How to Protect Your Outdoor Furniture

How to Protect Your Outdoor Furniture

It’s easy to think that patio and balcony furniture needs little to no protection. After all, it was designed to be outside and in the elements. While it’s more durable than your comfy egg chair or that ornate showcase, outdoor furniture still needs some care to stay in top shape. That’s what we’ll talk about today. You’ll learn everything from how to clean and protect your stuff, to how to do minor repairs. Let’s get to it.

How To Maintain the Wood Outdoor Furniture?

  • Once a week: Clean with oil-based wood cleaner.
  • Once a month: Check hardware for damage and rust.
  • Once in a while: Reapply seasoning, stain, paint, etc.

Wood furniture needs special treatment to outlast the elements. The ones with the best chance will have a marine varnish – the type of varnish that’s used on boats. Teak oils and teak sealers are good enough if the furniture is never directly exposed to rain or snow. A varnish that contains resin will be a lot more effective. Always clean wood furniture with mild oil-based cleaners so as not to strip the varnish or seasoning. If the wood is seasoned and not varnished, the oil from the product will help maintain it.

Since wood is organic, it makes for a great food source for mold and mildew. Even with a completely waterproof varnish. The best way to prevent that is to dilute bleach in water and spray the vulnerable areas (ie under the seat, around the joints).

Small cracks and splits are easy to fix with some wood or bonding glue. Usually, you will have to apply some pressure to the area for 30 minutes, then leave the piece to cure for a day or two. If a sizeable portion is so damaged it has to be removed, you can patch up that part by filling it with epoxy resin. As a bonus, it may end up looking breathtaking.

How To Maintain the Wicker Outdoor Furniture?

  • Once a week: Vacuum with the brush attachment.
  • Once a month: Clean with oil-based wood cleaner and dust crevices with a toothbrush.
  • Once in a while: Apply teak oil.

Wicker or rattan garden furniture will more or less suffer from the same issues as wood furniture. However, you can’t rely on the same methods. Instead of wiping the pieces with a damp cloth or a cleaner, vacuum them for regular cleaning. Use the brush attachment so you can get into all crevices.

Use a dry old toothbrush for detailing at least once a month. If the surface feels sticky (from sweat or body products), clean it with some oil-based cleaner. Furniture pieces like an egg chair usually have a lot of delicate pieces, like strips that wrap around the joints and woven seats. Those will naturally wear off with time. You can fix those with some wood or bonding glue. Leave it to cure for 24 hours to ensure a strong and long-lasting bond. Wood glue is also useful for fixing splits and smoothing loose ends. Apply a few drops under the part that is protruding and press down.

How To Maintain the Aluminium Outdoor Furniture?

  • Once a week: Wipe with alcohol or an alcohol-based cleaner.
  • Once a month: Wipe with an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Once in a while: Apply anti-rust paint or topcoat.

Metal furniture is sturdy and has remarkable longevity. However, prepare to battle rust. Fortunately, it’s all about keeping everything clean and dry.

Alcohol and alcohol-based cleaners dry quickly and are perfect for quick dusting. From time to time, use an all-purpose or a kitchen cleaner for a thorough scrub. After a rain, spray with diluted bleach to prevent rust. You probably won’t deform aluminum furniture, but you can scratch it. It’s an easy fix as long as you can match the color. Just look for oil-based spray paint or topcoat at your local hardware store.

You Have To Clean Patio Furniture Regularly

It’s not only dust and dirt that you need to get rid of. Mold and rust are fungi, and they feed off organic matter. And you leave the organic matter in the form of sebum and dead skin cells every time you’re using the furniture. Taking 10 to 20 minutes each week for cleaning will prevent these issues. Plus, regularly cleaning wicker and wooden furniture will allow you to spot potential termite problems early.

Waterproof Your Outdoor Furniture

Getting a waterproof tarp or cover should be the number one item on your to-do list. It’s not the only solution, but you will be thankful one is on hand when the heavy summer rain starts suddenly. That tarp will go a long way to protect your patio or balcony furniture from water damage, but we need to take a few more steps. Almost every single piece comes with a waterproof coating or treatment, but those wear off with time. It’s an easy fix, though.

Just cleaning the wood furniture with oil-based cleaning products will help in maintaining the waterproof seasoning. However, if that’s not working anymore, you will have to re-season the wooden surface with teak oil. We also talked about marine varnishes and how they are the best way to waterproof wood. You will probably have to apply several coats, and each coat will have to cure overnight.

For wicker furniture, use tung oil. Simply apply on a cloth and wipe over a clean surface. Season both wood and wicker before storing them away for winter.

Waterproofing aluminum is as easy as picking up a waterproof and anti-rust top coat spray. Apply one coat over the cleaned surface and leave it to dry. It may take up to 24 hours before you can use the furniture or add another coat. You probably won’t need to repeat this for several years.


The most harmful thing for your outdoor furniture is lack of care. It takes only 10 minutes of cleaning a week and an occasional treatment or repair for your patio or balcony to look impeccable.

To stay on top of everything, create a simple schedule. Pick a day of the week when you’ll do the basic clean-up and one day a month when you will do a detailed job. Apply the seasoning oil on wood and wicker pieces at the beginning and the end of the season (or every 3-6 months if you live in a warmer climate).

If possible, keep everything in the shade to protect it from sun damage. And make sure you have a cover when rain and snow rear their heads.

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