Winter’s Coming! How to Winterize Your Patio Furniture

ThinkstockPhotos-490696325

Old Man Winter’s knocking at your door. Or maybe more accurately, he’s approaching the front step of your patio.
And he’s not going to be very nice to your patio furniture…
So it’s up to you to protect it from him.
Fortunately, today’s patio furniture is built to withstand the harsher temperatures Old Man Winter brings. While you don’t have to do as much maintenance, some care’s still necessary. Luckily, Casual Living has some solutions.

Here’s what you can do to keep your patio furniture safe from his cool grasp all winter long:

1. What to do with Plastic
Because plastic gets so stiff and brittle over the winter, it’s more likely to break. So it’s wisest to take it indoors for the winter. Before you move it inside, blast it off with a hose and dry it off with an old towel, or let it air dry.

2. How to Care for Aluminum
Powder coating protects most aluminum from rusting. But to provide that extra level of care and keep it in pristine condition, wash the aluminum and use automotive wax. For any blemishes in the powder coating, you can simply use similarly colored car paint.

3. Wrought Iron’s Susceptible Rust, But Don’t Worry If You See Any
Wrought iron’s oh-so-sturdy. But unlike powder-coated aluminum, it is vulnerable to rust.
If you see some rust, don’t have a panic attack!
A wire brush will scrub the rust right off. You can’t use car paint to touch up wrought iron, though. In this case, you’ll have to get a special spray paint designed for use specifically with wrought iron.
Put your wrought iron furniture inside if you can. If you can’t, cover it with a tarp for the winter.

4. Clean Up Your Fabrics for the Season, And Don’t Stress about Mildew
Even though acrylic is designed to minimize the growth of mildew, it can still have the unsightly black stuff grow on it. But that’s only if acrylic stays dirty.
You can totally avoid any mildew by vacuuming and shaking your acrylic furniture (usually cushions and umbrellas) at the end of the season.
Anything stuffed with foam should be kept in a dry area for the winter.
If you have a stubborn stain, use a 1 cup bleach/1 gallon of water mixture (with a small splash of detergent) to remove it.
Don’t use that mixture with cotton or printed fabrics though! Instead, just use a soap and water mix to clean them off.

5. Keep Your Wicker Wonderful
Many times, wicker is sealed with a finish for protection. Simply scrub it gently with a brush or sponge and a mix of mild soap and water.
Dry it off with a towel, or let it dry the easy way – with air drying.
Synthetic wicker furniture doesn’t need to be put away.
But, natural rattan should be kept in a dry, dark area.

6. And Finally Natural Woods
If they’ve faded over time and lost their color, don’t fear. Teak is a common and durable wood used for patio furniture. It’ll turn silver over time if you don’t maintain it – and many homeowners like that.
If you prefer the original color, use specialty oil at least once each year.
For other painted woods, visit your local paint supplier for advice on a good acrylic paint to use.
With those tips, you’ll frustrate Old Man Winter. And you’ll keep your patio furniture in top shape, so it’ll be ready to bust out right away when Spring comes.
Until then…stay warm!