The days are getting shorter, and there's a chill in the air. Now that you aren't spending as much time outdoors, it's time to prepare your furniture for the winter months ahead. With outdoor living spaces becoming more popular than ever, most people have at least a few pieces that need to be stored. Even furniture that is treated to be weather-resistant or is under a patio cover needs to be cared for and maintained. Spend a bit of time now, and you will be able to enjoy your outdoor living area when spring rolls around — and your furniture will be in top shape.
The most important step in preparing furniture for storage is to get it clean. Moisture and dirt left on outdoor items can cause mold or mildew to grow in the winter months. Mold can grow and spread quickly, leaving your furniture in bad shape by the time you are ready to use it again. Pieces made from wicker, wrought iron, mesh or plastic can be cleaned with a simple dish soap and water solution.
For wood furniture you can use Murphy Oil Soap and water, then rinse and let dry. If there are stains that are difficult to remove, make a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 gallon water. Use a soft brush to work on the stains, then rinse and let dry completely. Take time to work on stains now, to prevent problems in the spring.
Cushions also need to be clean and dry before you put them away for the winter. If you have cushions covered in fabric or canvas, prepare a solution of 1/2 cup Lysol and 1 gallon hot water and use a soft brush to scrub them clean. Rinse cushions thoroughly and let dry. More serious stains may respond well to a solution of 1/2 cup bleach and 1 gallon water, but test first on a small area.
After your furniture is clean, a protective coating will help keep it looking good for next spring. Aluminum or plastic pieces can be covered with a thin coat of car wax to protect them and use a coat of paste wax for wicker furniture. Check metal furniture for any signs of rust and remove with a wire brush, then spray metal furniture with a silicone sealant.
Furniture covers are great for additional protection from the elements, even if you are storing your pieces in a shed or garage. Covers come in a wide range of sizes and weights, depending on whether you will be storing items outside or under cover. We found several options to suit most needs.
Take great care of your outdoor living area furniture, and you will be able to enjoy it for years to come.
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