How to Clean Beach Chairs

Whether you live on the beach or just love to visit it, you probably have outdoor furniture dedicated to shoreside relaxation. These loungers are used frequently in extreme outdoor elements, so to keep them in great shape for the long haul, regular maintenance is a good habit to start.

The combination of oceanside climates and continuous usage can be tough on chairs, so you should clean them regularly to ensure long-lasting durability. Processes vary depending on what your furniture is made of, so we created a list of easy cleaning methods for different outdoor beach materials. Browse the care instructions and tips below to learn how to clean beach chairs of all types.

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Wood Aluminum Wrought Iron HDPE
Synthetic Wicker Outdoor Fabric Plastic Cushions

Wood

How to Clean Wooden Outdoor Furniture

Humidity, moisture, sand, and sun can damage and warp wood over time. Hardwoods like teak and ipe can handle inclement weather better than softwoods like pine, so your patio furniture might need to be cleaned more often, depending on the wood. Either way, preventive maintenance and regular cleaning will keep your furniture in great shape.

Cleaning

  1. Remove sand and debris.
  2. Mix mild soap and water in a bucket.
  3. Dip a soft-bristle brush in the soapy water and scrub the entire frame.
  4. Rinse with fresh water.
  5. Let your furniture air dry completely. 

Protection

Store or cover wood-framed chairs when they’re not in use, and keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible. For extra protection, this Family Handyman article suggests covering the wood with a seal finish, such as exterior polyurethane with UV blockers. Do this annually (or more frequently if your furniture gets a lot of use) before each busy beach season to ensure your chairs are ready for relaxation. 


Aluminum

How to Clean Aluminum Outdoor Furniture

A popular choice for beachside lounging, aluminum furniture is lightweight and resistant to mold, mildew, pests, and rust. 

Cleaning 

  1. Shake off any sand.
  2. Mix mild dish soap and water in a bucket.
  3. Use a clean cloth to wipe the mixture onto the aluminum surfaces, rubbing off any dirt.
  4. Rinse your furniture with clean water and let it air dry.

Prevention

Rust occurs when iron oxidizes, and since aluminum doesn’t contain iron, it cannot rust. However, it can corrode. Saltwater and even moist, salty air can cause corrosion. A Reliance Foundry Co. Ltd. article suggests applying a protective coating such as car wax, exterior paint, or a silicone spray like WD-40 to shield aluminum furniture.

  PRO TIP  

Do a spot test to make sure the sealant won’t damage your lounge chair before doing a full application. 

  1. Pick a small spot on a hidden part of your beach or camping chair and spritz or dab on a bit of the sealant.
  2. Follow the drying or curing instructions listed on the product label.

If nothing bad happens, go ahead and cover the remaining surfaces. If you see adverse effects, stop using the sealant and reach out to the chair manufacturer for product recommendations.


Wrought Iron

How to Clean Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture

Wrought iron furniture is popular in outdoor spaces because of its durability and elegant appearance. Resistant to wind, mold, and mildew, this material can last a long time with proper care.

Cleaning

  1. Remove any cushions. 
  2. Clear away loose dirt with a dry vac with a brush attachment.
  3. Mix mild dish soap and water in a bucket.
  4. Wash away dirt using the soapy solution and a clean cloth. (An old toothbrush works great in reaching into tight curves and twisted pieces.)
  5. Rinse your furniture with clean water and let it air dry.

Prevention

Wrought iron is prone to rust—especially in oceanside settings, but you can protect your furniture by keeping it dry. Cover your chairs or store them in a garage or shed when you’re done using them. For extra protection, apply car wax, WD-40, or exterior paint after your chairs have been cleaned and dried.


High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

How to Clean HDPE Outdoor Furniture

HDPE is an excellent choice for any outdoor furniture setting, from tropical locales to desert landscapes. This durable material is used in a variety of heavy-duty outdoor applications, such as fencing and playground equipment, so it’s a great choice for coastal environments as well.

Cleaning

  1. Mix mild dish soap and warm water in a bucket.
  2. Use a clean cloth or soft-bristle brush to wipe the surfaces of your furniture.
  3. Rinse with clean water and let your furniture air dry.

Prevention

HDPE can be left out all year long and doesn’t need much protection, but there’s nothing wrong with covering or storing your chairs when you’re not using them. If you want to do a deep clean, spray off your seats using a high-pressure power washer (not to exceed 1,500 psi), then follow up with the above cleaning method. We recommend doing this annually, prior to the summer season.


Synthetic Wicker

How to Clean Synthetic Wicker Outdoor Furniture

Wicker is a weaving technique used to make gorgeous furniture, baskets, and other decor. However, natural wicker materials like bamboo, rattan, or reeds don’t hold up well in beachside settings. Synthetic wicker is a preferred beach furniture option because it’s made from durable materials such as nylon, HDPE, or polyethylene (PE).

