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Wood Outdoor Furniture: Cleaning and Care

07/08/2019
by Katie Eckelberry

Wood Outdoor Furniture - Header - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

Summer is finally here. It’s time for late nights under the stars and lazy days spent soaking in the sun. And what better way to enjoy the summer than with your wood outdoor furniture. But there are a few care tips and tricks you should know to keep your furniture in tip-top shape.

Before we get into specifics, though, it’s important to note that there are different rules for different woods. Most often, our wood outdoor furniture is constructed from pressure-treated pine; however, we do offer several pieces made from cypress. Be sure to follow the correct instructions for your species of wood.

Plain Settee Glider - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning your wood outdoor furniture, the process is fairly simple. You can power wash your piece, but remember to always follow the grain of the wood and to keep your pressure low as too high of a pressure can remove the finish or cut into the wood. We recommend a setting between 500 to 600 psi for when cleaning pine and cypress furniture, and the nozzle should be kept about a foot away from the surface of the furniture at all times. Before beginning to clean your piece, you may want to test your settings on a discreet area first to be sure that you are not going to damage the wood. From there, you can increase or decrease the pressure as needed.

If you wish to avoid the risk of power washing or don’t have access to a power washer, a soft brush and non-bleach cleaner make for a more than adequate substitute. Gently scrub the piece and rinse: that’s all there is to it!

 Luxcraft 4ft Classic Highback Swing - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

To minimize the amount of cleaning necessary and protect your wood furniture, we advise that you store any wood furniture inside during the winter months. If you can’t do that, we recommend that you try to cover it using a tarp or cloth. Keeping your furniture safe from the winter elements will go a long way in helping to preserve your furniture and keep it in the best shape possible.


Finishing and Care

Pressure-treated Pine (PTP) is the best wood we have found for pieces that will be exposed outdoors. The pressure-treating process injects chemicals into the wood that help with insect and decay resistance. That being said, pieces made from PTP still need to be finished to provide the best protection and longevity. Your piece needs to be well finished initially, and afterwards, we recommend refinishing every other year for as long as you have the piece. 

Luxcraft Octagon Picnic Table - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

When finishing pressure-treated pine, you want to use a penetrating deck stain, not paint, so it can absorb into the wood. There are many different brands of deck stain, so when shopping for a product to use, inform a sales associate that you are finishing a pressure-treated pine item; they should be able to direct you to the best product for your project. From there, simply follow the instructions on the finishing product with regards to sanding, preparation, etc.

Cypress, on the other hand, can be either stained or painted. However, cypress does best when it is in a covered area, not totally exposed. If you choose to leave a cypress piece totally exposed, it will need to be well finished when you first purchase it and then refinished every year thereafter.

If you choose to finish your piece yourself, be sure to pay attention to the climate before tackling the project. Stain should not be applied in direct sunlight or on a wood surface that is hot to the touch. You’ll want to pick a day when there is no rain predicted in the immediate future and the temperature will be no higher than 95°F (35°C) and no lower than 50°F (10°C). Keep in mind, the finish may require between 48 and 72 hours to fully dry, so you’ll have to wait a bit before using your furniture again.

 Luxcraft Double Lawn Glider - Rose Lattice Roof - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

In addition to the need for refinishing, exposure to rain/sun cycles will cause wood furniture to expand and contract. This natural process can lead to hardware (bolts, screws, etc.) becoming loose over time. So, periodically, you should check and retighten any loose fasteners as necessary. To prevent any unwanted warping, be sure to place your furniture on a level surface. If furniture is left to sit on an uneven surface for a long period of time, it can wrack permanently out of shape.

Cypress Garden Table - Geitgey's Amish Country Furnishings

Wood outdoor furniture is beautiful, comfortable, and cost-effective. But there are few things you need to do to guard your furniture against unwelcome wear and tear. Practicing these suggestions will ensure that your wood furniture is with you for many summers to come. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the outdoor wood furniture available at Geitgey’s Amish Country Furnishings, feel free to call, email, or visit. Our sales team would be happy to help you with any concerns you may have.

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