It’s great to have an outdoor living space for enjoying the summer. The popularity of complete outdoor living rooms, and even outdoor furniture covers coordinated with rugs, in stores and in backyards is a testament to their immense popularity.
With the fall coming, many people are wondering about how to winter-store their outdoor furniture. Let’s face it, the most lounge-worthy outdoor furniture never seems to be the folding/storing kind. Outdoor furniture in Ottawa, with our long winters, needs special care to make sure you can enjoy it next season.
Patio furniture should be cleaned prior to storage. Plastic chairs that aren’t too dirty can be cleaned with clear dish soap and warm water. Pressure-washing will definitely bring them back from grey to a gleaming white, but will also leave behind a rougher texture and possibly some damage to the plastic. Pressure-washing is too much for any other type of furniture, and can turn a tiny chip on a metal chair into a much bigger problem, or cause cracks in teak and wood furniture that shorten your furniture’s life span. A bit of Murphy’s Oil and water and some elbow grease will clean up wood furniture nicely.
It can be a bit tricky to properly clean outdoor furniture in Ottawa. Put removable outdoor furniture covers and cushion covers in the washing machine on gentle (no dryer please!). Replace them while they’re still damp to ensure a good fit. Fabrics that come with built-in sun protection usually have a manufacturer’s care tag which will tell you how they can be washed, but if you aren’t sure, just stick with basic soap and warm water. If your outdoor furniture covers don’t zip off, spot-clean them with a brush and some warm water to remove surface dirt, and ensure they are completely dry before storing to avoid mildew. If you have mildew stains, treat them with 1 tablespoon of bleach mixed with 1 cup of water. It’s important to test on a unnoticeable spot first to be safe.
So how about that huge outdoor sectional you couldn’t resist buying in May? Sure, you sipped your morning coffee and a few evening daiquiris on it all summer long, but now where is it supposed to go? Indoors is best, but if that’s not an option, store your large furniture in a protected area (like under the deck) with outdoor furniture covers. The big enemies of outdoor furniture are moisture and temperature fluctuations, so be sure to choose an outdoor furniture cover that is the right size, and that suits the material, for example, breathable covers to prevent mildew in teak. Stone and tile-top tables are vulnerable to winter damage and should always be stored inside. Following these steps will keep your outdoor furniture in Ottawa safe for the long winter until you can enjoy it again.