Ways to protect outdoor furniture

Keep your furniture in perfect condition by regular cleaning. PHOTO/www.gettyimages.

What you need to know:

While these efforts can increase your furniture’s lifespan and prevent its colour from fading, choosing the right furniture is the first step to extending the longevity of your furniture.

A little TLC will go a long way in making sure your outdoor furniture lasts long enough and stays in perfect condition. Although outdoor furniture is ordinarily made to endure all elements of weather including rain and sun but they eventually take their toll.  Daina Kabagabe, an interior designer, says the protection and care needed depend on the material your furniture is made of.  Most outdoor furniture is made out of wicker, wood, metal and plastic.

Keep your furniture under the shade

Kabagabe says the easiest way to protect your outdoor furniture of all types is by placing it under a shade. The shade will protect it from direct sunlight and depending on the type of the shade and probably rain too. Direct sun will fade bright colours faster and also cause damage to wood, sometimes causing permanent discolouration.

  “Consider putting your furniture under a shady tree, the veranda or umbrellas. Not only will they serve their purpose of outdoor living better, but the shade will prolong their longevity,” she says.

If the shade under which your furniture is placed does not provide complete protection from the weather elements, you have the option of moving it inside when not in use. If the furniture is immovable remove the cushions. 

Apply oil protection furniture

Oiling is especially great for metallic furniture. Kabagabe notes that a layer of oil will not only protect the furniture but will keep it looking fresh for a long time.  When properly oiled, it helps the wood better resist dirt and moisture and even make the timber more pleasant to the touch.

 “There are various types of oil on the market and each has a number of different uses.  Teak, Danish, Linseed oil or even baby oil can all be used to give a protective layer and a sheen to your furniture,” she says. She also recommends rust neutraliser which works as a reformer.

Regular cleaning

Keep your furniture free of dust, mildew and mold by cleaning it regularly. Start by removing any cushions from your outdoor furniture. For removable cushion covers, you can wash them separately and make sure they are completely dry before placing them back on the cushions. If your cushion covers cannot be removed use warm water with a mild detergent to spot clean them. For the remaining furniture, use soft scrubber to remove any stains, before wiping with a damp cloth.

“Mix washing liquid in a bucket of warm water then, use a soft cloth to wipe down the furniture and allow to soak for a few minutes. Make sure you get into all those nooks and crannies to get rid of any fallen leaves, muck, dust, cobwebs, or moss from the surface of your furniture,” Kabagabe advises.

Plastic furniture is the simplest to clean according to the interior designer, all you need to do is to gently wipe with a cloth and warm soapy water to remove light marks, cobwebs or dust.  Do not forget to clean underneath the furniture, as well as in between cracks and rinse your furniture down well before allowing it to air dry. Once it is nearly dry, try using a soft cloth to give it a final wipe down this will help to prevent water spots.

Metal furniture can be scrubbed with a brush and a bit of water and detergent, then covered with a thin protective coat of car wax and buffed.

Invest in covers

Furniture covers will prevent direct sun exposure and protect it from the elements at the same time. When not in use, you can cover your sensitive furniture. Make sure the covers are thick enough to protect your furniture from the sun.

While these efforts can increase your furniture’s lifespan and prevent its colour from fading, choosing the right furniture is the first step to extending the longevity of your furniture.

High-end furniture can hold up for many years before needing any kind of intervention. Since this is a long term investment, make sure you get only furniture that can withstand the sun’s rays and cushions that are made of materials that do not fade easily. It is also advisable to invest in a spray that will protect your furniture from the sun.