How to care for outdoor furniture

How to care for outdoor furniture

Having outdoor furniture allows you to spend time in your garden whenever you please. You can laze back in your Adirondack chairs on a balmy summer evening, sundowner in hand and watch the sun turn the sky into a fiery masterpiece as it sets. Or you can huddle up in your wicker garden furniture on a chilly morning, coffee mug in hand and watch the sun make the dew sparkle.

It is important to care for your patio furniture so that you can use it for years to come, rather than having to replace it after a few months. Outside furniture should be treated with a sealant so that it cannot be damaged by the weather and borers and other insects cannot enter it. All outdoor patio furniture should be stored inside during rainy weather so the wood does not rot. Be sure to make space for it in your garage. Read on below for some other top tips on caring your outdoor furniture.

Ask for the care guidelines

When you buy your patio furniture, you should always ask the manufacturer if there are any guidelines for caring for it. For example, they might have used their own unique treatment methods for the wood, which means that you will have to care for it in a specific way.

Ask for these guidelines to be written down so that you remember them whenever you need to treat your furniture. Always avoid harsh treatments, as these could damage the wood and cause it to splinter, crack or break. Rather clean the wood with a warm, damp cloth and a treatment made for wood, metal or wicker.

Keep it light

Start with a light cleaning of your furniture. You can clean the surface of your furniture with a brush that has light bristles, and use plain warm water to wipe it down after use. You can use a dishwashing liquid diluted with water if there are stains, but be sure it is not too harsh for the varnish.

Pat the furniture dry with a clean cloth and your light cleaning is done. Scrubbing too hard and using intense cleaning chemicals could strip the wood and cause the metal to become tarnished and dull. You can go one step further and use bicarbonate of soda and vinegar diluted with water to avoid using any chemicals at all. But find out what finish has been used before going this route.

Cover it up

Patio furniture should be kept under cover as much as possible so that it does not become damaged by the weather. And it will prevent your pets from climbing onto it and easily damaging the cushions and the wood. Remember, bad weather and wicker furniture do not go well together.

If you do not have a patio roof, you can cover your furniture with sturdy outdoor furniture covers, which you can find at outdoor furniture stores. Or you could make your own and match it the overall look and feel of your outdoor space. Be sure that the covers are waterproof so that moisture is kept out, and wash them regularly to remove dirt and mould. You should also cover all cushions and throws or, alternatively, store them in a cupboard or ottoman when the patio furniture is not in use. A bistro set or patio chairs can easily fit on a small verandah for safe-keeping.

Make sure to manage the mould

Being kept outdoors does mean that your patio furniture sets could become mouldy. But, if it has been treated, this is unlikely to happen. If it does, however, you will need to gently sand the area using sandpaper and wearing gloves and a face mask.

Once you have removed the mould, discard of all the materials you have used to do so to prevent spores from spreading. Once you have sanded the area, paint it with a sealant or a varnish so that it is protected from moisture, which can cause mould. You should check all of your patio furniture regularly for mould and be sure to have sandpaper ready to use when you need it. Be sure to sand gently so as not to damage the wood.

Seal it with a kiss…

… of varnish. Wooden furniture might be beautiful to look at, but it has to be maintained in order to continue being used. In order to prevent it from being damaged by UV rays, dirt, mould, and moisture, you will need to seal it before the wood starts to weather.

First, clean the surface of the wood and then sand it lightly to remove splinters and old varnish. Wipe it down, then let it dry before applying a sealant or a varnish made for outdoor furniture. Make sure that the sealant is painted into the tiny nooks and crannies so that the entirety of the chair or table is protected. Once this layer is dry, rub it down gently with steel wool and apply the second coat after wiping it down. Repeat the varnish at least two more times to ensure a tight seal.

Photo by Shai Aharony

Authored by: mjones

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