Tips for outdoor patio care + How to clean outdoor rugs.

June 18, 2019

We have slowly updated our deck and patio spaces over the last three summers, and it has become a place where we spend the most time Spring, Summer, and Fall! (For instance, this post shows what the deck looked like back when we moved in and here is the patio makeover. ) Today I wanted to share a few tips for outdoor patio care and keeping outdoor furniture clean as well as how to clean those outdoor rugs! It’s actually simpler than you may think.

Outdoor basket via Target (all of their outdoor patio items are on sale!)

Outdoor cushion + pillow care tips: I highly recommend covering your cushion and pillow inserts with plastic trash bags before putting the outside cover on to prevent mildew and mold from morning dew, rain, or snow. I learned this tip from Bre Purposed, and it has made a world of difference!If your furniture is light, you can pre-soak and wash your cushion covers in oxi-clean to rid them of stains that may grow from bad weather. We do this about once or twice a year. We only leave out the toss pillows and throws for when we have company and the evenings are cooler.

Our large cement patio area in our backyard was there when we moved in, so last year, we decided to make use of the space more than just using it for basketball and bikes for the boys. The sofa and chairs are designed for outdoor use, so they have held up extremely well. We have had to pressure treat the cement patio a couple times to remove green mildew that occurs after winter season. Time for another round! You can rent a pressure washer from Lowe’s for a day, and it really brings your patio back to life. Well worth it.

Furniture via Selemat Designs

Outdoor furniture materials to look for: When shopping for outdoor furniture, make sure to take a good look at the materials the items are made of. Hot and cold weather cycles will expand and shrink any wicker or wood furniture if they aren’t properly protected which will eventually split or destroy your pieces. We learned that the hard way. Resin wicker will outlast standard wicker by a long shot. We have sadly let go of several wicker pieces because of sun and water damage. It’s been much easier to keep up with the resin wicker.

Both our upper patio dining chairs and lower deck sofa are made of the resin wicker material. If you are going with a wood set, solid teak wood is much more water resistant than even a outdoor varnish sealed wood. We have done outdoor varnishes before on a few wooden pieces, but eventually the wood splits from water and sun exposure (it’s almost impossible to keep up with covering it for every afternoon rain shower). The teak material (pictured above in the driftwood lounge chairs) feels like an unfinished wood, but it doesn’t absorb water the same way, and has held up beautifully! You may need to scrub off green mildew that starts to form at the legs, which you can do with baking soda and water.

Outdoor furniture covers: We used this large outdoor furniture cover we used for the winter. We pushed the furniture together and brought down the chairs from our deck as well to cover them all under one tarp. It did the trick, and there was no mold or damage come spring. These deep seat chair covers and deep seat sofa covers are also a good option for individual pieces.

Best types of outdoor rugs – There are several rugs you may see online or in stores that are “indoor/outdoor” but some good materials to look for that will last longer outdoors are polypropylene and polyester. I’ve had a few that feel like plastic, but still have a cool pattern from IKEA that have outlasted the rest since they dry so quick in the sun. They are harder to find though. The blue and white pattern outdoor rug below we got for our deck is from Target, and the Riviera rug from the IHOD shop is what we use for the lower patio since it is 100% polypropylene. (Size 5 x 7)

How to clean outdoor rugs: Unless the outdoor rug is resin/polyester woven, you most likely will battle green mildew, dirt, or weather stains on your outdoor rugs since they aren’t as water resistant. It’s actually pretty easy to clean your rugs, but it does take a little muscle work to scrub them!

Supplies: A large bag of baking soda, deck brush, and a hose (preferrably with a jet setting on the attachment).

  1. Pre-soak rug with the hose.
  2. Pour baking soda onto stained areas. You will use the whole bag if there are several areas.
  3. Scrub the stains or dirt with the deck brush in the same direction of the weave of your rug to prevent fraying.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with spray hose.

That’s all it really takes! I tried simple dish soap and water previously and it didn’t work as effectively. I was so impressed with the outcome! The jet setting on our hose attachment helped give it a little pressure wash as well.

Resin French cafe chair set via Target

Using the freshly cleaned rug under the dining set now. Sadly, our deck stain didn’t hold up very well, so we are looking into a good option to re-stain it once again, which will require a whole separate post.

We hope this post was helpful for you. Feel free to drop us any questions below!

Leave a Comment

  • Darryl Swenson

    I love this post! At our home we have several outdoor rugs which see plenty of action especially in the summer, which means they get dirty FAST. I recently had professional rug cleaning done to them and they look good as new! Can’t wait to use them the rest of the summer.
    Thanks for the ideas!

  • Ashley Smith

    Thank you for sharing these tips Anna! Your spaces look so beautiful and clean…so inviting for summer mornings or evening hangouts! We cleaned our porch funrtiture and rug early spring but I didn’t know the baking soda trick then. With the rounds of pollen and few months of humidity already they are ready for another cleaning go. As always thanks for the inspiration!

  • Deet Lowery Bedrosian

    I bought a new indoor-outdoor carpet for my stained& sealed wooden deck. After a rain, the rug looked terrible. It took on weird markings. Looked like I sprinkled bleach on it in a few places. The umbrella stand left a full circle marking and looked old and dirty. I swept and picked up the rug. I spread it out over chairs ti allow drying. The marks instantly began vanishing. Will this happen with every rain? My other rug never did that after four years. I just wanted a smaller rug. Advice?

    • Oh no!I bet it has to do with the type of material of your rug. There are several rugs sold as outdoor rugs when really they don’t do well in rain! So sorry about that!

  • This looks so beautiful and appreciate the helpful tips! Can you please share where the hammock is from?

  • Carol Conn

    We have a lanai off our house in Florida and we have the floor painted and we put a indoor outdoor area rug down. Today it rained so hard that the rug got soaked. If we don’t take it up and hang it over sometime to let it dry we it mold?


    Do you leave ur deck rugs out day and night in rain?

  • I typically get all my indoor and outdoor rugs cleaned by a rug cleaner once a year, and they always do a great job. But, my patio rug got so dirty after a family party that I decided to clean it using your process. The rug looks almost as good as new! Thank you for sharing your tips!

  • You have such a beautiful backyard! It looks so cozy and fun. Thank you for sharing these tips! I typically get my outdoor rugs cleaned yearly by a local rug cleaner, but I might try your process out to help keep them clean in between the professional cleanings.

  • Alicia Hursley

    Thanks for the awesome tips! We are hosting an outdoor party this weekend and definitely need to get our outdoor space figured out. We’re going to have a professional <a href=""upholstery cleaner out to get the furniture cleaned, but as soon as they’re done we are going to get to work on our outdoor rug.

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