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Cleaning Your Wooden Outdoor Furniture: A Guide to Safe and Effective Pressure Washing Techniques

cleaning your wooden outdoor furniture

Pressure washing your outdoor furniture is the most effective cleaning method, as it requires very little time and energy while providing exceptional results. Outdoor furniture is always exposed to weather conditions, animals, and high traffic, especially in spring and summer months.

Due to those factors, you will frequently find stains, footprint marks, dirt, or mud on your outdoor furniture, which will not appeal to the eye, and can even damage it if it sits long enough.

However, when you tackle those stains with a pressure washer, you can expect flawless results; as long as you follow these tips.

Is it safe to clean wooden outdoor furniture with a pressure washer?

Safety is the first thing to consider when using a pressure washer. It is a robust tool that can handle the toughest cleaning jobs, and with that much power, it can injure the user in a split second. 

You should never point the pressure washer at other humans or animals. Furthermore, you should apply safety gear, including safety goggles, non-slip footwear, and earplugs, when using it. 

Next, to safely and efficiently clean your wooden outdoor furniture, you need a model with sufficient PSI (pressure per square inch). Its PSI will determine how forcefully the stream shoots out of the hose. 

Pressure washers have a wide range of pressure capacities, starting from 1000 PSI up to 4000 PSI. The electric models are usually a bit weaker, ranging from 1300 to 1700 PSI, while the gas models start at around 2000 PSI and have a much higher upper limit.

Since the gas models withhold so much power, it is not advisable to use them on outdoor furniture; doing so will almost always damage the furniture piece.

For cleaning outdoor wooden furniture, you should stick to a pressure washer with around 1500 PSI, as that is the ideal amount to not damage the wood while getting great results. Hence, an electric pressure washer will be the best choice or a gas one where you can decrease the pressure to the compatible amount.

Furthermore, you need to select the proper nozzle to get the wanted results; for cleaning wooden outdoor furniture, the 25° nozzle is the best choice. It will produce enough power to clean the dirt and mud buildups while not damaging the furniture piece.

Tips and techniques for cleaning wooden furniture with a pressure washer

Once you take care of all the safety measures, you can start cleaning. The first thing you should do is move all large objects out of the way to make the process much easier. In addition, do not clean close to any windows, outlets, or other electrical devices that might get damaged from the water that might reach those areas.

Next, pay close attention to the wood you are cleaning. For example, hardwood is sturdy enough to withstand cleaning with a pressure washer with ease. Some of the most common hardwood types for making furniture are:

  • oak
  • cherry
  • hickory
  • mahogany
  • alder

On the other hand, softwood is not as strong as hardwood, and pressure washing can damage it. Some of the most common softwood types include:

  • cedar
  • redwood
  • spruce
  • pine
  • juniper

If you own furniture made from softwood, you should clean it with a mild cleaning solution and a cloth. But for hardwood, cleaning it with a pressure washer is entirely safe.

You can use detergent to get a thorough, clean, shiny finish to your outdoor wooden furniture. However, ensure that your detergent is strictly made for wooden surfaces. Detergents suited for other surfaces can have certain chemicals that damage wood, so avoid using those under all circumstances.

Finally, you should be extra careful when dealing with any pest infestations. Wooden furniture attracts insects like termites, wasps, or spiders. Keeping your furniture clean with a pressure washer is an excellent method of keeping them away and preventing infestations.

However, if they occur before you have had the chance to clean the furniture, you should proceed cautiously. Handling termite infestations or wasp nests can be dangerous and cause additional damage to the furniture, so letting the professionals handle those issues is a much better call than doing it yourself.

In summary

Cleaning and maintaining your outdoor furniture can be a lengthy, tiring process when you do not have access to the right tools. But with a pressure washer, you significantly cut down the needed time to clean every furniture piece while saving energy and money due to less water consumption.

Besides cleaning, a pressure washer can prolong the furniture’s lifespan by keeping the pests away and removing the buildups that would get more severe over time. So stick with these tips, and bring back your outdoor furniture’s shiny look.

Cleaning Your Wooden Outdoor Furniture: A Guide to Safe and Effective Pressure Washing Techniques

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About The Author
Adam has been woodworking for the last 10 years. He considers himself a 'Small Shop Woodworker' and practices his hobby in his garage. With the lack of time, space, and proper tools, he always finds ways to get great results without over-complicating or over-thinking the process. Various shop jigs, table saw sleds, and tricks of the trade have served him well. God has blessed him with a beautiful family, as well as a passion for teaching others about woodworking. You can read more about Adam here.

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