How to clean up your garden furniture after leaving it out all Winter

Yes I admit it, despite having two of the best sheds (and an outdoor storage shed for that matter) that anyone could hope for, I still left a load of my garden furniture outside to the elements. I am lazy, so lazy in fact this year I started buying garden furniture that you can leave outside! 😀 One piece of furniture that I didn’t mind was my Keter garden storage bench which is plastic and I knew that would clean up easily. The bigger mistake I made was leaving my wicker two seater chair outside. So in this article I wanted to go through how to clean up your garden furniture left out over Winter.

Whilst some ways were super easy, otherwise took ages so you can benefit from all of the methods I tried and shortcut to the easiest ways 🙂

Good old fashioned elbow grease with soapy warm water. Worked great for a plastic garden storage bench

For the garden storage bench with smooth plastic that worked just fine. It had mainly mud and dirt all over it along with the odd birds dropping which cleaned up really easy. This method however was completely useless for Rattan and wicker. If anything it seems to make my rattan corner sofa more dirty!

I always go with a good old fairy washing up liquid – sorry to be a brand addict, I actually hate your sports brands and stuff but Fairy really does just seem to be better. Feel free to email in to me and let me know if you disagree on that ! So if you have any smooth surfaces then a cloth and wipe is probably your best bet in terms of overall effort and time it’ll take to clean. If you have larger items then you might want to change the water a few times but really there’s not much to it.

Here’s a look at my garden storage bench before and after:

Best ways to clean a garden storage box – good old fashioned wipe down

As you can see it cleaned up nicely and I have to say I probably spent less than fifteen minutes total. If you factor the amount of time it would take removing all your goods from inside the seat and then putting it away for Winter, then subsequently getting it all back out and not to mention you’d need somewhere new to store all that stuff, it makes far more sense to me that you just leave this bench out over Winter. From a user perspective I really highly recommend this bench, it’s three years old now and still going strong.

Cheat with a pressure washer to clean rattan and wicker

WARNING – do not blast it too hard!. I used my cordless pressure washer but any will do if you turn the power down. I also have a petrol pressure washer and if I had to I would use it on the lowest setting. Why? I feel it would literally strip the paint off my rattan corner sofa. It striped the paint clean off the bbq when I cleaned it last month 😀 In fact, I use my petrol pressure washer for everything, cleaning out gutters, cleaning the roof of my shed, even cleaning moss off my roof 😀

What I did was move away a couple of foot or so and then gradually moved closer. I could see all the dirt and nasty stuff coming off on the floor, quite frankly it was a really good feeling seeing all that mess coming out and the wicker being restore to somewhere near clean. What I decide though is although it’s now clean it is still looking tired (it’s five years old). I think it’s time to get out the electric fence sprayer and load it up with paint to spray this wicker chair instead. I will report back to you on how that goes in another post. I am hoping to spray it white.

Once you spray it out I think it’s ultra important to get it in the sunshine and thoroughly dry it out. You don’t want it to go mouldy or rot to set in. So make sure you pick a nice warm day where this can be put straight into direct sunlight after cleaning up.

You also want to consider where you do this. You wouldn’t believe the amount of much that came flying out the wicker. It seems to be like some kind of dirt sponge magnet thing 😀 ! My patio was absolutely destroyed and will need cleaning down itself again. I’ll be making use of the patio cleaner for sure! Oh well, any excuse to get the petrol pressure washer out – so much fun 😀

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

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