How to Prepare and Protect your Garden Furniture in Winter

Garden furniture in winterYour garden furniture serves you well throughout the summer, so it’s important to correctly prepare and protect your outdoor tables and chairs before the cold season truly hits. Wood, metal and plastic furniture all need different types of care, so we’ve put together a guide so you know exactly how to make your garden furniture last.

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Preparing Wooden Garden Furniture

Even the most well-made pieces of wood furniture will warp when left exposed to the elements. Water - whether it comes down in rain or snow or sleet - is a wooden table’s worst nightmare, so you’ll need to make sure it’s fully prepared. 

Cleaning Your Wooden Garden Furniture

Start by brushing your wooden furniture down to remove any cobwebs, leaves and other debris. Next, use a soft cloth (such as a microfibre cloth) to dust the furniture. Dampen the cloth first with some clean water, and get to work - making sure not to saturate the wood. 

You’ll then want to use a gentle detergent to clean the furniture without damaging the wood, such as a highly diluted solution of soap or washing up liquid and water. Target any areas of grime in particular, and use another clean, soft cloth or sponge. For stubborn marks like water rings from glasses or spillages, use a wood cleaning product suitable for the type of wood your table is made from.

Treating your Wooden Garden Furniture

Once your wooden garden furniture is spotless, it’s ready to be given a new lease of life with a fresh finish. We recommend using a tinted hard wax oil, which will provide extra durability to your furniture and protection from moisture. Apply this with a soft cloth and leave to dry for the specified time, usually around 24 hours. Make sure you buy a wax tinted to match the original colour of your furniture!

 maintaining your garden furniture

Source: Osmo

Fixing your Wooden Garden Furniture

This is the perfect opportunity to make sure your furniture doesn’t have any loose screws or wobbly legs. You can also sand out any splinters with sandpaper, making sure to go with the grain of the wood.


Preparing Rattan and Wicker Garden Furniture

Rattan garden furniture

Garden furniture made from natural rattan or natural wicker will ideally be stored indoors, or at least covered over winter with a waterproof furniture cover. However, most rattan or wicker-style garden furniture is now made from plastic, making it much more durable. 

The woven style of the furniture provides lots of places for debris to get stuck or hide, so start off by brushing it down to remove leaves and any larger debris on the surface. You can then use a vacuum to suck up dirt from within the weaves. Lastly, go in with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth, making sure to fully remove any remaining dirt.

If you have real wicker or rattan furniture, make sure to apply a water repellent and UV-protective protector. This will help maintain the colour and quality of the furniture, even in summer.


Preparing Plastic Garden Furniture

Similarly to synthetic rattan garden furniture, you’ll want to fully clean your plastic garden furniture before the cold season truly hits. Wash with hot, soapy water or even hose them down, but make sure not to scrub the surface with anything too abrasive as it will leave marks. Once you’re finished, apply a layer of car wax (yes, you read that right!) to keep it looking super shiny. 


Preparing Metal Garden Furniture

There are different types of metal garden furniture, so make sure you know what yours is made from so you can care for it properly.

 Metal garden furniture

Steel and Iron Garden Furniture

Garden furniture made from wrought steel or iron is prone to rust, so keeping it away from water is a priority. Apart from that, they’re much more durable than other types of garden furniture, so you can use a scrubbing brush with soapy water to get them nice and clean.

If you find any spots of rust, sand them out with steel wool, clean the area and then fill any holes with an epoxy filler, made specifically for treating rust. You can get the filler in a putty form, making it easy to mould into place - and it will set like steel once it’s dry. Sand the area again to blend the filler. 

Before you repaint your steel and iron garden furniture, make sure to use a primer. Once both layers are dry, you can use a layer of car wax for added shine and protection from water.


Aluminium Garden Furniture

Aluminium doesn’t rust, though it does corrode, and you still need to protect against this. Aluminium furniture will generally come with a layer of protection against corrosion, so it’s about upholding that layer and repairing any cracks or damage you see as they appear. 

