Cleaning A Wooden Swing Set

a large wooden swing set with slide
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-20
What You'll Need
Garden hose
Soft brush
Liquid detergent

Over time, your wooden swing set can become dirty through regular use, weather, pets, or debris. Regularly clean your swing set to ensure that it last many years.

1. Watch the Bugs

If left unchecked, outdoor structures can become a home for many different kinds of bugs. Some of these, like termites, can severely damage a wooden structure to the point that it must be replaced.

Other bugs, like wasps and hornets, can make hives in dark spaces, corners, or underneath platforms. This is a danger to the children who are playing on it. Periodically cleaning your wooden swing set will help combat these bugs.

2. Start with Water

woman pressure washing a deck

To start, just spray your swing set down with a garden hose. After long seasons of neglect, you might need to use a power washer to get rid of accumulated dirt, leaves, and even stagnant, dirty water trapped between the pieces.

Dried bird droppings may also be hard to get off with just a basic garden house, so pressure washing will help a great deal. Make sure not to damage the wood if you do use a pressure washer.

3. A Soft Brush

People often attack a wooden swing set with a wire brush to get rid of grime. This will actually dig up the wood, causing splinters or creating areas where the sun and rain can rot it.

For best results, use a brush with soft bristles. Use gentle soap and water, and brush in a circular motion to remove mold, mildew, or caked-on dirt.

4. Warm Water and Soap

You can buy special cleaners and solvents to clean your wooden swing set, but the most effective solution is simple soap and warm water. Instead of a sponge, use a strong cloth or soft brush.

Soak the area that you are cleaning with the soap and water. Once it has set for a few seconds, gently work it into a circular motion with the brush. If need be you can follow up with a mixture of diluted bleach and water to get rid of mold and mildew. It might also be a good time to add a fresh coat of stain.

5. Start at the Top


When cleaning your wooden swing set, the tendency is to start as eye level and just work around the structure until you have cleaned it. Working in a systematic way, though, will help you clean the entire thing without missing any areas.

Start at the top and work downward from side to side. This way, dirt will not flow down over areas that you already washed.

6. Let Dry

A good day of drying in the sun will help your wooden swing set stay clean. Do not allow children to play on it right away. Not only could they slip from the leftover water, but they could kick up mud and dirt that will easily stick to wet wood.