Ideas & Inspiration
How to Clean and Store Outdoor Furniture
Fall and winter bring wet weather and cold temperatures that can be hard on your lawn furniture. With summer drawing to a close, it’s time to consider how best to protect your investment for next year.
If your outdoor furniture came with cleaning instructions, follow those. For furniture that came with no directions, or for which you’ve misplaced the directions, the following tips can be used as a general purpose checklist.
- Empty out any plant containers that you don’t intend to care for over the winter. With a soft-bristled brush, clean away any clinging soil or plant matter. Stack the pots and store them away some place dry. Any containers too big to store indoors should be flipped — otherwise, they may collect water and freeze.
- Any pieces with fabric surfaces should be brought in out of the elements — cushions, hangings and umbrellas, for example. Wipe away any clinging organic matter and spot clean for stains, but be sure to dry them thoroughly before storing them away. Otherwise, you might bring them out again next spring only to find them covered in mildew. Storing them in trash bags with drawstrings will help keep them safe from bugs and moisture.
- Wipe dirt and grime from the furniture itself, particularly around the feet and legs of your furniture. Using a heavy sponge and cleaning solution, scrub every hard surface and wipe dry with a towel.
- A garage or shed is an ideal space for storing lawn furniture. Lightweight chairs can usually be stacked to conserve space. For extra protection, dress stored furniture with a waterproof tarp or cover, especially if you don’t have indoor storage space.
- For heavier pieces that must stay outside during the off-season, use a heavy-duty patio cover to keep the elements at bay. Before you buy, be sure to measure the dimensions of the furniture you want to cover so that you don’t end up leaving gaps that snow and water can infiltrate. Be sure to tie the covers in place so that brisk winds don’t blow them away.
- For furniture with flat surfaces, place a ball or upside-down planter in the center before covering. That will create tenting in the cover, forcing rain and snow to runoff rather than pool on the cover.