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Blooming flowers and budding leaves mean a few things: longer days are coming, warm weather is on its way, and Mother Nature is about to get a lot more beautiful. Unfortunately, that also means pollen is about to sweep through your yard, coating your outdoor furniture with a layer of yellow dust. And if you don’t act fast, that pollen will pile up—making it tough to sit down without getting pollen all over you.
“Pollen is a major irritant for many people,” Matthew Baratta, VP of Operations at Daimer Industries, says. “If pollen is allowed to build up, it can cause other problems, in addition to being unsightly and uncomfortable.”
Pollen doesn’t just turn your furniture yellow and make it tough to sit down—it can also cause problems for people with pollen allergies. And since it attracts insects, it can turn your outdoor space into a haven for bugs.
That may sound like a nightmare. But there’s an easy way to avoid it: Regularly clean your outdoor furniture. According to cleaning experts, keeping pollen build-up at bay is as easy as spot-cleaning your furniture daily, washing it regularly, and deep-cleaning it every now and then.
To help you determine what to do—and when to do it—we asked those same cleaning experts how to clean pollen off outdoor furniture to get the best results.
Meet the Expert
How Often to Clean Pollen Off Your Outdoor Furniture
Pollen isn’t a problem all year long. It comes and goes, depending on the season. And if your yard is filled with lush greenery, you’ll probably experience more pollen than someone with fewer plants. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should clean pollen off your outdoor furniture, but experts have a few rules of thumb.
During the spring, clean your outdoor furniture every week, and during the summer, clean it every other week. “This will take care of the major pollen deposits on your outdoor furniture,” Baratta says. “It will prevent future pollen from settling as quickly, because your furniture will be clean and more resistant to grime.”
During the fall and winter, pollen shouldn’t be a problem, so deep-clean your outdoor furniture once at the beginning of spring and summer—and once at the end of it, too.
“Cleaning your outdoor furniture at the beginning of the season allows you to prep the furniture and clear off any dust that accumulated during the winter season,” Derek Chiu, co-founder and director of UrbanMop, says. “You should also clean the furniture at the end of the season to clear off all the dust and dirt and prevent more from accumulating.”
Things You’ll Need
- Dish soap
- Spray bottle
- Coarse sponge
- Cleaning cloth
- Pressure washer (optional)
How to Clean Pollen Off Your Outdoor Furniture
Step 1: Wipe Down Your Outdoor Furniture
Cleaning pollen off your outdoor furniture is easy. Grab a spray bottle, fill it with water, and add some dish soap. Then, spray that soapy mixture all over your furniture.
“Leave the solution on the cushions for a few minutes, and then scrub the area with a sponge,” Chiu says. Since pollen can be tough to remove, he recommends using a coarse sponge to get the job done.
Step 2: Scrub Away Pesky Pollen Deposits
If some pollen decided to stick around, put some elbow grease into it. Scrub the pesky deposits with your sponge. Then, wipe them away with a cleaning cloth.
When your sponge won’t do the trick, Baratta recommends grabbing a roll of tape. “Use the sticky side of your tape to lift off residual pollen deposits before cleaning the [furniture] with hot water and soap,” he says.
Step 3: Pressure-Wash Your Outdoor Furniture (optional)
When it’s time to deep-clean your furniture twice a year, whip out your pressure washer—or call in the professionals. “Use a power washer to clean the heaviest pollen spots,” Baratta says. “This will help remove not just pollen—but excess dirt, grime, and mildew—from your outdoor furniture.”
And if you don’t have a pressure washer, hire an expert to handle the job. “Hiring a professional can help [cut down on] time spent scrubbing and prevent damage to the furniture,” Chiu says.
Step 4: Dry Off Your Furniture
Once you’re finished cleaning, dry your furniture off—even if it’s hot and sunny outside. “If your furniture is still wet after you wash it, it will be easier for pollen and dirt in the air to stick to it,” Baratta says. “So wipe it down with a dry cloth immediately after cleaning to ensure you have that extra protection against pollen.”
Tips to Keep Your Outdoor Furniture Pollen-Free Longer
Want to keep your furniture pollen-free between cleans? There are a few things you can do.
- Cover your outdoor furniture. “Covering your furniture when it isn't in use is often the best practice,” Baratta says. He recommends machine-washable covers, since they’re easy to clean.
- Clean up pollen as soon as you see it. “Wipe off pollen as soon as it falls on any surface,” Baratta says. This prevents pollen build-up.
- Avoid porous furniture. “If your furniture is made from a porous material, like wicker or rattan, it will hold more pollen than [furniture made from] plastic or metal,” Baratta says.