Dust your aluminium furniture to remove large pieces of debris, and then clean with a damp cloth and a diluted soap solution. Make sure not to use any harsh chemicals as they will damage the protective layer, exposing the aluminium below. To go the extra mile in protecting your aluminium garden furniture, apply a layer of car wax after cleaning.


Preparing Soft Furnishings for Winter

Soft garden furnishings

Many of us have soft furnishings which go with our garden furniture, whether this is in the form of seat pads, cushions or outdoor rugs. These will ideally be stored indoors when not in use even in the summer, as you never know when it will rain! 

Putting your soft garden furnishings away for winter is the perfect time to make sure they’re all clean and dry, to stop mould and mildew from forming and spreading. Remove the covers from everything you can, and machine wash those that are suitable. If you can’t machine wash something, then wipe it down with a damp cloth. Allow everything to fully dry after washing.

Storing your Garden Furniture in Winter

Now you’ve prepared your garden furniture for the wet winter months, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to protect it from the elements. 

Store your Garden Furniture in a Shed or Garage

In an ideal world, we’ll all have plenty of room in a shed or garage to store our furniture for the winter. This is your best bet for keeping your furniture from sustaining damage. Make sure your furniture is clean and dry before you store it, to prevent adding moisture to the environment you’re keeping it in. 

Foldable or stackable tables and chairs are the easiest to store, so if you’re cramped on space, this may be something you want to consider. Prioritise storing furniture made from steel, iron and natural wicker, as these are most susceptible to weather damage. 

Always make sure to store soft furnishings indoors!

Use Garden Furniture Covers

If you don’t have room for your garden furniture in a shed or garage, don’t despair! You can still protect your furniture from the elements with specially made waterproof furniture covers. 

This is particularly useful for large, heavy garden suites which may be a challenge to move. Some garden furniture will even have a tailored winter cover available to buy which fits the exact measurements of the piece, like this large rain cover.

Like when storing furniture indoors, make sure your furniture is bone dry before covering, or you’ll trap moisture under the cover. It’s also a good idea to allow some ventilation to the furniture so any moisture that does get in can escape.

garden furniture cover

Move Your Garden Furniture

If you don’t have access to a shed or garage, and don’t have a cover for your furniture, then there are still things you can do to minimise damage over the winter. 

Start by moving any of your garden furniture off your lawn. Think of the amount of frost you see on your lawn every cold winter morning - when this melts, the grass is very wet, and moving your furniture away from the grass will lessen the amount of moisture seeping up into the furniture - especially with wood. If you can’t move your furniture from the grass, put each leg on a flat rock to minimise contact with the grass. 

Next, try to find the most sheltered place in your garden where you can place your furniture to protect against wind, rain and snow. Near the walls of your house, your fences or a shed will be the best place, especially in a corner, where the furniture will be protected from two different directions. 


Clearance Garden Furniture Showroom

Are you looking for a new garden suite to liven up your outdoor space?

At Dorset Furniture Outlet, we understand how expensive it can be to fully furnish your outdoor space with high-quality, long-lasting, stylish furniture. That’s why we carefully choose the best outdoor furniture to add to our collection and offer it to you at clearance prices. 

It can be difficult to see the quality of garden furniture when looking online, so we recommend booking an appointment to visit our garden furniture showroom in Poole so you can be confident in the quality of what you’re buying.

If you’d rather buy online or want to have a look at what’s available before you visit the Poole showroom, browse our garden furniture collection online today. Everything on our website is in stock, so you can say goodbye to long lead times!

We’re proud of our high-quality collection, which balances luxury with good value to provide something to fit every outdoor space. Whether you’re looking for sunloungers, a dining set or a sofa and coffee table set, we have a whole range of different sizes, styles, and colours for you to choose from. We also offer durable rain covers which are designed to fit the suites and protect your furniture through winter.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch now!