Home LifestyleAdvice How to Clean a Wooden Picnic Table: 8 Simple Steps To Follow

How to Clean a Wooden Picnic Table: 8 Simple Steps To Follow

By isha.m
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how to clean a wooden picnic table

In the backyard, my wooden picnic table awaited its cleaning day. Armed with soapy water and a soft brush, I set out to bring back its faded look. But it wasn’t an easy task like I thought.

 Thanks to my friend, who is a cleaning pro. He taught me some really simple steps on how to clean a wooden picnic table outdoors, bringing back the table’s old charm.

And for the best part, you’ll have a cozy and welcoming space for relaxing, dining, and hanging out with friends in no time.

Want to know what they are?

Keep reading to find out!

Key Takeaways:
Use a mild, soapy solution and a soft brush to remove dirt and spills without causing damage to the wood.
Choose waterproofing sealants to safeguard your picnic table from potential water damage.
You can employ wood sealers for an extra layer of protection against UV rays, humidity, and other environmental factors.

8 Easy Steps to Clean a Wooden Picnic Table

Cleaning a wooden picnic table can be a breeze if you know the right way to do so. No wonder people had to go through so much just because they didn’t know the easy way.

However, before we get our hands dirty, let’s gather the essentials:

  • Mild dish soap or wood cleaner
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristle brush or sponge
  • Bucket
  • A garden hose or a bucket of clean water
  • Soft cloths or rags
  • Wood sealer or protective finish (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)

Now that all the materials are ready, here are the simple 8 steps that will have your picnic table gleaming like it just came off a showroom floor:

1. Clear the Table

Start by giving your table a little breathing room. Remove any lingering debris—fallen leaves, crumbs, or that rogue ketchup packet from last summer’s BBQ. 

Afterward, give it a good sweep or use a brush to make sure it’s a clean canvas.

2. Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Now, mix a solution of mild dish soap or wood cleaner with warm water in a bucket. The secret formula of the solution is to follow the product’s instructions for the proper dilution ratio.

In other words, aim for a soapy solution that’s tough on grime but gentle on your precious wooden surface.

Prepare the Cleaning Solution
Prepare the Cleaning Solution

You can alternatively use the bleach solution to loosen the stubborn dirt and all. Also, don’t use too much bleach.

3. Scrub the Surface

Dip a soft-bristled brush or sponge into the cleaning solution. Gently scrub the entire surface of the wooden picnic table in circular motions to show that table who’s boss. 

Scrub the Surface
Scrub the Surface

Pay extra attention to areas with stubborn stains, bird droppings, or built-up grime.

Be cautious not to scrub too hard, as it could damage the wood!

4. Rinse with Water

After scrubbing, rinse the table thoroughly with a garden hose or a bucket of clean water. Make sure to remove all soap residue from the wood.

After all, a squeaky-clean finish is the goal!

5. Dry the Table

It’s time to let your picnic table bask in the sunlight. Air-dry it thoroughly to prevent any moisture from sneaking in and causing trouble.

Dry the Table
Dry the Table

Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for an extended period, as this can cause the wood to dry out and potentially crack!

6. Inspect for Damage

Give your table a once-over. Check for any sneaky splinters, cracks, or signs of wear and tear. If there are minor imperfections, you may choose to sand them down gently.

Plus, the quicker you address an issue, the longer your picnic table will remain in top-notch condition.

7. Optional: Apply Wood Sealer or Protective Finish

If you want to enhance the longevity and appearance of the picnic table, consider applying a wood sealer or protective finish. This, in turn, works as a guard against the elements and keeps your table looking its best through countless picnics.

Follow the product instructions for application and drying times.

8. Regular Maintenance

Don’t let your picnic table feel neglected!

Make cleaning a regular part of your routine to fend off dirt and grime. A little love goes a long way toward preserving the beauty of your wooden masterpiece.

Regular Maintenance
Regular Maintenance

Hence, clean it as needed, and consider reapplying a protective finish annually or as recommended by the product.

Why Should You Use a Treatment, and Which One Should You Use?

Honestly speaking, I have never used any sort of treatment for my picnic table. However, since I learned about the necessity of treatment, I have been consistently conscious of this matter.

Because of the following things:

  • Using a treatment for your wooden picnic table is crucial for its protection and longevity.
  • Outdoor exposure exposes the wood to weather elements, risking damage, decay, and rot.
  • Treatments act as a safeguard, forming a protective layer against moisture, UV rays, and fungi. They enhance the wood’s natural appearance, maintaining its charm while extending its lifespan.

