State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500295
Outdoor Wood Furniture--Care and Cleaning
Redwood naturally resists weathering and rot. However it should be
coated with a sealer to keep out moisture and thus retard cracks.
Colored sealers restore redness to grayed redwood. Scrub with detergent
and water, rinse, and dry thoroughly before sealing; sometimes sanding
is also necessary.
In winter, cover and store in a sheltered area.
Wipe with a sudsy sponge, followed by a damp sponge.
Before storing, and when needed, scrub with detergent suds, rinse, and
For grease and soot stains as from outdoor cooking, wash with solution
of 1 cup trisodium phosphate in 1 gallon water, and rinse.
Reseal as needed.
Finished White Wood
This is used for camp stools, directors chairs, parts of some metal
Seal completely with penetrating sealer for exterior use. May also coat
with exterior varnish. If cracks develop in finish, refinish to prevent
mildew from moisture getting in. Store indoors when not in use
outdoors. Do not leave out in rain.
Wipe with damp cloth and dry, when soiled, and before storing. On
painted wood, can wash with mild detergent solution, rinse, and dry.
Unfinished White Wood
Used for "rustic" furniture, tables, benches, etc.
Treat with exterior penetrating stain containing wood preservative and
mildew inhibitor. Soak bottom 4 inches of legs that touch ground in
wood preservative, or shield with thin aluminum covering. Cover and
store in sheltered area in winter.
Wash with detergent solution rinse and dry when soiled, and before
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus
with references from Illinois Extension bulletin Interior Design/Home
Furnishings - Care of Outdoor Furniture.
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educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade
names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those
not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon
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status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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