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How to protect your garden furniture during the winter

It’s easy to forget about your garden furniture when summer comes to an end. But most outdoor furniture will need to be put away safely to protect it during the cold winter months.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to take care of your furniture and keep it in good condition, so you can enjoy it for years to come. 

Four steps to protecting and maintaining garden furniture 

There are four main steps to help keep your tables, chairs and other garden furniture in good shape all year round. 

  1. Clean it: clean your furniture on a warm and dry day, when it will have a chance to dry off. Simply use a bucket of soapy water and a cloth. You can machine wash any cushions if the care instructions say so, or otherwise sponge them down [1].
  2. Make any repairs: tighten up any loose screws and, if any need replacing, use brass screws as they won’t rust [1]. If you have rattan furniture and need to make repairs, there is information available online on how to do this. 
  3. Store it away: your freshly cleaned furniture needs to be completely dry before going into storage. Put it away in a dry shed or garage, if you have space. If not, try covering it with a waterproof cover, like a tarpaulin, and tilt it to keep the feet off wet ground and prevent rotting [2]. Don’t forget to store your barbeque away somewhere protected from the elements, too.
  4. Check your furniture: with your furniture clean and safely stored away, it’s important to have a quick check every now and then just to make sure it is keeping dry.

Apart from those general tips, some furniture needs more care than others. For example:

  • Plastic furniture is less likely to require maintenance, but, if it’s left outside over the colder months, it can gradually become brittle. 
  • Furniture made from hardwood, like teak, is more weather resistant and can be left out over winter, if you don’t have space under cover [3].
  • Softwood furniture should be washed down regularly with a wood-cleaning product and, in dry weather, treated with a wood stain or paint containing preservative [3]
  • Metal garden furniture can get rusty. Every two to three years, you should remove any loose material from your furniture and then treat it with rust-preventing paint [3].
  • Rattan or wicker garden furniture requires a little extra cleaning care and should never be left uncovered outdoors in the winter [1].

By taking the time to look after your furniture before the bad weather sets in, you can get it out again in the spring knowing it will be in good condition to enjoy throughout the warmer months.