5 Tips for Storing Your Outdoor Furniture for the Winter

deck furniture covered in early fall snowfall. porch ready for winter. chairs and a table covered in snow. snowstorm in autumn. suburban area

Storing your outdoor patio furniture for the fall and winter is essential to prolong its lifespan and ensure it’s ready for use when the warmer weather returns. Here are some steps you can take:

Last Updated: September 5, 2023

Why Should I Winterize My Patio Furniture?

Winterizing your outdoor patio furniture is crucial to prolong its lifespan and maintain its aesthetic appeal. Exposure to harsh winter elements such as snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can cause structural damage, fading, rusting, and deterioration of materials. By taking the time to properly winterize your furniture with covers or storage, you can prevent these issues, ensuring that your furniture remains in good condition, saving you money on replacements, and allowing you to enjoy it for many more seasons to come.

1. Clean the Furniture Thoroughly

Cleaning patio furniture can help extend its lifespan and maintain its appearance. The cleaning process can vary based on the material of your furniture. Here’s a general guide for cleaning different types of patio furniture:

1. How to Clean Wicker Furniture:

  • Mix a solution of mild soap and warm water.
  • Dip a soft brush or cloth in the solution and gently scrub the wicker furniture.
  • Pay attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas.
  • Rinse with a hose or clean water to remove soap residue.
  • Allow the furniture to dry completely before using or storing it.

2. How to Clean Metal Furniture (Aluminum, Steel, Iron):

  • Remove any loose dirt or debris with a brush or cloth.
  • Mix a solution of water and mild dish soap or a gentle cleaner.
  • Use a sponge or soft cloth to clean the metal surfaces.
  • For stubborn stains, you can use a mixture of water and baking soda to create a paste. Gently rub the paste on the stains and rinse thoroughly.
  • Rinse the furniture with clean water to remove any cleaning solution.
  • Dry the furniture to prevent water spots or rust.

3. How to Clean Plastic Furniture:

  • Wipe down the furniture with a mixture of mild soap and water using a sponge or cloth.
  • For tougher stains, you can use a baking soda paste or a gentle abrasive cleaner.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water to remove any soap or cleaning solution.
  • Dry the furniture before use or storage.

4. How to Clean Wood Furniture:

  • Start by removing dust and dirt with a brush or cloth.
  • Mix a solution of water and mild soap.
  • Use a soft brush or cloth to gently clean the wood surfaces.
  • Avoid using excessive water, as it can damage wood.
  • Rinse with clean water and dry the furniture thoroughly.
  • If your wood furniture is sealed, you can occasionally apply a wood sealer or protector to maintain its finish.

5. How to Clean Outdoor Cushions and Fabrics:

  • Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning cushions and fabrics.
  • Most fabric cushions can be cleaned with a solution of mild soap and water.
  • Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub gently.
  • Rinse thoroughly and allow cushions to air dry completely before placing them back on the furniture.
  • Consider using fabric protectors to prevent future stains.

General Tips:

  • Always test any cleaning solution on a small, hidden area of the furniture to ensure it doesn’t cause damage.
  • Use non-abrasive materials to avoid scratching the surfaces.
  • Regularly clean your patio furniture to prevent dirt and grime buildup.
  • Cover your furniture when not in use to protect it from the elements and reduce the frequency of cleaning.

Remember that specific care instructions can vary based on the brand and material of your patio furniture. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines if available.

A dark brown metal dining table with six matching chairs.

2. Store Outdoor Furniture Indoors

If possible, store your outdoor furniture indoors during the fall and winter. This could be in a basement, garage, or shed. Storing the furniture in a dry and controlled environment will protect it from the elements and help prevent deterioration.

Storing Cushions

If your outdoor furniture has cushions, it’s best to remove them and store them indoors. Cushions can easily get damaged by moisture, mold, and pests during the colder months.

3. Cover The Furniture

Outdoor patio furniture protected with a cover with snow on top of it

If indoor storage isn’t an option, use weatherproof covers to protect your furniture from rain, snow, and harsh winds. Make sure the covers are specifically designed for outdoor furniture and fit properly. Secure the covers tightly to prevent them from blowing away in strong winds.

4. Apply Protective Coatings

A woman holds a bottle of cleaner meant to treat outdoor wooden furniture

If your outdoor furniture is made of wood, metal, or other materials that can be affected by moisture, consider applying protective coatings like sealants, varnishes, or rust-resistant paints before storing them.

For more information on protective coatings for your outdoor patio furniture, read this article from Bob Vila.

5. Maintain Whilst in Storage

During the fall and winter, periodically check on your stored furniture. If you notice any signs of moisture buildup, mold, or pest infestations, take necessary actions to address these issues immediately.

Remember that the specific steps you take might vary based on the type of outdoor patio furniture you have (e.g., wood, metal, plastic) and the climate in your area. Taking these precautions will help extend the life of your outdoor furniture and keep it looking great for years to come.

Need More Information?

You can contact one of Gardner White’s experts at (248) 481-2208, chat with one online, or visit one of our local Michigan stores.

Dave has been in the furniture industry in one capacity or another for the last decade. When not writing about furniture he enjoys cooking for his family, guitar playing, oil painting, the Detroit Tigers, and the comedic antics of English Bulldogs.