One of my favorite parts of my house is actually the backyard. I’ve put quite a bit of time and effort in the past couple of years into creating a nice outdoor living space, and it has really paid off! During the summer, we spent multiple evenings each week hanging out on the patio, enjoying the cooler evening air. So it should come as no surprise to you that I have been absolutely DREADING the task of putting our outdoor furniture away for the season!
Putting away the outdoor furniture feels like such a final goodbye to warmer weather than I can hardly bring myself to do it. Plus, the more I think about it, the more I convince myself that it will be time-consuming and difficult. But I know that it has to be done, and I know that I would rather do it if I’m going to do it at all. So today I’ve put together a guide to help you (and me!) clean, protect, and store your outdoor furniture. Doing these things now will help you extend the life of your outdoor furniture, and I promise it’s not as hard as it seems! :-)
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How To Clean And Store Your Outdoor Furniture
When I’m taking down my outdoor furniture for the season, the cushions are generally my top priority. I made the (somewhat questionable) call to get white cushions for our outdoor sectional when I bought it, so I want to keep those babies as clean as possible! Luckily for me, it’s actually not that complicated to clean outdoor cushions.
Step 1 – Clean
The easiest way to get the job done is to use a pressure washer to blast them clean. You can sometimes rent pressure washers at hardware stores. I actually bought one a couple of years ago, and we’ve used it a lot since then! It’s a surprisingly useful machine to have around. (Another solution is to take them to a self-service car wash! Check out more things you can clean at the car wash below.)
If you can’t get a pressure washer, you can scrub them by hand too. Just add 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent and 1 tablespoon of Borax to a bucket, along with 1 quart of warm water. Dip a sponge or scrub brush into the solution, then scrub the cushions. Let the solution sit on the fabric for about 15 minutes, then use your hose to rinse them clean. Let the cushions dry completely before storing them.
Step 2 – Protect
Once your cushions are dry after cleaning them, it’s a good time to apply a fabric protector designed for outdoor fabrics. A fabric protector will help keep your cushions clean, and make them easier to clean in the future, too. And it only takes a few minutes to apply! Just follow the directions on the can or bottle, and let it dry for the recommended amount of time.
Step 3 – Store
The final step in the process is to store your cushions. Storing them in a plastic bin will help keep moisture, dirt, and bugs out, and bins are easy to stack in your garage or storage unit. But if you don’t have any plastic bins, a clean trash bag works too!
Once you’ve dealt with the cushions, it’s time to deal with the furniture itself. It can be tempting to leave it as-is, but a couple of extra steps can help keep your furniture in tip-top shape through the winter!
Step 1 – Clean
Cleaning your outdoor furniture can be as easy as using your hose or pressure washer. You just want to wash away any dust or dirt before doing anything else to it. I like to keep a stack of old towels in a cupboard to use for jobs like this, if you don’t want to wait for the furniture to air dry.
Step 2 – Protect
Apply a sealant or protectant to your clean, dry outdoor furniture. You’ll need to look for a product that is suited to the material of your furniture. There are also products that can be applied to many If you have a variety of different types of outdoor furniture, it may be easier to use a multi-surface product.
If you have metal items, check for rust spots. (Moisture only makes rust worse, so it’s important to take care of rust before winter comes!) Apply a rust protector to the area, then seal with a fresh coat of paint or sealant.
Step 3 – Store
Finally, store your furniture. I like to move smaller items like individual chairs into the garage, but I don’t have the space to store larger items. So to help protect those things, I’ll look for protective covers or tarps that will help keep them dry through the wet winter months.
Cleaning and storing your patio umbrella can seem like a daunting task, but it’s easier than you’d think! I broke the process down step-by-step to make it really easy. Check it out below!
Related: How To Clean Your Patio Umbrella
Other Outdoor Fabrics
Finally, clean and store any other fabric items you may have as part of your patio setup, including rugs, hammocks, awnings, etc. Many of these items can be machine washed. If they can’t be tossed in the wash, use your hose, pressure washer, or take them through the car wash like I mentioned above. Find a safe place to store them until it’s warm enough to bring them out again!
While putting away the outdoor furniture may still be a task that fills you with dread, hopefully this post has helped convince you that it’s worth the time and effort. When springtime rolls around in a few months, you’ll be so happy you did it the right way!