During the warmer months, your patio gets a lot of use. In the colder months, however, you likely spend less time outside, which means you spend less time enjoying your outdoor patio furniture, too. If you live in an area that has a cold or wet winter climate, you’ll need to take a few steps to winterize your patio and make sure your patio furniture are properly protected from the elements. Follow our simple steps below to properly safeguard your outdoor living space during the winter months.
Protect Your Outdoor Furniture
The first step in preparing your outdoor furniture for the winter months is to clean it. Moisture, dirt, and debris left on patio furniture and textiles can lead to mold or mildew growth, leaving your furniture in rough shape by the following spring. Follow the suggestions below for cleaning your patio furniture and remember to always let furnishings dry completely before storing.
Tips for Cleaning Different Furniture Materials
Outdoor furniture pieces that are made from wicker, wrought iron, or plastic can be cleaned using a sponge or brush along with a mixture of dish soap and water. Then, simply rinse and let dry.
For wood patio furniture, follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. The wrong stain, detergent, or cleaning method might ruin your furniture or void the warranty. Whitewashed or painted wood items can be wiped down with a damp cloth. Avoid hosing or scrubbing as these methods can cause paint to chip.
Tips for Cleaning Cushions and Textiles
When it comes to textiles and upholstered items such as cushions, outdoor rugs, and umbrellas, keeping them clean and dry is important to longevity. Most of the time, quickly dusting and air drying anything that gets damp is all that’s required. However, if you’re getting ready to put upholstered items into storage, it’s a great time to deep clean. Generally speaking, a pressure washer can work wonders on especially dingy outdoor cushions and pillows, but when in doubt, refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions. After washing, allow everything to dry completely.
Properly treating furnishings that sit outside is a must. The best way to treat your outdoor furniture will vary based on material, but as always, consult the recommended care instructions for your specific patio set before you begin. Our general guidelines are listed below.
- Fabric protector for textiles: Treat outdoor textiles, such as pillows and cushions, with a good fabric protector after a thorough wash. Our Outdoor Cushion Care Guide offers more advice on how to properly care for outdoor upholstery.
- Wax coating for finished metal and aluminum: If there are no signs of corrosion, a coating of paste wax will protect metal finishes. For more tips on how to maintain metal outdoor furniture, read our Metal Outdoor Material Guide.
- Fresh paint for corroded metal: If metal pieces are painted and there is corrosion, lightly sand the corrosion off and apply a fresh coat of primer and paint. This adds visual appeal and preserves your furniture.
- Waterproof sealant for wood: Sealant keeps wood from absorbing unwanted moisture, which leads to warping and cracks. For more information on how to best care for wooden outdoor furnishings, read our Wood Outdoor Material Guide.
- Soap and water for plastic: Plastic furniture is one of the simplest types to maintain. Simply wash in warm soapy water and let dry.
If you don’t have space to store your patio furniture indoors during the winter months, outdoor furniture covers are an absolute must. Waterproof furniture covers help protect your outdoor furniture from some of winter’s worst weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, snow, and wind. Even if you are planning to store your furniture inside, consider covers for protection against dust, dirt, and pests. Outdoor furniture covers can also be used year-round to protect your furniture from fading and keep it clean between uses. To learn more, read our Outdoor Furniture Cover Buying Guide.
Storing your outdoor furniture during the off-season is the best way to protect it from harsh weather. A garage, basement, or storage shed is ideal, but a covered deck or patio will help protect your furniture, too. An alternative option to storage is to bring outdoor pieces indoors to use and enjoy over the winter.
Put Away Accessories
Small items, such as pillows and décor, should also be stowed away for the winter. Outdoor storage boxes are a smart way to keep these items clean and organized until spring. Read our Deck Box Buying Guide for more information.
Garden supplies and accessories are often left outside. However, hoses and planters can crack when exposed to extreme temperatures, so find a warm place to store these essentials for the winter, too.
Clean and Cover the Grill
Similar to outdoor furniture and décor, your grill is also susceptible to damage from winter weather conditions. When grilling season has ended, turn your grill on one final time to to burn off any existing residue and use a wire brush to remove grime from the grates. Clean out the grease tray and wipe down the grill’s exterior.
If you plan to keep the grill outside, a grill cover (similar to patio furniture styles) is a smart investment. If you’re storing your grill indoors, remove the propane tank first.
Tend to Repairs
When all of your furniture, décor, and grilling accessories have been stowed away, take some time to care for the structure of your patio. Clear the area and use a leaf blower or broom to remove dirt, leaves, and other loose debris. If your patio is especially dirty, wash it down with a pressure washer or garden hose.
When all surfaces are clean and dry, repair any damages. Cold and wet weather can be hard on wood, so replace rotting boards, secure railings, and sand down rough spots before the seasons change. If time allows, reapply water-repellent sealers to stone, brick, and wood surfaces to keep unwanted moisture at bay.
Taking the extra time to care for your patio and outdoor furniture before winter will give you piece of mind knowing you took the necessary steps to protect your investments from harsh weather. Come spring, you will be grateful you spent the time upfront to winterize your patio and make things nice.
- To learn more about the different characteristics of popular outdoor materials and their recommended care, read The Best Outdoor Furniture Materials Based on Where You Live
- Explore these patio ideas for updating your outdoor living space