A patio is a perfect spot for entertaining outdoors, whether you’re hosting a backyard cookout or enjoying a romantic glass of wine with your spouse.
Furnishing your patio makes it more functional and increases the likelihood that you’ll use it. You’ll probably enjoy entertaining guests – and will even reap the rewards in terms of health, as spending more time outdoors can boost wellbeing.
Unfortunately, you can’t enjoy your patio all year round. When it’s below zero, odds are you’d rather curl up indoors. Taking steps to protect patio furniture in winter ensures that it’s ready for use come spring.
This guide provides patio furniture storage and maintenance tips.
Why It’s Worth Investing in High-Quality Outdoor Furniture
High-quality patio furniture can elevate the entire aesthetic of your outdoor space. You can choose from plastic, wicker, wrought iron, aluminum, and wood materials. You can also select from a diversity of pieces, from benches, swings, and chaise lounges, to dining tables and chairs.
Make your patio furniture more attractive and comfortable with stylish fabrics. Upholstered furniture and cushions convert your patio into a modern outdoor living room. Look for fabrics made to sustain outdoor elements like wind, rain, and sun. Sunbrella is a preferred material for patio upholstery.
How to Prepare Your Outdoor Furniture and Cushions for Winter
If you invest in high-quality patio furniture, you want it to last as long as possible. Protecting against winter weather is critical. Sub-zero temperatures can cause plastic to become brittle and break, for example, while wood will warp, and metal may get rusty.
Before you put away your furniture and cushions, you should clean them. Storing your patio furniture with bits of food, dirt, or other debris still on it encourages mold growth.
Here’s how to winterize patio furniture and cushions.
First, rinse off your plastic furniture with a hose. Then, use a sponge and mix of mild detergent and warm water to wipe the furniture down.
Apply a thin layer of car wax to add a protective layer and prevent brittleness due to cold.
If your wicker is synthetic or resin, it already has a weather-resistant coating. Simply spray it down with a hose and leave it to dry. There’s no need to apply an additional preservative treatment.
Wrought iron is especially prone to rust. If there is rust already visible, use sandpaper to remove it. Then, clean the furniture with a mix of warm water and mild soap.
Finally, apply a rust-neutralizer, followed by a thin layer of car wax.
To clean aluminum furniture, use a mixture of warm water and laundry detergent. If the furniture is scratched, touch it up with paint.
You can then apply a light coating of car wax for added protection.
For wood furniture, wipe away dirt using a damp, soft cloth. If the wood has stubborn spots, trying using a pH-neutral soap and warm water. Rub in the direction of the grain to avoid scratches.
Next, apply furniture oil, which will keep the wood from getting brittle in the dry and cold winter air. You can also use a sealant, which keeps moisture from entering and prevents warping.
Teak is often used in outdoor furniture because it’s very durable. Be aware, however, that this type of wood is especially prone to mildew and mode because of the natural oils it contains. Clean it with a mix of one cup vinegar and one gallon of warm water.
Then, apply linseed or tung oil using a clean, soft cloth.
Cushions for Outdoor Furniture
First, vacuum or brush them off to get rid of dry debris. Check the upholstery care instructions for details on how to clean the fabric without ruining it.
Most outdoor fabrics can be cleaned using a solution of mild soap and warm water. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away stains. Then, rinse cushions and dry them thoroughly.
Where to Store Your Patio Furniture and Cushions
Once your furniture and cushions are clean, you can put them into storage.
Store furniture in a space that’s protected against rain, snow, and ice. Ideally, your storage space should also protect against cold and humidity. If you have a dry basement or attic, this is a great option.
Alternatively, a garden shed will do. Put the furniture on a wooden pallet to protect against moisture from the ground.
You can further protect your furniture against the elements with furniture covers. Cold- and water-resistant covers are designed for different types and sizes of furniture. They slip easily over the bulky pieces and use Velcro, snaps, or bungee cords to stay in place.
Only use covers on completely dry furniture. Otherwise, the enclosed environment will trap moisture and attract mold, mildew, and pests. Critters like silverfish are attracted to damp environments. You don’t want to peel off your covers next spring to be greeted by a crowd of these bugs.
Patio Furniture Cushions
If you are storing cushions in a dry space, an airtight container can hold them. Add some moisture-absorbing packets inside, just in case.
If you are storing the cushions in a space prone to dampness, like a garden shed, keep them in fabric storage bags. These are more breathable, ensuring humidity doesn’t get trapped inside and cause mold.
Some people take advantage of the off-season to give their cushions a facelift with fresh, new upholstery. If you’re ready for a patio furniture makeover, get an online quote for a head start on next year’s backyard grilling season!
Relax Knowing Your Patio Furniture is Protected
Follow these steps, and your outside “living room furniture” should remain secure and safe despite ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. Meanwhile, you can spend a cozy winter indoors and look forward to unpacking your patio gear come spring.