Preparing outdoor equipment for the winter isn’t just limited to lawn care tools. Outdoor furniture also deserves some pampering prior to being put away for the season. Retailers should encourage customers to follow these steps:
- Cleaning: Brush off any loose dirt and debris before washing. For wood or wicker furniture, cleaners like Murphy’s Oil Soap (www.colgate.com/murphy-oil-soap) work well, while other furniture, like plastic, aluminum or wrought iron, can be washed with dish detergent or pressure washers. Be certain to allow for complete drying.
- For wood and wicker/rattan, a light coat of wax will limit the materials from drying out or cracking, and will help preserve the color of the wood.
- Aluminum and wrought-iron furniture can benefit from a light coat of silicone spray. For painted furniture, perform any touch-ups using an outdoor spray paint, such as Krylon’s Color Master or Fusion lines (www.Krylon.com) or Rust-Oleum products (www.rustoleum.com).
- Brush off dirt and debris from cushions and other outdoor fabrics. If possible, machine wash cushion covers; otherwise, wipe down with a damp cloth and mild detergent, rinsing well. Dry completely prior to storing in shed, deck box or garage.
- If furniture is to be left outside for winter, cover with secure-fitting watertight covers. These come in a variety of sizes and colors.
Performing a bit of routine fall maintenance on outdoor furniture will help to extend its life, and will help in getting the patio ready much more easily come Spring.