How to Bring Your Outdoor Furniture Back to Life

After months of cold weather and awful storms, your outdoor furniture is probably not looking its best. Luckily, Hometalk.com has all the tricks you need to get your iron, wood, plastic, wicker, and rattan sets back in shape.

5-minute read

While it's been a harsh winter on many of us in the U.S., it's been especially harsh on our outdoor furniture. Even if you thought ahead and found some garage space to store them for the winter, your cast iron chairs have likely collected some spots and your wooden table has begun to dry out.

See also: How to Buy Furniture at Thrift Stores


Before you toss your damaged sets, however, take a look at some brilliant ways to fix and upgrade your tired outdoor furniture. It's not out for the count - it was just hibernating!


Tip #1: Break Out the Bleach

Photo via Dana @Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes

To bring your stained and mold-ridden cushions back to life, try spraying them with this surefire mixture of 75% bleach and 25% water. Then give them a good scrub with Fels-Naptha soap. After washing them well and then leaving them in the sun to dry, they'll look better than brand new!

Tip #2: Aim the Spray Paint

Photo via Christy @11 Magnolia Lane

In case you're having trouble getting rid of some stains (or you don't feel like hardcore cleaning), here's another way to dramatically change your outdoor cushions: After getting rid of any harmful marks (like mold build-up), give your pillows a bright springtime makeover using fabric spray paint, or paint mixed with fabric medium. This is an excellent way to update your old furniture and feel like you've splurged on a whole new set of cushions.

Tip #3: Update Worn Cushions with New Covers

Photo via Christy @Confessions of a Serial DIYer

If your pillows are looking really frayed and worn out, cleaning them, or even painting them, might not do the trick. While you might want to buy new at this point, it's also very likely that they've still got a great, springy structure, but they need a new face. Instead of scrubbing them to pieces or tossing them out, clean them as best as you can so that no mold remains, and then re-cover them with this simply sewn pattern.

Iron Furniture

Tip #1: Get Rid of Rust

Photo via Karen @The Graphics Fairy

Metal furniture is a little harder to clean than other types, but there's no patio set as classic as one made from metal. Start with metal-appropriate sandpaper to wear down the thick build up, or a bristly metal brush with some warm soapy water. If it's been a while since your last cleaning, you might need to break out a paint scraping tool.

Tip #2: Prepare for Paint

Photo via Carole

Before you give your piece a new coat of paint, accept that you probably haven't gotten every single rust mark off, so start with a sealer. Try Rustoleum's Rust Reformer, or Feronite rust converter. Any good converter will seal in the remaining rust and give you a smoother surface to paint.

Tip #3: Clean Away Stains

Photo via Carol and Randi @FrugElegance

If your metal chairs are looking old and weathered due to splotchy white marks, you've got an oxidizing problem. To fix it, simply mix 2 cups of water with Oxiclean filled to the 1 level line on the scooper. Wash your furniture well using your soapy solution, and then rinse it thoroughly. Once it's all dry, enjoy your like-new outdoor set!

Now what about that rattan, wicker, wood, and plastic?.....