How to Clean Wrought Iron Patio Furniture

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Wrought iron patio furniture is a wonderful addition to any outdoor space, but it does require maintenance and cleaning to keep it from rusting. If you’ve been wondering how to clean wrought iron patio furniture in any state, this guide will help you. 

How to Clean Wrought Iron Patio Furniture: 6 Easy Steps

Every outdoor patio piece eventually needs some maintenance and basic cleaning. It’s just part of being outdoors! 

Taking care of wrought iron patio furniture at least twice a year is a great way to avoid rust and other problems. It also keeps your patio furniture in good condition. 

If possible, it is best to choose a day that has nice weather to expedite the drying process! You can choose to perform your maintenance at the beginning of the season or the end of the season. Cleaning the furniture should only take a few minutes. 

Drying out clean wrought iron patio furniture in the sun

Materials You’ll Need:

You’ll need a couple of basic materials to get started on cleaning your patio furniture:

  • Water for rinsing: you can use a power washer, a hose, or simply a bucket of water
  • Bucket
  • Liquid soap with no bleach
  • A brush with soft bristles
  • Clean rag or cloth

It’s important to choose a mild liquid soap with no bleach, as bleach has been proven to be more likely to corrode iron

1. Prepare Your Materials

The job goes easier with everything prepared! Place your furniture in an area where the water will flow away from the chairs if possible. 

Also, pick a place that won’t mind a little water or dirt—it’s best to do this outside, in a clean concrete, or in the garage. Cleaning can get a little messy!

Next, you’ll need to:

  1. Remove anything not wrought iron from the furniture: such as cushions, decorations, etc.
  2. Prepare your method of water
  3. Create a soap and warm water solution in your bucket
  4. Have your cleaning supplies at the ready

If you’re using a bucket for your method of water, you’ll need two buckets: one for the soap solution and one for rinsing. 

2. Rinse Your Furniture

If you’re using a power washer, make sure to be at least a couple of feet away from the patio furniture before turning it on. 

The key to the first rinse is to make sure you get the entirety of the furniture wet and get off as much dirt as you can. If using a hose, you’ll want to spray it pretty well. 

If you’re using a bucket, you will want to use your cloth or rag to dip in the bucket and wipe down all surfaces. You do not need to wring out your cloth after dipping. Remember, the goal is to get it wet!

3. Wash Your Furniture

Using the sponge first, you will soak the sponge in the water and soap solution you have prepared. Again, you don’t need to wring out your sponge. You will be rinsing your furniture again, so the more, the merrier here. 

Black iron furniture

Scrub the furniture and make sure not to miss any areas. Patio furniture can have many crevices, and wrought iron often has a design that does not allow sponges to reach. That’s where we will bring out the brush. Take your brush and use it to clean any of the spaces that the sponge does not reach.

4. Re-Rinse

Once you have cleaned your patio furniture, it’s time to rinse off the soap. You can do this with a power washer or hose by running the water over all areas of your patio furniture. Make sure to rinse thoroughly! 

If you are not using a hose, you can use water from your bucket and dump it over your furniture, making sure to hit all areas in order to thoroughly remove the soap. 

5. Leave to Dry

This is the easiest part! Leave your patio furniture out to dry, you can even leave it out on your clean Azek decking. If you picked a nice sunny day, this shouldn’t take long at all. Regardless, wrought iron doesn’t take in any water, so it should dry quickly.

6. Wax (Optional)

Waxing your furniture keeps it in good condition and helps it look new. As a general rule of thumb, waxing should only be completed one time a year. You can use automotive wax for your furniture, so you do not need to purchase anything different than what you have for your car. 

How to Clean Rust and Restore Wrought Iron Patio Furniture

Now that you know how to clean wrought iron patio furniture, let’s look at ways you can remove rust and restore it. It’s relatively normal for iron to rust when it’s outside, especially if it has any imperfections like a dent or scratch. 

If rust develops on your wrought iron patio furniture, don’t be concerned! It can be cleaned and looks like new. The sooner you clean rust, the better. Rust spreads extremely quickly. If you spot any rust, attack it immediately. 

Note: If you see major cracks in your furniture, you will likely need to contact a professional for this job!

Materials You’ll Need:

You will need a few things in place before you get started on removing rust:

  • Wire brush
  • Sandpaper: Coarse and Fine (or sander)
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Outdoor Wrought Iron Paint
  • Paintbrush

1. Remove Peeling Paint

Garden area

First things first, if any paint is peeling, you’ll need to remove this with your wire brush. Examine your furniture thoroughly, as all peeling paint needs to be removed. 

This is an important step because any peeling paint that remains will not be easy to paint over and may cause more rust down the road. It may take some work and muscle power to get this done, but hang in there! 

2. Brush and Sand off the Rust

Next, you need to remove the rust entirely. Start with your wire brush and go over the areas that have rust thoroughly. This will not remove all the rust, but it will make it easier to sand off. 

Take your coarse sandpaper and remove all of the paint and rust from the area. As an optional tool to speed up the process, you can use a sander.  There are also rust removers on the market that will do the job. Make sure to follow all of the instructions and thoroughly remove it before moving on to the next step.

3. Clean the Sanded Part

When you have removed the rust entirely, it’s time to clean the furniture. Sanding is a messy process, and failure to properly clean will cause uneven paint or problems with the paint sticking. Let the furniture dry completely before painting it.

4. Paint

You will need paint that is intended for wrought iron. Paint is an adhesive that is designed to stick to specific purposes. Normal latex paint will not stick to iron for long at all and will cause you to have to redo this process much sooner than you’d like! 

Paint over the spots that you have prepared and cleaned. You can apply a thin coat, let this dry a little (but not entirely) and do a second coat for a more even finish. 

Leave your furniture to dry. Depending on the paint you purchased, it may be done drying in as little as 24 hours.

Pro-tip: If painting outside, make sure to check the weather. Paints tolerate certain temperatures. You also don’t want it to rain the night you paint!

How to Completely Repaint Your Iron Wrought Furniture

Do you want a new look for your patio furniture? Are you already needing to remove rust and repaint a lot of your furniture and want a change at the same time? 

It’s easy to change things up by painting your wrought iron furniture. The outdoor furniture segment will grow 4% by 2021, but why buy a new set when you have a perfectly durable one at home? 

Garden with white wrought iron furniture

Materials You’ll Need:

Here, we are assuming that your chair is in good condition and you have already removed the rust properly if any exists and done a thorough washing of the furniture. You will need the following materials:

  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Water or Garden Hose

1. Sand Your Furniture

Lightly sand your entire furniture. This helps the paint stick, and helps with a clean paint job. 

2. Rinse Your Furniture

Sanding eliminates a lot of particles from the chair, so it is important to remove these for the paint to have the best finish. 

You simply need to run water over the chair to remove these extra particles. Make sure the chair is completely dry before moving to the next step.

3. Prime Your Furniture

Priming is important if the colors differ drastically. This part can be skipped if you are going with a similar color. A light coat of primer will help cover the color better, and result in less coats of paint overall.

4. Paint Your Furniture

It’s time to paint it now! Paint a thin coat on your furniture, let slightly dry, and come back for the second coat. 

Follow the same tips we gave for restoring and removing rust on picking out your paint and choosing your day to paint. You’ll have an entirely new set of patio furniture at the end of this! 

Let the paint dry completely before enjoying your newly painted patio furniture. 


Knowing how to clean your wrought iron patio furniture is essential to keeping your furniture looking its best. If done before any rust develops, it can be a very quick and easy task. 

Rust can be removed easily at home if it develops, though. Keeping your furniture clean keeps everyone happy and the backyard looking great!