Patio Furniture Maintenance Guide: How To Protect Your Patio Furniture

by Luke Whittaker

How to protect patio furniture
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Whether you purchased the finest patio furniture that money can buy, or if you chose an affordable yet reliable set, you’d probably like it to last for a long time.

Without taking good care of your patio furniture though, it could rapidly start showing its age.

In addition to becoming weathered and faded by the elements, your outdoor furniture can slowly but surely begin to fall apart.

With every passing year, neglected furniture will look worse and worse.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Maintaining patio furniture doesn’t require a lot of time, effort or money.

Learn 10 quick and easy ways to keep your outdoor furniture in tip-top shape below…

1. Clean Your Patio Furniture Regularly

Whether it looks like it needs it or not, you should make a point of cleaning your patio furniture regularly.

The best thing to do is to schedule one day every two weeks or so and do the work then.

Cleaning your outdoor furniture regularly will make it last longer, but you need to make sure that you use the right techniques.

Different techniques apply to different types of furniture.

Hot, soapy water works like a charm for things like aluminum, vinyl and plastic.

Just fill up a bucket, get a sponge and go to work.

When everything has been scrubbed thoroughly, rinse it all off with water from a garden hose and let it dry in the sun.

Never use soap on wooden patio furniture.

Stick with plain water from the hose.

Spray it down once to wash off as much debris as possible, then wipe it all down with a clean sponge.

Spray it off thoroughly one more time.

After that, just let it dry.

To clean canvas properly, you can use upholstery cleaner.

Just follow the directions on the can.

If you’d like to save money, you can make your own cleaning solution by mixing one teaspoon of Borax, one teaspoon of dishwasher detergent and one quart of water.

If possible, put it in a spray bottle and spray the canvas down thoroughly.

Let it soak for awhile.

Rinse it with clean, cold water and let it dry.

2. A Special Note about Glass Tabletops

These days, more patio furniture sets include glass tables than ever.

Glass tables are really attractive as long as they’re clean.

If they get smudged or dirty though, they can detract from the overall appearance of your entire patio or deck.

Make sure to clean your glass tabletops regularly.

Everyday glass cleaner is usually the best bet when it comes to cleaning glass tabletops.

If you enjoy burning candles outdoors, you could end up with melted candle wax on your glass tabletop.

Don’t worry.

To clean if off, start by softening it up with a hairdryer.

From there, use a card to gently scrape away the wax.

If residue is left behind, wipe it away with a little rubbing alcohol.

Finish off the job by wiping the table down with glass cleaner and a clean paper towel.

3. Pressure Washing Comes in Handy

After storing your patio furniture all winter long, it might emerge from the shed, garage or basement with cobwebs and other debris on it.

You’re sure to dread the work that’s in store for you, but one way to get through the ordeal more quickly is by using a pressure washer.

If you don’t own one, you should be able to rent one for a few hours from the local home improvement store.

The amount of time and effort that it will save you will make it more than worth it.

For most of the patio furniture you wash, you’ll want to use a low setting.

In the case of things like wrought iron though, it’s fine to crank up the power a little.

Just be cautious about using detergents with patio furniture.

While they can help eliminate tough stains, they can also discolor certain materials.

Read the warnings thoroughly before giving it a whirl.

4. Prevent Rust by Applying Paste Wax

Nothing is worse than an unsightly rust spot on an otherwise elegant piece of metal patio furniture.

To keep this issue at bay, it pays to take a proactive approach to the situation.

The secret lies in coating the furniture in paste wax.

Ideally, you should apply paste wax soon after purchasing new patio furniture.

You should reapply it immediately after washing your furniture too.

You can find high-quality paste wax at local hardware stores and home improvement stores.

You might already have some in the house.

Many types of car wax are just paste wax that is marketed to be used on cars.

Check the label.

By being diligent about applying this wax to your furniture, you should be able to ward off rust and keep your metal furniture looking like new for a long time to come.

5. Remove Rust Immediately after it Starts

If rust has already developed on some of your metal patio furniture, don’t despair.

You should remove it as quickly as possible.

By removing it promptly, you will dramatically reduce the risk of it spreading and causing even more problems.

This is why it pays to periodically inspect your patio furniture, even if you are diligent about applying paste wax and clean it regularly.

Removing rust from metal patio furniture isn’t difficult.

A wire brush is the best tool for the job.

Just scrub the rust away with the wire brush.

Keep at it until every last flake of rust has been scrubbed away.

Even if the spot is extremely small, don’t leave it alone.

You’re just inviting it to get bigger and uglier.

Take care to scrub at the rust only.

Otherwise, you could inadvertently scrub away some of the paint or finish, which will create even bigger problems.

Be careful and persistent.

Before you know it, the rust will be gone and your furniture will look just fine.

6. Eliminate Mildew Right Away

Nothing can ruin the fun of sitting out on the patio quite like mildew.

