How to Care for and Maintain Outdoor Rocking Chairs

How to Care for and Maintain Outdoor Rocking Chairs


More than just a piece of furniture, outdoor rocking chairs set the foundation for memorable summer gatherings, lazy afternoons reading in the sun, and quiet, peaceful nights gazing at the stars.

You want to get as much use out of this special piece of furniture as you can, right?

Even if your outdoor rocking chairs are made of the highest quality material, they are still susceptible to signs of aging. Without proper care, fading, stains, mildew and rust marks can begin to creep up over time.

Outdoor rocking chairs are unique and special pieces of furniture. Therefore, unique and special care is required to help keep them in pristine condition. And this special care is much different than how you are used to caring for indoor furniture.

So how do you care for outdoor rocking chairs? Read on to find out the must-do’s of maintenance.

Keep It Covered

Want to save time cleaning off the dirt, grime, and stains that will inevitably build up on your outdoor rocking chairs?

Consider investing in a cover!

While basic cleaning maintenance is till important, a cover will allow you to do this chore less frequently. And while it may seem like an unnecessary cost, over time the cost of the cover will be less than total added cost of cleaning supplies.

If you want to wait before investing in a cover, make sure to store your outdoor rocking chairs inside during periods of inclement weather or during months when you won’t be using them.

If you live in a colder region, you’ll want to keep the chairs inside during the coldest months to prevent moisture from trapping and freezing inside, causing the chair to expand. If you live on the coast it may be a good idea to keep them inside during hurricane season. And in some areas, you’ll want to avoid exposing them to pollen season.

It’s a small thing, but you’ll probably be surprised at the extended lifespan that results from keeping your chairs properly covered!

Keep It Clean

Just like almost everything in life, old rocking chairs require some basic cleaning.

Be prepared to do some regular, light cleaning as well as the occasional deep cleaning.

Light Cleaning

For light cleaning, all it takes is a broom or a cloth, mild soap, and water.

Be sure to select a broom with soft to medium bristles and double check the soap ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.

First, you’ll want to clear a well-ventilated space for cleaning – typically not a problem for outdoor furniture. Then, gently sweep to remove any loose debris and dirt, then scrub what you can’t sweep off with soap and water.

Allow the scrubbed mixture to sit on the furniture for about 15 minutes, then thoroughly rinse it with some clean water.

Deep Cleaning

Deeper cleaning is usually only necessary when a particular stain won’t budge.

For this, the general practice is to follow the care instructions that came with your piece of furniture- different materials may require different approaches for tough stains.

If the stain is still being stubborn, try following it up with some mild dishwasher detergent and water. Bleach and vinegar are known to also sometimes do the trick.

One thing’s for certain, though- don’t go after a tough stain with an abrasive cleaning product (or with pine oil) or with a power clean. Outdoor rocking chairs are delicate pieces of furniture, and these aggressive techniques will just wreak havoc on them in the long run.

Here are a couple of simple homemade cleaning solution recipes:

  • Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water
  • Mix 1 cup each of chlorine bleach and laundry detergent with 1 gallon of warm water

Watch Out for Mold

If you live in a humid area, you’ll want to be especially wary of the effects of mold on your outdoor rocking chairs.

While regular cleaning usually does the trick to keep mold at bay, sometimes it actually aggravates the problem. Brushing can cause the spores to spread into the air, leaving them to reland right where you just cleaned.

For this reason, cleaning with a damp cloth is recommended. Also, if your furniture manufacturer recommends it, consider adding bleach to your cleaning solution in order to best tackle the problem.

Restore Dull Colors

Due to the effect of UV rays, that bright red rocking chair you bought a few years back doesn’t look so bright anymore.

This is actually not harmful to the furniture and does not affect its quality. However, depending on your aesthetic preferences, you may want to restore it to its brighter hue.

Mixing a small amount of bleach with water and dish water detergent usually does the trick. And just like regular cleaning, you’ll want to use a gentle brush to apply the solution.

Certain cleaning compounds react best with certain types of wood, so be sure to check with your furniture manufacturer for any suggestions beforehand.

Again, restoring is entirely personal preference- some people like the antiquey look that fading brings, will others prefer the brand spankin’ new look.

Repaint When Necessary

While restoring is up to personal preference, repainting really isn’t – unless you’re a fan of the cracked, peeled, and faded look.

When things start to look a little worn down, you have the option to either add an entirely new coat of paint to the chair or to just patch up the small problem areas.

Unfortunately, matching paint can be a near impossible task, even if purchasing the paint from the same place you purchased the chair. So if your outdoor rocking chairs need some extensive love, an entire repainting is usually the best option, as painting only large areas will leave it looking patchy.

Outdoor Rocking Chairs: Final Thoughts

The best way to keep all of these maintenance tasks to a minimum is to purchase a high-quality outdoor rocking chair.

You may think you’re getting a good deal by purchasing a cheaper one- but cheap materials are much harder to maintain. A high-quality rocking chair will save you both time and money in the long run.

Also, for all of these maintenance tips, always test out your technique on a small, inconspicuous area (such as the bottom leg of the chair) first.

Got any questions on maintaining your coveted outdoor rocking chair? Or looking to make your first purchase? Contact us today and we’ll be glad to help!

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