Cleaning

  1. Take off any cushions.
  2. Remove sand and dust with a dry vac (to get in those tiny nooks and crannies).
  3. Mix a bit of mild dish soap with water in a bucket.
  4. Gently scrub the wicker with soapy water and a soft-bristle brush. Use a toothbrush to get hard-to-reach spots.
  5. Rinse your furniture with water and dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth.

Prevention

Cover and store wicker furniture when it’s not in use. We recommend both steps to keep dust from collecting on your chairs while sitting in your garage or shed. It means less work later on when you pull them out of storage.

  PRO TIP  

Don’t use harsh chemicals or abrasives when cleaning lawn chairs. You’ll probably be cleaning your furniture outside, and if those cleaners spill, they can seep into the ground—and eventually the water. Plus, strong cleaning solutions can damage the materials of your beach chair seats and shorten their lifespans, leading to more money spent down the road for replacements. 


Outdoor Fabric 

How to Clean Outdoor Fabrics

All-weather sling, mesh, or canvas fabrics are often used as the seat and back portions of chairs, chaise lounges, rockers, and other outdoor seating. It’s typically attached to aluminum, plastic, or wooden frames.

Cleaning

  1. Fill a plastic spray bottle with distilled white vinegar.
  2. Spray the fabric and let the vinegar soak in for a few minutes.
  3. Scrub the areas with a soft-bristle brush.
  4. Rinse your chair thoroughly and let it air dry. 

Prevention

Properly store your seats when they aren’t in use—don’t leave them in a haphazard heap in your shed—this takes up more space than necessary and could damage your furniture. Put stackable chairs in a tower in the corner of your storage space, and don’t place things on top of them, as it can tear the seats’ fabric. Folding chairs should not be stacked. Instead, hang them on hooks, slide them beneath tables, or lean them against walls.

  PRO TIP  

This marthastewart.com article points out that not all fabrics are the same, so follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer. 


Injection-Molded Plastic

How to Clean Injction-Molded Plastic Outdoor Furniture

Today’s plastic chairs are more durable than their predecessors, and many beachgoers turn to injection-molded plastic seating because it’s inexpensive, lightweight, and rustproof. Still, coastal climates can do a number on these chairs if they’re not maintained on a regular basis. 

Cleaning

  1. Mix mild detergent and water in a bucket.
  2. Using a clean cloth, rub down all the surfaces of your furniture. 
  3. Rinse with clean water.
  4. Let your chairs air dry completely.

Prevention

Prolonged exposure to the sun’s intense heat and UV rays can warp and fade injection-molded plastic seats, giving them a chalky look. Plus, these chairs are lighter, so a blustery day can push them right into the water (and we don’t want plastic in our oceans). Store your plastic furniture in the off-season and use car wax or silicone spray with UV protection to shield it from the sun.


Cushion Care

How to Care for Your Outdoor Cushions

We didn’t forget this important detail. If you use outdoor cushions to add a little more softness to your seats, you understand that it doesn’t take long for them to get dirty while lounging by the water. Stains, humidity, bird droppings, and sun exposure can damage cushions. Here’s what to do to keep your pillows pristine. 

  1. Brush or rinse off any loose sand and debris before it has a chance to become embedded in the fabric.
  2. Create a mixture of ¼ cup mild soap per gallon of lukewarm water in a bucket. 
  3. Apply the mixture to spills right away with a clean cloth.
  4. Rinse thoroughly and let your cushions air dry. 

  PRO TIP  

  • Standing cushions on their sides will allow them to dry faster.
  • Store your cushions in a dry spot—such as a shed, garage, or storage bin—during the winter or rainy season.

FAQs

How do you maintain a beach chair?

Maintain your beach chair by keeping it dry and out of the sun as much as possible. Clean it regularly and apply a protective sealer to keep it safe from the elements. When you’re not using your lounge seats, cover them up or put them in storage.

How do you remove mildew from a canvas chair?

Fill a spray bottle with a solution of one part water and two parts white vinegar. Spray all of the canvas parts and rub the mixture in with a sponge. Scrub the frame with soapy water, rinse everything with clean water, and let the chair air dry completely. 

Important note: Don’t use bleach to clean canvas chairs because it could damage and discolor the fabric. 

How do you keep beach chairs from rusting?

Prevent rust on beach chairs by keeping them dry and applying car wax or a silicone sealant like WD-40 to all surfaces.

How do you clean aluminum beach chairs?

Brush away loose dirt and debris, then gently scrub all the surfaces of your aluminum beach chairs using a soft-bristle brush, mild dish soap, and water. Rinse with clean water and let your seats fully dry before using or storing them.


Is it time for a seasonal refresh? Use our guides to keep your space clean all year long.

How to Spring Clean Your Outdoor SpaceThe Ultimate Fall Cleaning Checklist

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