How to Maintain Your Wood Playset

Wood Playset Maintenance

At the start of the play season when the children are ready to spend more time outside playing, it’s time to check the condition of your playset. Maintaining your wooden playset properly will ensures that it is safe and able to provide entertainment for many years. Wood is a material that must have upkeep if it is to last and look good. Let’s take a look at how to best maintain your wood playset and ensure its longevity.

STEP 1: The top priority in maintaining playset equipment is to keep it clean. A power washer will do a great job in cleaning the equipment. Extreme caution needs to be taken, as improper power washing can do more harm than good. Follow the power washer manufacturer’s directions. Wait several sunny, dry days before applying a protective finish. Clean tarps with soap and water and clean the vinyl dipped parts. Sometimes the vinyl parts are difficult to get clean, and may require something a little more than soap and water. There are a couple of products that can be used for the tougher areas, like Krud Kutter or Goo Gone Cleaner.

STEP 2: Check the playset wood for deterioration and splinters. Any wood that is structurally unsafe may need to be replaced. Spot sand any areas that are splintering or cracking to make sure no one is hurt by them.

STEP 3: After the equipment has been cleaned off for the summer, it is a good idea to give it a coat of stain and sealant. Follow these steps:

  • Remove all non-wood accessory components
  • Place masking tape on the ladder rungs, swing hangers, etc. to  protect from staining
  • Start at the top of the playset and work down
  • Wipe down all areas of stain accumulation/dripping
  • Take your time; a meticulous job will always turn out better than a rushed job


STEP 4: Over time, the equipment will start to loosen up in places that absorb a lot of stress. Check and tighten all nuts and bolts, but be careful to not over tighten causing the wood to crack. Swing hangers, tire swivel, S-hooks, eye bolts, and spring clips need to be checked for wear or rust. Replace and tighten as needed.

STEP 5: Wood putty is also a great way to keep the equipment looking new. If an area is small in size, you can fill in the hole with wood putty. Once it dries, it hardens and will be like the rest of the wood and can be sanded smooth and stained to match the rest of the playset.


Aside from the maintenance for the beginning of the season, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your playset every few weeks during the summer. That way you’ll know almost immediately if there is anything wrong with the equipment. When you do your inspection, look to see that nothing has broken down or cracked. Make sure that all bolts and screws are tightened as far in as they can (safely) go, and that there are no sharp edges or pieces sticking out that can cause cuts or other injuries.

Taking the extra time to maintain the equipment will help retain the value of the playset and the safety of the children playing on it.

4 thoughts on “How to Maintain Your Wood Playset”

    1. Alicia Schilke


      Great question! Today the Carpenter Bee population is at an all-time high. I have provided you with some links so you can better understand this swingset eating menace. (Actually, they are really good for the environment and rarely sting). That aside, they will cause real issues with some sets, and the Woodpeckers, that attempt to eat the larvae, can do triple the damage. Enjoy these links if you would like to learn more about the bee’s habits and what to do if they are ruining your swingset.

  1. Whitney Dunagan

    Any recommendations for repairing damage done by power washing? The wood now appears to have fibers that are getting on hands and clothes. Could this be sanded? Thank you!

    1. Alicia Schilke

      Hi Whitney, If it’s minor damage you can certainly try sanding it. We recommend power washing, sanding, then staining the playset.

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