As your home heads into winter, the time to protect your outdoor wares is nigh. Backyard furniture and accessories are investments that are worth taking care of all year long, especially during harsh weather conditions. Prepare your furniture and accessories for the blustery season ahead with protective measures like chair covers that can stand up to snow, cold, and whatever else mother nature throws your way, follow these four simple yet effective tips for winterizing your outdoor space.
#1. Clean Sweep
Before you get down to the business of outdoor protection, some clean up is necessary. Cleaning your outdoor furniture prior to putting on the sofa covers or bbq covers helps to maintain their integrity while in winter hibernation. And because every outdoor accessory is unique, each material requires their own unique cleaning technique.
- Wood: Wooden furniture is a breeze to clean. Mix together a mild dish detergent, water, vinegar and a few drops of olive oil. Work with the grain using a soft brush or sponge and rinse with a separate cloth dipped in warm water when finished, allowing to air-dry. Add a protective sealant for an extra level of defense.
- Metal: Your favorite wrought iron accessories can be prepped for winter storage with the help of a gentle cleaning. Steer clear of harsh chemical solutions, and stick with a gentle cleanser specifically formulated for metals. Don’t forget to apply an anti-rust solution before putting on the chair covers and calling it a season.
- Wicker: This unique furniture material is highly prone to collecting dirt and mildew in inclement weather conditions. Keep grime at bay by wiping down your wicker with a mixture of bleach and water to remove any existing gunk. Next, take your vacuum to the nooks and crannies of the wicker and suck up all the dirt and dust that’s hard to reach. All that’s left to do is add your cover of choice and place them in storage.
Don’t neglect safety while prepping your outdoor. All cleaning should be done outdoors where there is guaranteed airflow. Gloves should also be worn when using chemical cleaning solutions, and said chemicals should be stored away from children and pets.
#2. Fabric Finery
From solar shades to outdoor cushions, fabric accessories will require the same defense cleaning measures as your grill and dining table. By cleaning ahead of storage, you ensure that your fabrics will be in pristine shape come next spring. While many fabric accessories such as cushions or canopies can be covered, you’ll need to embrace alternative means of protection for items such as solar shades.
Much like your furniture, all fabrics should be cleaned before covering and/or storing away. If a fabric is machine washable, go ahead and run them through a cycle in your washing machine followed by an air dry. More delicate fabrics will require a hand cleaning. Your bathtub or kitchen sink is the most feasible option for handwashing with a gentle fabric soap.
As far as non-removable fabrics are concerned, opt for scrubbing them down by hand. Start by preparing a solution consisting of 1/3 cup laundry detergent and 1 gallon of hot water. Dip a soft brush or cloth into the mixture and gently scrub the fabric. Rinse off the soap with a hose and allow to air dry in the sun. After drying, store cushions and pillows in waterproof storage bags or tightly sealed bins in the garage for the duration of the winter months.
#3. Hold Your Cover
The most effective method for cold weather preparation comes in the form of waterproof covers. A well-fitted, durable cover means the difference between water damaged outdoor accessories beyond repair, and perfectly maintained pieces that will be ready for spring as soon as it arrives.
The key to effective coverage is a good fit. A outdoor furniture cover that’s too large will be loose and misshapen, allowing snow and ice to reach your patio furniture. On the other end of the spectrum, a too small cover will fail to fit your furniture, leaving you high and dry come winter.
Ordering custom-made covers ensures that you’re getting a perfect fit no matter the shape and size of your outdoor furniture. Seal the deal by securing the cover to the piece with the help of the correct tie down for your different furniture types. Properly attaching your cover will ensure that your pieces are protected no matter how nasty this winter’s weather can get.
#4. Let it Shovel
One of the simplest methods to use in conjunction with covers is also one of the most obvious: shovel the snow. Make a habit of removing snow from your covered outdoor accessories on a regular basis, even after a light snowfall. Preventing snow from accumulating not only gives your covers a boost, it helps to prevent water damage on your deck flooring and siding.
With the proper care and attention, you can keep your outdoor furniture looking its best throughout the winter season. By investing in quality furniture covers, considering indoor storage, elevating furniture above the ground, and maintaining regular cleaning, you can protect your outdoor pieces from the harsh winter elements. Remember, a little effort now will go a long way in preserving your investment and allowing you to enjoy your beautiful outdoor furniture for years to come. Stay proactive and be ready to welcome spring with a well-preserved, inviting outdoor space!