But now the question is, which treatment is suitable for your picnic table or outdoor table? Here are some effective options for you:

Wood Sealers

These provide a clear protective layer, guarding against moisture and UV rays. They are great for preserving the natural look of wood. I love to give this treatment to my wooden furniture.


Stains add color to the wood while providing protection. They come in various shades, allowing you to customize the appearance of your picnic table.

So, it totally depends on you what looks you would go for.

Waterproofing Sealants

If you are looking for the ideal treatment for preventing water damage, this is the best option for you. These sealants create a barrier that repels water, preventing it from penetrating the wood.

This treatment is great, especially for outdoor furniture and benches.


Let’s talk about the preservatives. These treatments contain chemicals that protect against insects, fungi, and decay. In other words, they are excellent for long-term wood preservation.

Some Bonus Information:

  • When choosing a treatment for picnic table maintenance, consider your specific needs. For example, consider the climate in your area and the type of wood your picnic table is made from.
  • Always follow the product instructions for application and maintenance to ensure optimal results.

How Can I Make My Picnic Table Last Longer?

Worried about your outdoor wooden furniture’s durability?

To extend the lifespan of your picnic table, you can consider the following tips that I have shared. These simple steps ensure your outdoor haven stays sturdy and beautiful for years to come:

How Can I Make My Picnic Table Last Longer
Make Your Picnic Table Last Longer
  • Regular Cleaning: Keep your table free from dirt, debris, and spills. Regular cleaning prevents the build-up of harmful substances that can damage the wood.
  • Apply a Protective Treatment: Use a suitable treatment, such as a wood sealer or preservative, to shield the table from weather conditions, UV rays, and insects. Reapply as needed based on the product’s recommendations.
  • Keep it Dry: Moisture can lead to wood rot. Cover your table during heavy rain or snow, and consider using a waterproof cover when not in use.
  • Avoid Harsh Cleaners: Use mild, soapy water for cleaning instead of abrasive cleaners that can damage the wood finish.
  • Inspect and Repair: Regularly inspect the table for any signs of damage, such as cracks or loose boards. Promptly address and repair any issues to prevent further deterioration.


  • Failure to provide proper maintenance and protection can result in premature wear, decay, and a reduced lifespan for your picnic table.
  • Also, neglecting these steps may void warranties and lead to costly repairs or replacements.

“Always prioritize routine care to enjoy a longer-lasting and well-maintained outdoor space table.”

Tips For Maintenance

Just giving your furniture a good clean won’t cut it for long-lasting durability. It’s crucial to clean and maintain a wooden picnic table properly.

I’ve passed along the essential maintenance tips you need to follow.

Tips For Maintenance
Tips For Maintenance

Let’s check them out:

1. Choose Your Wooden Picnic Table Wisely

Not all types of wood can withstand the challenges of outside weather. Hence, make sure to select a durable wood type like cedar or redwood.

These hardwoods resist decay and weathering, ensuring your picnic table lasts longer with minimal maintenance.

2. Keep Your Wooden Picnic Table Clean

Even the best furniture requires proper and regular cleaning. So, regularly wipe off dirt and spills with a mild soapy solution.

“Avoid abrasive cleaners to preserve the table’s finish and prevent damage.”

3. Regular Sealant Application

Apply a wood sealant to protect your table from the elements. Reapply as recommended to maintain a barrier against moisture, UV rays, and insects.

By doing so, you create a resilient defense that prolongs the life of your table, preserving its natural beauty and integrity.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, mastering how to clean a wooden picnic table is the key to preserving its charm and durability.

Hopefully, armed with these above-mentioned cleaning insights, you’re well on your way to turning your outdoor space into a haven of comfort and style.

No matter how stubborn the stain gets, you will be able to clean it off with complete ease. So, what are you waiting for?

Time to grab your cleaning supplies, roll up your sleeves, and let the transformation begin.

Happy Picnicking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best treatment for an outdoor picnic table?

The best treatment for an outdoor picnic table is a quality wood sealer. It provides excellent protection against weather elements, UV rays, and moisture, ensuring durability.

How do you protect a wooden picnic table?

Protecting a wooden picnic table involves regular cleaning, applying a wood sealer, and choosing a durable wood type like cedar or redwood.

Should you stain or seal a picnic table?

For optimal protection, you can both stain and seal your picnic table. However, one thing to note, stains add color and enhance aesthetics. On the other hand, sealers provide a protective barrier against moisture, UV rays, and insects.

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