No one likes catching a whiff of a mildew odors, and no one wants to sit on a cushion that is crawling in mildew either.

Even if your cushions and pillows are designed to be waterproof, you should periodically sniff them to see if they smell like mildew at all.

If so, take immediate action.

If you wait, the problem will intensify and could become too big to resolve.

To clean mildew from outdoor furniture, you need to create a cleaning solution.

Measure out three-fourths of a cup of bleach and combine it with one gallon of water.

Before applying the mixture to umbrellas, cushions and other furniture, test an inconspicuous area first.

Most of these materials should withstand the solution with ease, but it never hurts to be careful.

Once you’re sure it’s okay, apply the solution and wipe it off with cold, fresh water.

You’ll know it worked because the nasty odor will be gone.

7. Make Repairs Promptly

Certain types of outdoor furniture are completely devoid of hardware of any kind.

However, even plastic-molded furniture can become damaged. For example, cracks can appear.

No matter what kind of damage occurs, you should make repairs promptly.

If you let your patio furniture to remain damaged, the problem could get worse.

A crack could spread, or a loose bolt could completely come off and roll away.

Your furniture will look shabby and worn.

You don’t have to let this happen; you just have to make repairs quickly.

As soon as you notice that a bolt or a screw is coming loose, get out the tool box and tighten it.

Test it out to make sure that it is securely fastened.

In the case of a crack, you may be able to use special glues to put it back together.

However, repairs are not always possible.

You should be willing to bite the bullet and buy replacement furniture if the need arises.

After all, who wants to sit on broken, cracked patio furniture?

It’s not only uncomfortable, but it can be unsafe as well.

8. Buy Custom Patio Furniture Covers

Although it may seem like a lot of work at first, you should get into the habit of covering up your patio furniture when it’s not in use.

It’s actually not too difficult as long as you have the right accessories.

In this case, the best option is a selection of custom patio furniture covers.

You can order these covers online.

You just need to provide information about your patio furniture.

You can usually take your pick from many styles, colors and materials too.

The nice thing about custom patio furniture covers is that they fit properly.

You don’t have to worry about them slipping off or falling way, which would leave your furniture exposed to the elements.

Shop around for awhile before settling on a specific brand or style.

Check online reviews to see what others have to say.

The goal is to buy covers that will stand the test of time, and they should be easy to use too.

If they’re too tricky to put on, you’re never going to want to use them.

9. Use Tarps

If you’re unwilling or unable to buy custom patio furniture covers, you shouldn’t resign yourself to leaving your patio furniture exposed to the elements.

At the very least, you should cover it up with tarps.

Plastic tarps are okay, but vinyl tarps are usually much better.

Look for tarps that are waterproof.

They should be breathable too, especially if you’re going to use them to cover your furniture for extended periods of time.

A tarp isn’t an optimal solution, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

Use bungees or ropes to tie down the tarps so that they’re less likely to fall away.

Another option is to hold down the corners of the tarp with brick pavers or cinder blocks.

It isn’t the most attractive solution, but it will do in a pinch.

After awhile though, you should save up some money to buy more suitable patio furniture covers.

They are well worth the expense because they are specifically designed for different types of furniture.

10. Store Patio Furniture Away for the Winter

If you live in an area that experiences harsh, cold winters, you should make a point of storing your patio furniture until spring arrives again.

Icy cold temperatures can wreak havoc on most types of outdoor furniture.

Exposure to ice and snow can cause serious damage to tables, chairs and umbrellas as well.

It may seem like quite an ordeal to store away outdoor furniture, but you only have to do it once per year.

As far as where to store your patio furniture, a shed is ideal.

Of course, many people don’t have sheds.

If a shed isn’t available to you, the garage might work.

If your garage is full though, another option is the basement.

This is a little more cumbersome, but it still works.

The last option is to put the patio furniture in a storage locker somewhere.

If you already have a storage unit, it’s no big deal.

If you don’t, you’ll have to find one and rent one, and it’s probably going to cost a decent amount of money.

Final Thoughts…

Even though most patio furniture is billed as being weatherproof, the reality isn’t always the same.

Besides, you have to be reasonable about it.

This furniture is not designed to be indestructible.

With a little care, cleaning and maintenance, your furniture will continue looking as good as it did when you bought it for a long time to come.

Don’t think of it as a major chore; think of it as a way to maximize your investment.

In the long run, all of the extra work is sure to be more than worth it.

Do you have any Tips or Tricks to add?

Please do in the comments below…

Luke Whittaker

Luke is the Co-Founder of  INSTALL-IT-DIRECT, Venuelust.comEstate Weddings and Events, & YourNorthCounty.com. When Luke is not working on his businesses, his second passions are in health, education(obsessed with learning) and traveling the world(life is too short to remain idle). His favorite destinations to date are Laos, Croatia, South Africa & Sri Lanka. New Zealand is next on the list...Follow him on Google+Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

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