During the warmer months, your outdoor patio furniture likely gets a lot of use. In colder months, you probably spend less time outside and thus less time utilizing your outdoor furniture. If you live in an area that has a cold or wet climate in the winter, you will need to take steps to make sure that your patio furniture is properly protected from the elements.
Ensuring that your furniture set is clean before it is stored can help prevent staining and corrosion while making it possible to pull out your furniture to enjoy those first warm days once spring arrives.
Cleaning Wicker Sets: Wicker sets can be made of true rattan or synthetic rattan. Often, the wicker is sealed with some sort of finish to protect the material. Using a mild soap with warm water and gentle scrub brush or sponge, clean the surface of your furniture. Allow the furniture to air dry completely, or use a towel to dry. Address any areas that need repair or repainting while the set is clean and dry.
Cleaning Metal Sets: Most metal sets are sealed with a powder coat finish to ensure a longer life. Using a mild soap with warm water and gentle scrub brush or sponge, clean the surface of your furniture. Allow the furniture to air dry completely, or use a towel to dry. Address any areas that need repair or repainting while the set is clean and dry.
Cleaning Wood Sets: Wood sets can vary, from a classic picnic table to a set of Adirondack Chairs. Using a mild soap with warm water and gentle scrub brush or sponge, clean the surface of your furniture. Allow the furniture to air dry completely, or use a towel to dry. Address any areas that require sanding, painting, or staining. If the wood has a natural finish, consider rubbing a furniture oil or mineral oil into the surface to keep the wood from splitting or becoming brittle during dry winter months.
Cleaning Cushions: Many deep seating patio furniture sets include substantial cushioning, while other sets are accented with optional cushions or pillows. Brush off any debris on cushions. If cushions and pillows have removable covers, wash and dry them according to manufacturer instructions. If cushion covers cannot be removed, use mild soapy water and a sponge to wipe off any dirt on cushions. Let the cushions and pillows dry completely before storing.
Covering/Wrapping Your Patio Furniture
There are a number of options available for the covering or wrapping of your patio furniture sets. Ideally, it would be nice to move your furniture into a garage, shed, or basement where it is dry and sheltered. However, there are very few people that have the extra space available to store bulky items like patio furniture. If this is the case for you, there are still great methods for protecting your furniture if it must stay outdoors during the winter months.
Once you have cleaned and dried your furniture and accessories, try to consolidate the pieces to minimize the space that will be required for storing everything. Stack chairs, remove cushions, and dismantle any components that might be susceptible to damage. Select a storage location that is as sheltered from the elements as possible. If feasible, bring your fabric items inside for the winter, or consider putting them in a sealed tote or plastic bag for dry storage. There are a number of commercial patio furniture covers available on the market for a variety of patio furniture types. These covers are usually made from heavy duty canvas that is sealed to keep out moisture and protect from damage. Other options could include having your set professionally wrapped in plastic film or simply using a large tarp that can be secured with rope or bungee cords.
Storing your outdoor furniture during seasons where it won’t get regular use is the best way to protect it from winter’s harsh conditions. There are several places you can store your outdoor furniture during the winter months, like a garage, basement, or storage shed. Even if you have some extra space under your deck or on a covered patio, this shelter will help keep your outdoor furniture clear of standing snow, water, and ice. An alternative option to storing your outdoor furnishings away for the winter months is to bring outdoor pieces indoors to use and enjoy during the colder seasons.
Smaller items like cushions, pillows, and other outdoor decor don’t require nearly as much storage space as larger furniture pieces do, and as such they can be easily stowed away in an outdoor storage box.
Successful Storage Through the Winter
If you have followed the cleaning and covering steps outlined previously, you can probably feel comfortable knowing that your patio furniture will be safely cocooned for the winter months to come. On occasion, it can be helpful to brush any accumulated ice or snow from your furniture coverings to prevent any leaking or shifting that could allow moisture to infiltrate and damage the furniture. It might also be a good idea to check every once in a while for any critters that might have decided that your securely covered furniture set would be a perfect home for the winter.
While it may be time to trade your flip flops and sunscreen for wool socks and hot cocoa, you can look forward to a successful transition into summer next year with patio furniture that has been carefully stored.