How to Remove Tree Sap & Pollen From Outdoor Furniture

Originally Published on June 25, 2024. Last Updated on June 25, 2024.

If trees surround your deck or patio, you’ve undoubtedly dealt with sap and pollen speckling your outdoor furniture come spring and summer. And you’re not alone: Homeowners all over the country battle them too.

But we can help you out of these sticky, unsightly situations. Keep reading to see practical, easy methods for effectively removing sap and pollen from various patio furniture and cushion materials, helping you maintain the cleanliness and beauty of your outdoor space all season long.


How Tree Sap & Pollen Impact Furniture

Two rustic wooden cabins nestled in a forest with porches and a view of a lake through the trees.

Certain furniture materials are more susceptible to damage when exposed to plant byproducts like pollen and sap.

Pollen

When dry, pollen is harmless to outdoor furniture. However, when it gets wet, a chemical reaction occurs that can lead to tough stains and even corrosion on certain materials, such as wrought iron and aluminum, if it’s not quickly removed.

Sap

If tree sap lingers too long on furniture, it can lead to stains and discoloration. On top of that, everything sticks to it. Dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris will easily adhere to sap and create a bigger mess.

Removing Tree Sap & Pollen From POLYWOOD Furniture

Browse the cleaning methods below to learn how to remove sap and pollen from our high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic and outdoor performance fabrics.

HDPE Lumber

A closeup of three white planters containing succulents are arranged on a POLYWOOD table in Slate Grey.

Supplies Needed

  • Undistilled white vinegar
  • Water
  • Plastic bucket or bowl
  • Soft-bristle brush

Instructions

  1. In the bucket, mix equal parts vinegar and water.
  2. Scrub the mixture over the stain with the brush until it’s gone.
  3. Rinse with clean water and let the furniture air-dry.

  PRO TIP:  
Rubbing alcohol also works in place of vinegar.

Outdoor Performance Fabric

A closeup of POLYWOOD deep seating furniture with a black frame, Natural Linen fabric seat and back cushions, and a Glacier Spa fabric throw pillow.

Supplies Needed

  • Borax
  • Mild dish soap
  • Water
  • Plastic bucket or bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloth or sponge

Instructions

  1. Mix one teaspoon each of Borax and soap into one quart of warm water.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well to mix.
  3. Spray the solution directly onto the stain and allow it to soak for a few minutes.
  4. Work the solution into the stain with the cloth or sponge, then let it stand for 10–15 minutes.
  5. Rinse with clean water and prop cushions on their sides to air-dry.

Watch & Learn

Explore additional methods to keep tough stains off POLYWOOD furniture and cushions.

More pillow and cushion care tips. With our full fabric cleaning guide, no stain is safe! Click or tap to get the guide.

Cleaning Tree Sap & Pollen Off Different Surfaces

Follow these steps to effectively eliminate tree sap and pollen from a variety of outdoor furniture materials, including wood, aluminum, wrought iron, injection-molded plastic, and wicker.

Wood & Aluminum

Supplies Needed

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Plastic bucket or bowl
  • Cloth or soft sponge
  • Towel

Instructions

  1. Mix rubbing alcohol and water in the bucket at a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Apply the solution with the cloth or sponge, gently scrubbing the affected area to remove the stain.
  3. Rinse with clean water and towel-dry the furniture.

Wrought Iron, Wicker & Injection-Molded Plastic

Supplies Needed

  • Mild dish soap
  • Water
  • Plastic bucket or bowl
  • Soft sponge
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clean cloth
  • Towel

Instructions

  1. Mix soap and water in the bucket.
  2. Use the sponge to gently scrub the soapy solution over stains and rinse with clean water.
  3. Wipe rubbing alcohol onto stains with the cloth, carefully dabbing at them until they’re gone.
  4. Rinse once more with clean water and towel-dry the furniture.

Prevention Tips

Here are some easy ways to keep your outdoor furniture safe from sap and pollen now and in the future.

Two POLYWOOD Modern Adirondack Chairs in Black on a lawn with pumpkins and mums sitting beside each one.
Featured: Modern Adirondack Chair in Black
  • Trim trees: Trim back trees or shrubbery to reduce the likelihood of sap or pollen landing on your furniture.
  • Consider placement: Avoid positioning furniture directly under trees or near landscaping that produces a lot of sap or pollen.
  • Regular cleaning: Remove pollen and sap before it has a chance to build up.
  • Use covers: Use protective covers to shield furniture from the elements.
  • Try protective coatings: Shield your furniture from sap and pollen with these protective coatings:
    • Wood: exterior sealant or paint
    • Aluminum and wrought iron: car wax
    • Natural wicker: lemon oil
    • Cushion fabric: spray-on silicone protectant

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