Avoid a Winter of Discontent | How To Protect Your Patio Furniture

As summer winds down with few outdoor days and lazy dinners left, there are three simple steps to ensure your patio furniture (and your investment) stays beautiful and usable next spring.

While outdoor furnishings are designed to live outdoors, preparing yours for the winter will extend their life and keep them looking new. Metal pieces can expand and split if not properly cleaned and prepped for winter storms and cold; we'll just say basic physics can be surprising when you think it through.

With some variations noted below, there are three basic steps to care for your outdoor furniture and appliances.

1. Clean Your Summer Off

  • Just how do you clean? That depends on exactly what you're cleaning and manufacturer recommendations. Remember, it's always a good idea to test first in an inconspicuous place when using a cleaner (and check out our 303 multi-surface cleaner).
  • Cushions: follow our easy steps in this video.
  • Patio Umbrellas: how to clean canopies and different types of frames.
  • Outdoor Rugs need love too!
  • Aluminum Furniture: Whether heavy cast or lighter extruded frames, follow our step by step video.
  • The always classic cast iron garden set?
  • Teak: do you like it silvery, or restored to golden?
  • Weather-Resistant Resin Wicker is far more resilient than the older wicker variety.
  • Polyethylene Resin and Marine Grade Polymer are easy to clean with water and mild detergent, but remember to oil the outer hardware.
  • Sling chairs need to have both cloth and frame material cleaned and stored; follow the instructions for both cloth and frame types.

2. Rub Something Nice On It

Protective coatings are a great way to care for your furnishings but there are a few things to consider:
  • Cushions/Sling Chairs/Patio Umbrella Canopies: Our 303 Fabric Guard is recommended by Sunbrella, one of the leading manufacturers of outdoor fabrics.
  • Do not coat Resin Wicker. With anything. Ever. Clean, bring inside (and elevate if left in colder spaces), and cover - you don't want a winter's worth of dust in those woven surfaces.
  • Teak is beautiful left silvered or restored to gold, but all teak appreciates a good teak sealer.
  • Any folding or moving parts, such as hinges, swivels, and rockers will love an oiling.
  • Our experts agree that a light buffing of paste was (such as a car wax) will help protect your metal furniture frames, or try our recommended 303 Protectant.

3. Get A Room Already (And Put Your Things Inside)

  • Cushions: After prepping them as suggested above, bring them inside to store in the basement, attic, or garage.
  • Metal Furniture: Keep upright to facilitate drainage. If at all possible, move inside.
  • If keeping outdoor furniture in a colder environment such as an unheated garage, place furniture feet on 2x4s to elevate the metal from direct contact with cold surfaces.
  • If furniture is not in use, cover with a Furniture Cover.
  • Forget the Life Hack rumors, metal furniture should never be stored upside down outside during winter or any time with a chance of a hard freeze.

4. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

  • Speaking of next summer, about your outside cushions? When back in use and you notice moisture stops beading on them, follow the instructions and re-coat with the 303 Fabric Guard.
  • Your Beautiful Grill? The Center Piece of Your Summer? Your Pride and Joy? It's fine. Clean it, cover it, and enjoy it all next summer. Who knew it could be that easy?