As the temperature starts to drop and winter sets in, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your outdoor furniture. Cold weather, freezing rain, and frost all affect your outdoor chairs, tables, loungers, and more. So, prep now to ensure everything is ready to go when the warm weather is back!
How to Prepare Outdoor Furniture for Winter Storage
The first thing you need to do is clean your furniture. What method you use depends on the type of material your furniture is made of. Use the general guides below to learn how to properly clean your outdoor furniture based on material type.
Wooden furniture requires the greatest amount of care. You simply need to clean your wooden furniture with warm water and a cloth. For a deeper clean however, you can opt to use wood cleaners that are free from harsh chemicals. If you’re a cleaning enthusiast who is looking to make your wooden pieces extra squeaky-clean, a toothbrush will excavate dirt you didn’t even know existed.
With solid wood pieces that have marks, stains or scratches, you can lightly sand down the surface and go over it with a bit of oil. This is great to give your older wood pieces a new lease on life and it also allows you to change things up if you’re updating your colour scheme and want lighter or darker wood.
Rust is metal furniture’s arch nemesis. Over time, rust can create a real problem for any exposed metal surfaces and can even break down furniture. A simple hack for this is to ensure that your furniture cover does not leave any of the metal pieces exposed to the elements.
If you notice rust building on your metal furniture, apply a metal cleaning material or use a steel wool pad to keep furniture rust-free.
Plastic & Wicker
Perhaps the easiest outdoor furniture to maintain would be plastic or all-weather wicker furniture. Cleaning for these pieces is simple: After the initial dusting, use a gentle cleaner that is free of harsh chemicals. You can also simply use warm soapy water for general cleaning of these surfaces.
Upholstered Outdoor Furniture
Your washing machine is your best friend for cleaning upholstered outdoor furniture pieces. Caution: Always check product tags to ensure it can be cleaned in a washing machine. For synthetics and waterproof fabrics, wipe down with a damp cloth first to clean dirt and dust. After removing dirt, use a solution of diluted dish soap and water to clean deeply without damaging fabric.
How to Store Outdoor Furniture for the Winter
After your outdoor furniture is clean, it’s time to figure out how to keep them protected. While it may be tempting to leave durable items like metal furniture exposed, it’s best to play it safe.
Using furniture covers will protect your outdoor investments from rain, frost, ice, dirt, debris, and more. This means your outdoor furniture will be clean when you’re ready to use it again and will have a longer life. A cover also allows you to leave your outdoor furniture in your backyard. This makes winterizing your backyard easier and getting ready for spring faster.
Mould and mildew development on covered wood furniture is a common worry. Ensure that you remove the cover from your furniture periodically, allowing air to circulate and to avoid the build-up of condensation between your furniture and cover. Always check with your furniture manufacturer to confirm what effect condensation will have on your setting. You should also select a cover that includes 1-2 centimetres of space between the bottom of the cover and the ground. This will promote airflow and allow moisture to evaporate. If possible, occasionally brush off any ice or water build-up on your cover.
Indoors, Garage, or Shed
If you have the space to store your outdoor furniture in a garage or shed, you should still consider using a lightweight cover to keep it protected from water leaks and dust. You should always try to bring in plastic furniture if you live in an area that frequently faces cold weather. Plastic can get brittle during long exposure to cold temperatures.
While it may take an afternoon or two to winterize your outdoor furniture, it’s well worth it. Keeping it clean and protected with a durable cover while not in use will prolong the life of your furniture so you can rest easy during the winter months knowing your outdoor investments are safe and sound.