With winter quickly on its way, the time has come to prepare your outdoor furniture for the elements! Here’s a quick guide on how to get ready for Mother Nature. These tips will ensure that your furniture will last for many years to come! 

The first thing you want to do is clean all your furniture. You may not notice small bits of debris that could turn into a major issue such as mold or mildew which could spread and ruin your furniture. A simple solution of water and dish soap works well on many types of furniture — plastic, wrought iron, wicker, and mesh. You’ll want to make sure to check for rust and treat it with a rust-neutralizing primer. Then you can paint with a color to match the furniture and adding a silicone sealant will further extend the life of your furniture. Finally, make sure that your furniture is dry before storing or covering! Any moisture can get into cracks, and when it freezes, it can expand and break apart your furniture. 

Cleaning up wood furniture can easily be done with a simple solution of 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup baking soda, ½ cup vinegar, and 1 gallon of water. Gently scrub with the solution and allow it to dry. It would be best to additionally apply a protective sealant to prevent discovering issues in the spring. Plastic furniture is easier to clean, as it can be done by simply using soap and water, but plastic can get brittle in the extreme cold, so you’ll want to bring it inside when the temperature drops near or below freezing. Metal furniture also needs to be brought inside during the winter. Snow or other precipitation can cause the metal to corrode and rust, weakening the furniture and shortening its lifespan. Wicker furniture can also be cleaned with a simple soap and water solution, although a solution of bleach and water can also be beneficial to kill any mildewFinally, on the legs of wicker tables and chairs moisture repellant should be applied.  

After cleaning your furniture, you’ll want to use some type of protectant on it. A silicone sealant works very well on metal furniture. Aluminum or plastic furniture will benefit from a thin coat of car wax being applied. For wicker furniture, paste wax should be applied for an additional layer of protection. You can also give a protective coating of paint to ensure your furniture looks fresh and new for the next spring.  

The next step in winterizing your furniture is to cover it and put it away. It is always best to elevate furniture off the floor to allow air to circulate. To save space, you can stack chairs and tables when putting away for the winter. Stacking furniture allows you to use less space while also using less covering. High end furniture often comes with custom covers, as well. 

Now that the furniture has been taken care of, it’s time to wash and care for fabrics. Cushions are susceptible to growing mold, so you need to ensure they’re clean and dry before you put them away. A mixture of a ½ cup of Lysol in a gallon of hot water works well when scrubbed with a soft brush. The solution of bleach and water mentioned previously also works well to mitigate mold growth. Some cushions have removable covers, so washing these is as simple as removing the cover and washing on a gentle cycle. Rope and cloth hammocks can also be washed in a washing machine. When finished washing, fold and store inside. For cushions that do not have a removable cover, you can use a brush with a mild detergent to clean. The same bleach and water mixture should be used to prevent mold growth. Umbrellas can also be cleaned with detergent and a brush. Furthermore, moving parts should be lubricated before storing. After cleaning, be sure to allow the umbrella to completely dry. Once dry, the umbrella should be wrapped in plastic drop cloth, then taped and stored in a waterproof area. 

If you take the time to prepare your furniture for winter, it will pay off in the long run. Spending a few hours preparing your furniture before the weather gets too cold will extend the life of your outdoor furniture for years!