Our customer service team recently received an email from a customer asking how to clean White Metal Garden Furniture, specifically, are there any special products or processes that differ from our darker antique bronze or slate grey finishes?
They’d had our 6-seater Amelia Set in White for around a year and a half and it had sat on their patio all that time. Whilst it still looked great, the last couple of months or so of autumn/winter weather had left it looking a little grubby and they were keen to give it a good spring clean when the weather picks up.
We often say to our customers just clean our metal garden furniture like you would your car. Makes sense, both are essentially constructed from painted metal. Car wheels are generally made from aluminium and in many modern high-performance vehicles, so too are many of the panels.
In our experience, car cleaning products will generally do a better a much job than any specialist garden furniture cleaners too. And those same products will work if it’s our white or antique bronze painted finish.
A bit of car shampoo and a light coat of natural carnauba wax will give it a lovely lustre and a little extra protection. We looked at the logic and some of our favourite automotive products in our how to apply car wax to metal garden furniture article.
That said there is one big difference between garden furniture and cars… A black car will generally show up dirt and grime more than a white car. However, that is not generally true with our garden furniture.
Our furniture has more of a satin finish I’d guess you could say, closer to a matte than a high gloss but not totally flat. If you’re new to Lazy Susan and looking to purchase, then you can order a free White Metal Sample Swatch to check if you like the finish.
Both our antique bronze and white metal garden furniture do a pretty good job of masking the kind of grime that builds up after exposure to the elements, and that’s because the finish isn’t a high gloss like you’d find on a car. That mirror-like high-gloss metallic finish is what shows the dirt up, especially with black having a high reflective quality.
However, leave anything outside for a long period of time and it is going to weather. Wind and rain will leave it covered in a film of muck, and that’s before we get onto birds, trees, etc.
How to clean white metal garden furniture from Lazy Susan
The big difference between white metal garden furniture and our black, antique bronze or grey sets, is that you want the white paintwork to look as bright as possible, whereas on the darker pieces we want them to have more of a depth of shine coming through.
How to wash your white metal cast aluminium furniture
- Give it a rinse with the garden hose to remove any loose contamination /debris. Do not use a pressure washer, a garden hose on a spray setting will suffice.
- Fill a bucket with warm soapy water and wash the furniture down with a soft sponge. Washing up liquid will work OK, but a good car foam shampoo is our preference (and we’ve recommended a few of our favourites below) as it safely removes dirt and contaminants but won't damage the paintwork.
- Rinse with the garden hose on a spray setting and leave it to dry in the sun. If you want to use it immediately, then you can dry it off with a microfibre towel.
If you need to remove any stubborn stains such as bird dropping, tree sap or berry stains from our white metal outdoor furniture then again, don’t be tempted to use a pressure washer, they are best softened first to avoid potentially damaging the painted finish.
- Start by soaking an old tea towel, sponge or microfibre cloth in warm soapy water and let it sit on there for a few minutes or so.
- Wipe it off with another clean soft sponge or microfibre cloth.
- A light squirt of WD-40 directly onto the dirt is also good for this job. Just leave for a minute or so, and then wipe off with warm soapy water.
- Alternatively, you could use a car bug cleaner such as Autoglym Active Insect Remover. Again, just leave it for a minute or two, and then wipe it off with warm soapy water.
How to maintain white metal garden furniture from Lazy Susan
Regular readers of our blog will know that we recommend applying a light coat of car wax to the furniture when dry to give the white paintwork a nice bright lustre.
A basic ‘carnauba’ style wax you’d apply to your car will do the job, nothing expensive. Our preferences for our white furniture are listed below but they’re all easy to apply, not too expensive, and most importantly, they’re easy to "buff" to a nice sheen.
It will also provide that all-important protection against the elements and keep the furniture cleaner for longer. You don't need much. Just apply a light coat with one microfibre cloth and "buff" it with another.
It is also vital that you maintain the integrity of the paintwork and touch up any chips and scratches. Compromise it and it could lead to problems down the line.
