A little soap and water and a good rinse is all you really need to do to keep your bench looking good. Once you have cleaned and rinsed your bench, dry it well with some soft, absorbent cloths. It's important to note that keeping the outdoor bench dry is your best way to protect the finish. If your outdoor bench has some tough water spotting, whether from improper drying or rain, you may want to try a specialized cleaner to remove these stubborn spots. Remember to make sure to check the manufacturers instructions, particularly with a wood bench.
Maintenance of metal benches
Outdoor benches made with aluminum, wrought iron or steel can easily be cleaned with soapy water. Most metal outdoor benches have a rust resistant coating on them. If you doubt the rust resistance of your bench - or if you want a great shine - paste wax works nicely against corrosion.
Maintenance of plastic benches
If your outdoor bench is constructed from recycled plastic; it can be cleaned with some soapy water. Make sure to then rinse it and wipe it dry. Recycled plastic is made to never need harsh cleaning, painting, staining or sanding. If you have a problem with some hard water stains, you can get rid of them with a solvent that is safe for plastics. Make sure you read the instructions that come with the solvent before applying to ensure it is safe for your bench.
Maintenance of wooden benches
Wooden outdoor benches are often coated with an outdoor varnish that isn't bothered by cleaning with soap and water. You may choose to use an oil-based soap cleaner specifically made for wood. It's a good idea to cover any wooden bench in the cold, wet winter months. Cedar and teak benches may not need to be stored for winter due to their resilience to harsh weather. A wooden bench will need to be refinished every couple of years. This will keep it in tip-top condition. If the wood is painted, and you spot some peeling, it is probably time to repaint your outdoor bench.
Just a little bit of care and maintenance, in some cases, occasional refinishing, will keep your outdoor bench looking great year after year. Follow the simple tips discussed above and you'll be sure to have a great looking bench that will last you a lifetime.