5 Ways to Remove Dirt and Stains From an Old Porch Rocking Chair

5 Ways to Remove Dirt and Stains From an Old Porch Rocking Chair

There’s nothing more classic and refined than the look of an old porch rocking chair. However, it’s normal for it to build up debris, dust, and grime over time. Luckily, there are several ways that you can effectively clean your patio furniture. While cleaning, there are some important things to keep in mind. Most importantly, narrow down the type of material that the porch rocking chair is made of. Your cleaning approach will differ depending on the material of your rocking chair.

By taking the time to effectively clean your patio furniture, it’ll look better and last longer. 

Take a look:

How To Clean Your Old Rocking Chair

cleaning old porch rocking chair

You’ll want to begin by preparing the tools you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Sponge 
  • Toothbrush for tight areas filled with grime and debris 
  • A bucket filled with warm water 

After you prepare your tools, you’re ready to get your cleaning solution. This will depend largely on what type of material your rocking chair is made out of. We’ve outlined five of our favorite ways to remove dirt and stains from your patio furniture. 

1. All-Purpose Cleaner 

All-purpose cleaner is best used on plastic furniture. Plastic chairs can quickly become worn and look aged with a build-up of dust and debris. By using an all-purpose cleaner, you can bring back that like-new shine. 

Here are the steps to follow when cleaning plastic furniture using an all-purpose cleaner: 

  • Generously spray the plastic down and then use a sponge to lightly scrub the furniture. 
  • Focus on places with a build-up of grime and dust. 
  • You can use your toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach areas such as between wicker slats. 

Make sure to choose an all-purpose cleaner that isn’t too harsh. After you’re done with your all-purpose cleaner, use a microfiber cloth and water to rub-down the furniture. Let it dry completely.

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2. Dish Soap and Water 

Dilute a tablespoon of dish soap into a large bucket of warm water to clean your patio furniture. This can be used for just about any type of patio furniture, including wood, metal, plastic, and spot wash fabric. Use a microfiber cloth to lightly scrub stains and dirt. 

For metal furniture, you can go in with your dish soap solution and a piece of steel wool to thoroughly scrub areas of rust. This should loosen the rust to remove. Following this, you’ll want to repaint the furniture to prevent more rust from accumulating. 

3. Vinegar and Water 

    Vinegar and water is an excellent, all-natural option that is especially good for white pieces of furniture. Perfect for using on plastic furniture, use your vinegar and water mixture with a sponge to lightly scrub. 

    4. Oil Soap

      Oil soap can be used with wood furniture to help clean dirt and stains. It can be placed directly on the furniture without fear of harming the finish. Follow the instructions on the back of your oil soap bottle to effectively use the product. 

      5. Washing Machine 

        For fabric furniture (such as hammocks) and cushion covers, you can easily clean them by throwing them in the washing machine. Put on a light cycle and dry completely before placing back on your patio furniture. 

        Don’ts When Washing Your Porch Rocking Chair 


        When it comes to your patio furniture, there is a list of things you shouldn’t do. By taking missteps, you can shorten the life of your furniture or cause damage to the structure of your rocking chair. We’ve outlined five things that you shouldn’t do when cleaning your porch furniture. 

        Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals 

        Your patio furniture is fragile and harsh chemicals can quickly damage the finish put on the furniture to protect it. Stray away from harsh chemicals and stick with something subtle such as dish soap, vinegar, or oil soap. These will help prolong the life of your patio furniture while still offering you that new appearance. 

        Don’t Power Wash 

        Resist the urge to power wash your patio furniture. Though it might seem like the quickest and easiest way to clean your outdoor rocking chairs, it can seriously damage the wood, metal, or plastic. We recommend taking the time to properly clean them. Though this may require some more time, it’ll pay off in the long run. 

        Don’t Leave Metal Furniture Wet 

        Water is the formula for rust when it comes to metal patio furniture. Rust can quickly break down the integrity of your patio furniture and make it look dated and worn. Avoid keeping your metal patio furniture wet for any prolonged amount of time. Following your cleaning, wipe down with a soft microfiber cloth to dry the furniture as much as possible. 

        Don’t Clean Irregularly 

        Don’t neglect your patio furniture and clean it irregularly. Get in the habit of clearing it of debris and dust often and thoroughly clean it 1-2 times per season. Irregularly cleaning your patio furniture can result in mold, rust, or a build-up of debris that’s difficult to remove. By staying on top of your patio furniture cleaning, you make your cleaning experience easier. 

        Don’t Ignore Mold and Mildew 


        Once mold and mildew pop up, they’re likely to spread. Ignoring mold and mildew is an easy way to tarnish your patio furniture. If you see mildew form on wooden patio furniture, mix bleach, vinegar, and water. Gently scrub away mildew with a soft sponge. Natural vinegar will help keep mildew away as it continues to pop up. 

        Because vinegar is acidic, it cleans, disinfects, and deodorizes. It’ll help kill mold species and mildew. To upkeep furniture, you can also mix white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to periodically spray down furniture. 


        Taking the time to properly clean your porch rocking chair is the key to prolonging its lifespan and maintaining the longevity of the furniture. By using an all-purpose cleaner, dish soap, vinegar, or oil soap, you can easily remove debris, dust, and mold. Throw fabric cushions in the wash to rid them of dust buildup. Use tools such as a toothbrush, sponge, and microfibre cloth to ensure that you get into the nooks and crannies of your furniture. Make sure to always nip mold, mildew, and rust in the bud as soon as you see them arise. 

        By being mindful of the maintenance and improving your cleaning routine, you can prolong the life of your patio furniture and keep it looking brand new. 

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