If you get a small scratch or a chip on the foot of a chair or table whilst moving it out on a stone patio for example, then moisture could get under the paintwork and cause it to blister. It is worth stressing that this is rare as several coats are applied but it can happen.
The solution is just to keep checking, and if you do spot a chip, touch it up with our White Touch Up Paint Kit. You’ll find a video with a detailed step-by-step illustrated guide to application in our how to touch up paint chips and scratches on metal garden furniture article.
At this time of year, you might also want to think about covering and securing your furniture if you can’t store it in a garage or shed. If you have no choice or prefer to leave it outside, but want to keep it clean to reduce cleaning/maintenance, then the best option is to cover it.
Ensure you get covers that fit in terms of size and shape, can be secured in place with tie straps (so they don’t blow off) and that they’re constructed from a breathable waterproof fabric.
There are a number of websites that provide made-to-measure garden table and chair covers, you just pop in the details such as table shape, size, number of chairs, etc and they’ll ship them to you.
Our favourite white metal garden furniture cleaning products
When it comes to which car shampoo to use on our metal garden furniture, our advice is to use whatever you use on the car. You don’t need much, just a splash in a bucket of warm water will suffice.
If you’re looking for something specific for our white finish, then one of the best we’ve used is a two-stage process from Meguiars, that can be applied as follows:
- Give the furniture a rinse with a garden hose.
- Mix 1 part Ultimate Snow Foam Xtreme Cling (pictured above) with 5 parts water in a spray bottle and coat the furniture.
- Let it sit for a few minutes to soften anything like bird droppings or tree sap and then rinse it off with the garden hose.
- Then fill a bucket with warm water and a splash of their Ultimate Wash & Wax, which gives a nice lather and it boosts the wax protection at the same time, and wipe your furniture down with a soft sponge.
- Rinse with the garden hose and leave it to dry in the sun or wipe over with a microfibre towel.
Again, when it comes to a carnauba-style wax, we’ve yet to find one that doesn’t give our furniture a nice finish. The key is to only apply a small amount and give it a good buff with a clean lint-free cloth.
If using a new product for the first time, we would always advise that you test it first somewhere innocuous like the underside of a garden chair.
In terms of wax for our white metal garden furniture, then nothing disastrous will happen if you apply general car wax to our white paintwork. However, you can get waxes specifically designed for enhancing white cars.
They often include a white pigment, so they will help to enhance the finish on our white furniture and give it that bright pop you’re looking for.
Other brands will even contain a cleaning solution in the wax that will bring out a nice sheen and remove any yellowing that can occur when exposed to the elements over a long period of time.
A light coat of Meguiars Hybrid Ceramic Wax is a great spray-on solution that requires no buffing. You just spray on when wet and leave it to dry and it will give that white paintwork a nice pop and a little extra protection.
If you want a classic carnauba paste-style wax then Poorboy's (pictured above) gives the best finish in our opinion. Little more effort to apply but it is specially formulated for white and light paintwork, and it brings out a lovely lustre that seems to last for months.
That said, just because white car wax is a more specialised product, it doesn't mean you have to spend £20 plus. If you're on a budget, then Turtle Wax’s White Colour Magic is a good choice for enhancing and protecting the paintwork on our white furniture.
After washing and when fully dry, you should apply both the Poorboy's and Turtle Wax (or any other carnauba-style wax for that matter) as follows:
- Apply a small amount of wax/polish to an inconspicuous area of your garden furniture such as the underside of a chair to make sure the product is compatible with the finish.
- If the product blends seamlessly into the paintwork, then place a pea-sized amount onto a clean microfibre cloth.
- Apply to a small area at a time and buff each section with another clean microfibre cloth before you move on to the next.
- Leave to dry until it turns into a light haze.
- With a fresh microfibre cloth, wipe away any excess wax, and continue buffing to finish.
View the full Lazy Susan White Metal Garden Furniture collection.
If you have any photos of our white garden furniture on your deck or patio, then we’d love to see a few for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].