How to Protect Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor furniture transforms your patio into a cozy retreat for days lounging poolside and nights relaxing around a crackling fire. While quality, all-weather pieces withstand a certain amount of heat, moisture and grime, the elements will start to wear on even the strongest decor.
Keeping patio furniture as beautiful as the day you bought it takes a little time and energy, but the results are worth the effort. These tips for maintaining your outdoor furniture can turn a bit of planning and TLC into stylish, comfortable outdoor living all year long.
Invest in Patio Furniture Covers
It’s easy to leave a patio furniture cover out of the cart when buying outdoor decor. After all, protective gear is rarely the most exciting purchase on your list. Still, to keep the furnishings you love looking sharp, covers are a wise investment.
Available in sizes and shapes to suit sofas, dining sets and more, outdoor patio furniture covers put a barrier between your decor and the moisture and dirt that lead to mildew or rust. Use them while furniture is in winter storage to cut down on cobwebs, or put one over the grill outside when the forecast calls for rain.
Covers vs. Tarps: Are Patio Furniture Covers Really Necessary?
It may be tempting to throw a tarp over your table set and call it good, but a quality outdoor patio furniture cover is the better option. Along with offering a tailored, attractive look you can proudly display outside, a fitted cover provides superior protection. UV-treated fabrics prevent fading, while ties, elastic closures and heavyweight fabrics hold coverings in place on windy days.
Create a Seasonal Furniture Care Routine
Different times of year present their own challenges for protecting your deck or porch decor from the weather. Although winter takes the greatest toll on most outdoor furniture, doing a little maintenance in each season will keep your pieces looking like new.
During the coldest temperatures of the year, even all-weather furniture lasts longer indoors. A shed, garage or basement is ideal, though a storage unit could work for homes with limited space.
Taking care of furniture before storing it will make your job easier come springtime. Outdoor patio furniture covers protect pieces from bugs and dust over the winter, keeping everything as clean as possible. Along with adding an ick factor to unpacking your decor, grime and insect debris can erode wood and metal finishes over time, so prevention is crucial.
As the weather warms up and patio season returns in full force, it’s time to bring outdoor furniture out of storage. It’s also the perfect opportunity for some spring cleaning. Spot cleaning during the year takes care of most spills and stains, but a deep clean every 12 months is a smart idea to hold more serious mildew and mold at bay.
Knowing how to protect outdoor furniture includes choosing the right cleaning method. Many cleaners contain harsh chemicals that damage finishes, so the safest way to maintain your outdoor furniture is to do a bit of research before you begin. Some materials, like teak, require specific products to lock out moisture. Others, such as resin wicker, only require warm, soapy water and a hose.
From sunscreen residue and pool splashes to barbecue and cocktail spills, summer usually delivers the most wear and tear on your outdoor furniture. Giving tables and bar tops a quick wipe or brushing away crumbs from the upholstery on occasion goes a long way towards keeping decor in peak condition.
Heat and UV rays can also cause issues during the sunny season. Move plastic patio furniture under a shady umbrella to prevent warping and melting. Dyed fabrics may fade under the hot sun as well, so consider storing outdoor pillows in a storage box or bench when not in use.
Even with an autumn chill in the air, many people enjoy hanging out on the patio. Outdoor fire pits keep your seating area cozy long after the leaves have fallen. Still, it’s important to prepare for storms during changeable fall weather. Patio furniture covers are key for fast protection from high winds and sudden showers.
Maintain Furnishings with Sealants and Protectants
When learning how to protect outdoor furniture, cleaning is only part of the process. After removing dirt with a safe cleaner, the next step is shielding your decor from damage with protectants and sealants.
The products you need will depend on your furniture’s construction material. For example, teak requires a protector to maintain its honey-brown color and a sealant finish to guard against wood rot and stains.
Defense is the Best Offense
Adding decor care to a yard work or home cleaning routine makes maintaining your outdoor furniture simple. Rather than waiting for advanced rust or mildew to cramp your style, completing a few regular check-ups will keep your patio seating or dining pieces beautiful and functional in every season.