Spring and summer are truly double-edged swords. While we appreciate the arrival of warm, beautiful weather and lush gardens, we also suffer through the pollen season. The thin yellow film indiscriminately disperses everywhere, irritating our eyes and airways and blanketing our cars and outdoor furniture.
While you might need to head to the local drugstore for allergy relief, you can learn how to remove pollen from outdoor furniture in this guide—no prescription necessary.
The following steps will help eliminate pollen that has settled on wood and non-porous surfaces like wicker, plastic, and metal. These are the easiest surfaces to remove pollen deposits from.
You will need:
Set-in pollen deposits are harder to get out of cushions and fabric than solid furniture, and they require a different technique, so it’s best to remove them for cleaning later in the process. Untie any seat or back cushions, take off any fabric covers, tassels, or other textiles, and set them aside.
It’s okay if the cushions aren’t removable. If that’s the case, avoid scrubbing the surface with a brush or sponge.
Once all the cushions are off, wipe down the furniture with a clean, dry microfiber towel. Microfiber will pick up loose dirt and pollen, removing the bulk of the dust and film.
Fill the spray bottle with water and add two squirts of dish soap. Mix the bottle well until the solution is sudsy. If desired, add a few drops of mint, lavender, or lemon essential oil to provide a nice scent and to make the furniture less desirable for insects (though the effect will only be temporary).
Note: If the furniture has any fabric that cannot be removed, refrain from adding oils as they may stain the fabric.
Move the furniture to a shady area if it is in direct sunlight. Next, spray each piece with the solution. Allow the solution to sit on the surface of the furniture for 5 minutes, respraying anywhere that begins to dry quickly.
After 5 minutes, scrub each piece of furniture with a coarse sponge. Use the stiff-bristled brush for any nooks that the sponge can’t penetrate, such as the crevices of wicker.
Use the garden hose to rinse off the furniture. For materials that can handle light pressure from a pressure washer, spray the entire surface with a 15-degree or larger nozzle. Don’t pressure wash wicker furniture as it may break.
Leaving furniture wet will just invite additional airborne pollen to settle and stick all over again, so it’s best to dry everything off. Once the furniture is rinsed, grab a clean microfiber towel and wipe down each piece of furniture, starting at the top and working down to the legs.
Cleaning pollen stains from fabric requires a slightly different approach. These steps will guide you through the process.
You will need:
Start by wiping most of the pollen off the cushions using only a clean, dry microfiber towel, just as we did with the furniture. This removes most of the pollen, making the next steps more effective.
Use the vacuum with the upholstery attachment to suck up as much pollen as possible. Vacuum the surfaces of the cushions and pillows, and then use the crevice tool to get into the seams and any piping on the cushions.
If this doesn’t get those cushions looking fresh and new, move on to the next step. Otherwise, you can stop here.
Mix a solution of water and dish soap to clean the cushions. Fill the bucket with warm water and about ¼ cup of dish soap and stir together. This solution should remove any dirt and pollen deposits from the material and help restore the color of the fabrics.
Using a clean microfiber towel, dip it into the bucket and then scrub the surfaces of the cushions to break up the pollen and wash it away. Use a toothbrush to scour any folds or piping where the microfiber towel can’t reach.
Aim the garden hose at the cushions to thoroughly wash away any remaining soap, dirt, and pollen.
Once they’re rinsed, squeeze any excess moisture from the cushions by rolling them up or twisting them gently. Dry the cushions by standing them up on end and allowing them to air-dry in the sun. If the cushions don’t detach from the furniture, prevent mold by turning each piece upside-down so the cushions can drain and dry without retaining any moisture beneath.
Pollen is tough to avoid, but there are a few things folks can do to handle it. First, consider bringing patio furniture inside when it’s not in use. If that’s not possible, try purchasing outdoor seating covers to protect the seats and cushions from pollen and dirt when no one is sitting on them.
Finally, give patio furniture a quick rinse with a garden hose a few times a week to prevent pollen and other debris from building up, allowing you to enjoy your patio furniture any time you’d like, pollen-free.