If you’re a homeowner with a backyard, you’ve likely spent a pretty penny on nice outdoor furniture. You may have even had to do it more than once because no matter the brand, outdoor furniture can take a hefty beating from the elements. If you’ve recently bought outdoor furniture that you plan to keep for a long time, we have some tips and tricks to make it last longer, stay clean, and weather the…weather! Before we begin, you must understand the difference between outdoor and indoor furniture materials. Depending on what it’s made of, there are specific methods you’ll need to employ.
Keep it clean!
For metal furniture, a quick wipe down with soapy water once a season will suffice, mainly to remove any debris collection. Be sure to inspect it for rust while cleaning.
For hardwood, you’ll need a cleaning material that works well for wood surfaces (always spot test, first), followed by a deeply penetrating oil. The oil is imperative to keep moisture from soaking in and warping the wood. You can do this once or twice a year.
Wicker tends to mold and collect debris in the cracks, so keeping it clean is quite the task but crucial. You’ll need a small brush dipped in soap to scrub the crevices after spraying it down with water. Make sure to do this early on a bright and sunny day so it can dry completely before nightfall. Do this every other month, and your wicker will last a long time.
Synthetic wicker is incredibly easy to maintain in comparison to regular wicker. You can spray it down with a hose once a year and spot clean areas that may have collected debris. Since it’s weatherproof, you only need to watch for actual damage instead of a steady decline like the alternatives.
As for the cushions, you want to keep them stored when not in use for longevity. Check the label for cleaning instructions and ensure they remain dry with plenty of sunlight, or they’ll quickly mold. Many newer cushions are machine washable. Be warned, however, that certain materials will fade in the sun, so it’s a careful balance. Speaking of which:
Keep it covered!
When your outdoor furniture is not in use, keep it covered or stored. There are many options to do so. You can invest in weather-resistant furniture covers (often vinyl), store them in the garage, or employ a canopy for year-round use. While it’s crucial to ensure you sun dry your furniture after cleaning, a shelter will keep it out of the elements and avoid sun bleaching.
If you live in an area with harsh winters, it might be best to use indoor storage for wooden outdoor furniture to avoid the seasonal contracting of the wood. Over the years, this constant temperature change can damage the furniture beyond repair, fracturing the joints. If you decide that covers will be the best solution, ensure optimal airflow, especially on wood and wicker, so mold doesn’t grow underneath the cover.