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Storing Outdoor Furniture For the Winter

16 September 2010 No Comment

Storing garden furniture for winter months

Storing garden furniture for the winter

There are certain types of materials that do fine in ice and snow but many others have to be protected during off months.

For the home owner who lives in a climate with a distinct winter season, storing outdoor furniture is often a last minute, hasty chore. There are certain types of materials that do fine in ice and snow but many others have to be protected during off months. Just a little bit of cleaning and preparing will help furniture to last longer and come out looking better in the spring.

As consumers spend more and more on better outdoor furniture, it becomes more important to do a good job in putting it away. Toward the end of the season, it becomes easier to do the tasks in small increments rather than spending several days of hard work. A few hours here and there add up to better looking spring furniture.

All fabric cushions and umbrellas should be checked for dampness. It is very important that they be totally dry before going into storage. Unless they are dry, mildew can form under plastic coverings or in a damp garage or basement. Scrubbing off mildew on a beautiful spring day is not fun work.

Plastic chairs, tables or other items like a protective coating of car wax. After a little scrub down and cleaning, spray waxes make application easier than ever. The pieces will be more protected and cleaning in the spring will also take less effort. For stackable chairs and tables, it is less likely they’ll provide sticking problems in the spring.

Mold can be common on outdoor cushions, and you certainly don’t want to store them that way. A solution of ten parts water to one part bleach will do the trick. If the mold still won’t come out, increase the amount of bleach slightly and try scrubbing it again. Use the same technique on umbrellas. Be sure to leave any item out to dry thoroughly before storing.

For wood furniture, wipe off any grime and certainly treat any stains before covering it in plastic for the winter. After a few months of sitting, anything left on it will only be more difficult to remove. It’s also a good time to check the varnish or paint for cracking so any restorative work can be planned for early spring.

Cast iron furniture can withstand the elements and is usually left outdoors over the winter. Its durability doesn’t mean that no maintenance is needed. Check the pieces for any rust and be prepared to sand it off and repaint. Left outdoors for rain and snow, the rust will only increase and be a larger job in the spring.

Using the proper cleaning aids for outdoor furniture is also a good idea. Vinyl cleaner on vinyl is better than kitchen sprays which can leave residue. Use the same cleaner that is used on wood decks for wooden furniture. For aluminum pieces do not use alkaline based products such as ammonia or window cleaners. It can strip the protective sealant on them.

Putting things away and preparing for winter isn’t the most pleasurable of tasks. Saying good-bye to warm, sunny days is difficult but there’s next season to look forward to. Preparing for it ahead of time means you can start to enjoy warmer weather right away without hours of tough work.

Thanks to Gabriel Meriwether

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