Topic: Outdoor Furniture

Date Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015
Posted by: Tanya Zanfa (Master Admin)

Fall Cleaning for Outdoor Furniture

Fall Cleaning for Outdoor Furniture


Although the weather is still in summer mode and will be so for a few more weeks, it is time to prepare your outdoor furniture and accessories for winter storage. You have paid some of your hard earned money for the items you have and a few small steps will prolong the life of your furniture, umbrellas and cushions.

The most common thing that destroys the appearance of furniture and cushions is mold and mildew. It grows on dirt on the surface of the materials in moist environments. The days in the summer and fall are warm, however the evenings are cool and the evening dew provides the perfect setting for mildew growth. A thorough washing of the cushions, umbrella covers and furniture slings with a mild soap and water will reduce the appearance of mildew. Dry the items completely before putting them away. Storage in plastic bags is not recommended because the lack of air circulation will allow mildew to grow.

The shore areas have a specific problem with salt in the air. It is corrosive to most metals. Although aluminum will not rust and is used for the frames of the furniture, it can pit and become rough and powdery. A hard baked-on finish is used on the furniture but it is not indestructible. The furniture should be washed to remove the accumulation of salt on the finish. If not removed, the salt will seep under the finishes on aluminum furniture and start to corrode the aluminum. The baked-on finish will be unable to adhere to the aluminum and it will begin to flake off. The best preventative move is to rinse off the furniture often throughout the summer and wash it before putting it away at the end of the season. Touching up areas on the furniture that have been scratched or damaged with a little paint will help seal the finish and prevent more corrosion damage. It is always good to lubricate any bolts or hinges so that they remain free in case removal is necessary.

Umbrellas need a little attention, too. The covers need to be clean and dry before putting them away. The pivot points on the arms of the umbrellas should be lubricated because they accumulate salt and tend to rust or become hard to move. The tilting joint should also be lubricated to allow a free movement. If it is difficult to crank your umbrella up and down, inspect the top roller wheel to make sure it is moving with the cord.

Fall is the time to inspect and decide if you want to repair or replace your items. There may be a larger selection of “take with you” items in the spring, however if you need a special size, style or color the best time to order is in the fall. The general atmosphere seems to be more relaxed and you have more time to make a proper decision about colors and styles. If you plan in advance, you will have your items in the spring to start out fresh instead of waiting weeks for them to arrive.

Many manufacturers provide “how to” sections on their websites and give detailed information on maintenance, replacement and storage recommendations. Take advantage of their expertise. They manufactured the products and want you to enjoy them for a long time.

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