Around the House — November 14, 2014 at 5:00 am

How To Prepare Your Outdoor Furniture for Winter

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Harsh weather coupled with months of being left to languish outside can wreak havoc on your outdoor furniture. Don’t the pieces that help you create such sweet summer memories deserve a little more than that? From advice on keeping your furniture in mint condition, no matter how brutal the weather, to tips on incorporating some of your favorite outdoor pieces into your home, here’s a guide to preparing your open-air oasis for the winter months ahead.

Do A Final Fall Cleaning
There’s no use in storing filthy furniture for an entire season. At best, it’ll be virtually impossible to clean come spring. At worst, it will be covered in mold and rendered unusable, costing you a lot of money and frustration. Before getting ready to pack up your outdoor furniture, give it a good scrub down. Usually, a solution of water and dish soap will do the trick and is generally safe on materials such as wicker, mesh, plastic, and wrought iron. That being said, always do a spot test in an inconspicuous area if you aren’t sure. If you’re tackling wood pieces, it’s best to pick up a specially formulated cleanser that will leave your pieces spotless and condition the wood at the same time. Helpful hint: a toothbrush is a great tool for getting into small crevices that may otherwise have been overlooked.

Add Some Extra Protection
If you’re expecting an especially harsh winter, it may help to coat your furniture with a layer of wax or polish prior to packing it away. This step isn’t necessary but can help keep everything looking new and offer a little more protection against the elements. This is also a great time to check for rust, something you need to take care of before saying goodbye for the winter.

Cover Up
Even if you’re planning on storing your outdoor furniture in a shed or garage, you need to cover everything up to protect it from dust, moisture, and all those other things that are best avoided. You can either buy designated furniture covers or make your own using drop sheets or other large, protective fabrics. If you’re leaving everything outside, you absolutely need to ensure that the covers you choose are weather resistant and are able to withstand the elements. It’s worth noting that some materials (like plastic and natural rattan) don’t fare very well outdoors for extended periods of time so try to avoid leaving them out for the season.

Mind The Upholstery
Sometimes, in an effort to winterize your outdoor furniture, little things like ensuring that the upholstery on chairs, umbrellas, and ottomans are clean can be overlooked. When dealing with cushions and other soft surfaces, you need to ensure that you give each piece a thorough cleaning and allow it to dry completely before putting it away. Any residual dampness practically invites mold which is a surefire way to harsh your spring mellow. Work on stains with a product like Oxy Clean and make any necessary repairs to holes, torn seams, or worn patches. Always keep upholstered pieces indoors where they can stay dry and protected.

Bring It Inside
Some pieces are so beautiful that you just can’t bear the thought of hiding them away for months on end. So why should you? A beautiful Adirondack chair can look just as good in your family room as it does in your yard and with the addition of a few cushions and a cozy blanket, it makes the perfect spot to curl up with a good book on a chilly afternoon. End tables are perfect for holiday entertaining (who doesn’t need a few extra surfaces during all those parties?) and ottomans provide extra seating space, something we could all use.

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