Winter will soon be here. Christmas decorations are popping up on every corner. If you have not already put your patio furniture away, you may want to do that soon. Unless you intend to use it in the winter too, of course. Either way, here are a couple of tips on how to maintain and store your outdoor furniture.
What can I do to keep my furniture nice and clean?
Cleaning your patio set goes a long way. Before you put it away in your garage or shed, make sure you remove debris and dirt, that may have accumulated in fall. In case of aluminum or steel furniture, using a wet cloth will do the trick. To loosen dirt from wicker furniture, you may want to use a soft brush. Loose dirt can be wiped or vacuumed off. You may also wipe the patio set with a damp cloth or even hose it down if needed. This is only recommended for durable non-corroding materials. If you own wooden furniture, such as teak, now is a great time to put on a protective coat of teak oil or varnish. Any hardware store will carry them. This will significantly improve the longevity of your outdoor furniture. Humidity will have a much harder time to harm your nice wooden chairs while you have them stowed away and you will have them ready to go as soon as patio season is back.
The best storage space for garden furniture is a clean and dry indoor space, thus minimizing the impact of dust, dirt and the elements. For those of you who live in the city, your space will most likely be limited and storage outside is the only option. Protect your furniture by covering it with a tarp or custom cover. Make sure the cover is NOT completely air-tight. A minimum air flow will ensure there is no moisture build up under the cover, preventing mould from growing. The same can be recommended during patio season, when the furniture is not in use for a longer period of time. No matter which materials your patio set is made from, sun, rain and ice will age the product. Covering it will extend the life-span.
How am I going to store my cushions?
Nowadays, most patio furniture comes with cushions. Especially modern designs rely heavily on comfortable and large cushions, take Velago’s Grande Outdoor Sectional Set for example. I recommend removing and storing the cushions in a dry place when not in use. This also applies to the summer months. Even though most high quality cushions have a quick dry foam core and water repellant covers, exposing them to the elements equals more wear. A fabric is still a fabric, no matter what warranties come with it. Dust and debris will settle on the surface, leaving the cover dirty. In combination with rain water, mould is not uncommon, even with the most expensive of outdoor fabrics.
Key is, not to expose your cushions to the elements for longer periods of time, when they are not in use. Plus, make sure they get enough air, if they sit under a rain cover, again reducing the chance for mould and mildew build up. When you are putting them away for the season, re-assure the cushions and covers are 100% dry.
Please note, exposure to sun and rain will break down any water repellant coating over time. The same is true when washing the cushion covers. This is common place and no big deal. Water repellant coating can be re-applied. There is a variety of products out there, often sold by boating stores or marines, which can be sprayed onto the covers. Before putting them to use again in spring, you may want to apply Scotch Guard or any other water proofing product.