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How to Clean an Outdoor Swing Set

G.K. Bayne

Outdoor swing sets over time can become dirty from natural sources. The backyard set does make a wonderful bird perch. Outdoor structures that are cleaned periodically also can deter insects such as paper and Southern mud dauber wasps from making nests in them during the summer months.

The cleaning activities also can incorporate the children, especially as the method includes a garden hose and it can be accomplished on a single, warm summer afternoon.

  1. Spray the entire swing set down with water. Keep it wet during the cleaning process. Heavy particles such as mud or bird droppings will be removed more easily if left to soak first.

  2. Brush the heavier-laden dirty surfaces with the plastic scrub brush. Rinse the area to remove any streaking or spreading of the wet dirt.

  3. Add the recommended amount of cleaner to the plastic bucket. Follow label directions for mixing the cleaner with water. Fill the bucket with water. The amount of cleaner needed will depend on the size of the swing set.

  4. Work downward from the top of the swing set. Dip the brush into the solution, pull from the bucket immediately and apply to the surface of the structure. Scrub the area, removing any embedded dirt. Rinse thoroughly with the hose water.

  5. Move to a lower area once the upper section of the swing set is finished. Keep the water flowing to continually flush the dirt away from the cleaned areas. The surface may not look dirty until you begin scrubbing.

  6. Allow the structure to dry completely. That may take from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on weather conditions. Apply a new coat of sealer if recommended by the swing-set manufacturer.

  7. Tip

    Some swing-set manufactures have specific sealers for their products. These sealers should be used after cleaning with any type of detergent solutions.


    Do not use a high-pressure washer on a swing set. That can damage the wood or paint finish and cause premature destruction of the structure.