This time of the year is perfect to prepare your outdoor furniture for winter. While most furniture nowadays will stand up to the harsh winter elements, there are some things you can do to make sure it will look its best next year. After all, the happier you are with your furniture, the more likely you are to use your outdoor space for entertaining!
Before you jump right in and accept that summer is over, keep in mind that some of the best temperatures for spending time in your outdoor space have yet to come. You may find yourself outdoors more now than during those hot afternoons.
Here is our list of what you should do to prepare your patio furniture for cold weather.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR OUTDOOR FURNITURE FOR BAD WEATHER
Depending on what is in your outdoor living arrangement, you may want to consider storing some of the furniture or at the very least store the cushions. Having space dedicated to your outdoor living furniture or lawn ornaments in the offseason may help in protecting your investment.
Know what choices you have for storing outdoor furniture. Whether it be a garage, shed, or storage unit, knowing how much space you have ahead of time will make things easier for you when it comes time to store it.
Give it a coat
After your furniture is clean, a protective coating will help keep it looking good for next spring. Aluminum or plastic pieces can be covered with a thin coat of car wax to protect them and use a coat of paste wax for wicker furniture. Check metal furniture for any signs of rust and remove with a wire brush, then spray metal furniture with a silicone sealant.
The most important step in preparing furniture for storage is to get it clean. Moisture and dirt left on outdoor items can cause mold or mildew to grow in the winter months. Mold can grow and spread quickly, leaving your furniture in bad shape by the time you are ready to use it again. Pieces made from wicker, wrought iron, mesh or plastic can be cleaned with a simple dish soap and water solution.
For wood furniture, you can use a wood cleaner (such as Murphy oil soap) and water, then rinse and let dry. If there are stains that are difficult to remove, make a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1-gallon water. Use a soft brush to work on the stains, then rinse and let dry completely. Take time to work on stains now, to prevent problems in the spring.
Cushions also need to be clean and dry before you put them away for the winter. If you have cushions covered in fabric or canvas, prepare a solution of 1/2 cup Lysol and 1-gallon hot water and use a soft brush to scrub them clean. Rinse cushions thoroughly and let dry. More serious stains may respond well to a solution of 1/2 cup bleach and 1-gallon water but test first on a small area.
Even if you’re planning on storing your outdoor furniture in a shed or garage, you need to cover everything up to protect it from dust, moisture, and all those other things that are best avoided. You can either buy designated furniture covers or make your own using drop sheets or other large, protective fabrics. If you’re leaving everything outside, you need to ensure that the covers you choose are weather resistant and can withstand the elements. It’s worth noting that some materials (like plastic and natural rattan) don’t fare very well outdoors for extended periods so try to avoid leaving them out for the season.
It’s not always possible to predict the weather. But, if you know extreme weather is about to hit your area (including a heatwave), go ahead and cover up your furniture or move it into a storage shed. Furniture covers won’t do much against the wind, but they will protect against damaging UV rays and torrential rain.