeling it is a strong possibility that pressure washing your furniture will also strip it. It sucks if you aren’t looking to refinish, but it is a great benefit if you are.


Related Questions

What is the Best Material for Outdoor Furniture?

There are a lot of factors involved in this decision, and depending on your budget and the region in which you live the answers can vary greatly. The standard for outdoor furniture is a good hardwood like cedar or oak. If you have a little room in your budget, a more expensive wood like teak is the way to go.

Options like plastic, plywood, and wicker are also viable, but they will not last as long as wood. However, these options are easier to clean, store, and move which make them a better option for households that don’t have the room to keep them out year-round.

Can I Use the Same Pressure Washer to Clean My Exterior?

In almost every situation the answer is yes. Most sprayers come with multiple nozzles that make it easy to adjust between different jobs. Be aware that cleaning your exterior comes with unique challenges like working around glass windows and fixtures, and reaching the top of your home.

Should I Get Gas or Electric?

Unless you are planning on using your pressure washer in an industrial setting the answer is electric. Electric washers are better for the environment, easier on your ears, and safer to use than the gas alternatives. Gas pressure washers are also much more expensive than their electric counterparts both up front and in operating costs.

What Do All the Acronyms Mean?

Reading about pressure washers can be confusing because there are a lot of acronyms used to describe their functions. Knowing what they mean makes it easy to understand what you are reading and choose the best washer for you.

  • PSI – PSI stands for pounds per square inch, and that is how the strength of the washer is measured. The higher the PSI that a machine has, the stronger the spray is going to be.
  • GPM – GMP stands for gallons per minute and measures water flow. The higher the GPM, the more surface area the machine can clean.
  • CU- Sometimes you will see the acronym CU when searching for a pressure washer, and that stands for cleaning units. The CU is the result of the PSI multiplied by the GPM.


You can use a pressure washer to clean your patio as well.
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