Whether severe storms are heading your way, you’re leaving home for an extended period of time, or cold temperatures are telling you patio season is over, it’s time to get your outdoor furniture ready for storage. If you leave it all outside, you risk damage from bad weather, wild animals, and general disuse. Here are some tips for protecting your patio furniture when it’s not in regular use, hopefully before Mother Nature can do any real damage.
The 5 Best Ways to Protect Outdoor Furniture
Even in nice weather, your outdoor furniture picks up dirt, stains, and moisture from being out in the elements. The best time to clean patio furniture is before you store it away, to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Regular soap and water works on most materials, including wicker, wrought iron, and plastic. For wood, you need a special wood-cleaning soap such as Murphy’s Oil Soap. To clean cushions, follow the washing instructions on the tag. In most cases you can spot clean your cushions with a mild soapy solution and a sponge. You could also try concocting a solution of one gallon hot water with a half cup of Lysol or color-safe bleach for more stubborn stains. It’s usually a good idea to avoid the washing machine and dryer when it comes to cushions. Make sure furniture is totally dry before taking any further steps.
Apply a protective coating to make your furniture look shiny and new again and to keep it that way longer. You can coat shiny aluminum or plastic furniture with regular car wax to make it sparkle. For wicker and wood, apply a new coat of finish or a lacquer or varnish topcoat. Scrape away any and all rust from iron furniture, then spray paint it with a silicone sealant or a new coat of protective paint such as Rust-Oleum, which keeps rust at bay.
Patio furniture covers for outdoor chairs, tables, and sofas are a great way to protect your furniture. Made from a range of materials that includes polyester, vinyl, and canvas, these covers are generally waterproof and UV-resistant. Sometimes they have convenient buckles to make sure the cover stays fitted. You can also cover your furniture with a plastic tarp or an old sheet. Any of these will at least keep dust and moisture off your furniture as long as it is in storage.
There are several places you can store your outdoor furniture, including a garage, storage shed, or public storage facility. But before you lock up and leave your furniture for the season, set down wooden boards to elevate it off the floor. This will protect the furniture’s feet from moisture and dirt damage.
You don’t have to stop using your outdoor furniture just because grilling season is over. Some outdoor setups, especially those made of wicker and wood, make lovely indoor living room furniture, too. As long as you have some extra space, why not try changing up your living area this winter?
You might not be sunning in your favorite outdoor lounge chair anymore, but at least you know it’s tucked safely away, waiting for warmer temperatures to return. When it is time to set your patio furniture back out, you’ll be happy to see it’s held up so well.