Many people do the mistake of treating all their furniture the same. Good practice is to understand what elements your outdoor furniture is made of and treating them individually. Just like you would shampoo your hair with different soap than your body, garden furniture materials have different maintenance requirements.
Here is a breakdown of the most common materials used by outdoor furniture manufacturers and the easiest ways to maintain them.
Aluminum is man’s best friend when it comes to maintenance. It is one of the least worrying when it comes to maintenance. Aluminum outdoor furniture is normally made to purposely be left outside all year long. Aluminum naturally has a coat that makes it erosion-free. Add to it the usual powder coated paint and you get an element that is all-weather all year long.
Winterizing aluminum patio furniture is basically just washing it down, for extra care you can apply a coat of automotive wax. This helps maintain it for longer periods but is not mandatory. One thing to watch out for is scratches. One cost effective method is to touch up scratches with car paint of the same color!
Iron & Stainless Steel although they are very sturdy materials for outdoor furniture manufacturers to use, these metals have fallen from grace due to their rusting habits. Although they were once sought after and crowd favorites, Aluminum is slowly gaining an edge due to the erosion factor.
Nevertheless, in order to adequately winterize such furniture, always check for rusted areas. Wipe it down and then remove rust clusters with a wire brush. Use outdoor spray paint to cover up the imperfection and then store indoors for the winter.
Plastic is also an element that requires some care. Water pressure is quite enough with a good hose down but make sure to dry it off with a towel. Indoor storage is also key for plastic furniture as they are prone to brittleness.
Fabrics are vast in types and properties. In essence most fabrics abide by the same maintenance rules. Whether waterproof, water resistant or all weather, you want to make sure you give your fabric furniture the best chance to be nice and fresh for the coming outdoor season. This is especially the case for vibrant colors. As a base rule, keep all furniture containing foam in a dry space for the winter, even ones that are QDF & HDF. Just because you have a 4×4 vehicle, you don’t test it off-road every trip!
Shake off, vacuum and beat the dirt and dust out of your pillow to start the winterizing process. For stains you need soap & water. For tough stains you can use a mixture of one cup bleach with a splash of detergent for every gallon of water. Be careful, bleach is not a good fit for printed fabrics or cotton.