It's about that time of year again. With days getting shorter and nights getting cooler most of us are spending less and less time dining and relaxing outdoors. As you put your garden to bed, remember to prepare your outdoor furniture for the winter as well. Here are tips on what to do and what not to do to keep your tables, chairs, benches, and accessories in good shape and ready for spring.
Teak furniture is made for the out-of-doors, and can stay out all winter in our temperate climate. It does not need to be oiled. In fact, oiling teak is a good way to ruin it, so don't do it.
Teak does benefit from occasional cleaning. Just hose it off at low pressure. You can use a mild soap and water solution, even oil soap, if you like.
The greying that is characteristic of teak is a natural process, not a defect. You can restore the natural brown with a special finish, but most people prefer to let their teak turn grey.
Synthetic woven wicker furniture can stay outdoors all year round, but it does need cleaning from time to time to prevent the build-up of dirt. For maintenance hose it down every few months. At the end of the season wipe it down with a soft cloth or scrub brush and mild soap and water.
You can clean aluminium furniture with a mixture of water and mild dishwashing soap and a soft cloth. Never use abrasive cleaners or brushes on aluminium because it will scratch. You can use a bit of soft scrubbing product on a clean cloth to remove scuff marks.
Cushions and Umbrellas
Quality umbrellas and outdoor cushions are made from durable material well suited to surviving the elements. But even stain-resistant fabrics can get dirty from leaves, pitch, pollen, and dust in the air.
Before you put them away for the winter hose fabrics off to remove loose dirt. Then use a soft brush and a mild solution of gentle cleanser in warm (not hot) water. Hose off again. Let fabrics dry before putting them away for the winter.
Removable cushion covers may be machine washable. Be sure to check the label before putting them through the washer. Even if they are machine washable it's best to let them air dry.
Furniture and Cushion Covers
Covers keep outdoor furniture and cushions clean and ready for spring. Covers must be breathable or they will trap moisture and do more harm than good. You can find specially treated, highly water resistant and breathable polyester covers in many sizes and shapes. A loose fit improves air circulation and reduces the possibility of moisture build-up even more.
Good quality outdoor furnishings give pleasure for many years. All they need is a little cleanup and appropriate storage and they'll be like new when you need them again.