Over the last week or so it definitely feels like we are transitioning from summer to autumn. The kids are back into the swing of things at school and, whilst the temperatures are still fairly mild up and down the UK, we’re definitely seeing more in the way of wind and rain.
At Lazy Susan, you won’t hear us complain though. We’ve had a fab summer season. When the sun shines, people buy new outdoor furniture, and this summer we’ve seen lots of both.
Keep summer going we say. Although that said, we’d be lying if we didn’t see the recent rain showers as a welcome relief for our poor gardens!
With that shift in weather, we’re now turning our attention towards getting our patios and gardens ready for the winter though, and it’s a busy time of year for the green-thumbed Lazy Susan’ers amongst us.
If the rain holds off, I know my plans this weekend will include making a start on some autumn planting and getting some nutrients into the soil in our veg patch.
For those of us with outdoor furniture, it is also the time of year we start thinking about getting it ready for winter too.
Our motto here at Lazy Susan is always “prevention is better than cure”, so a little proactive TLC now will not only keep it looking like new but have it ready to use come summer 2023.
If you want to know how to protect your Lazy Susan Outdoor Furniture this winter, then hopefully this is the article for you. From cleaning, maintenance and protection of our cast aluminium to the cleaning and storing of our cushions and parasols. This post should have all you need to know!
How to clean and protect your Lazy Susan outdoor furniture
If you have space in a shed or garage to store it, then even though our outdoor furniture range is designed to sit outside all year round, we would advise you to give it a clean and pop it away just to keep it clean more than anything.
On the other hand, if like many of us, you don’t have the space to store it or if you simply prefer just to leave it outside, then we have some great tips on how you can protect your Lazy Susan Outdoor Furniture this winter.
How to clean our cast aluminium outdoor furniture
Our outdoor furniture range is designed to be left outside all year round. It is constructed from high-grade cast aluminium, which is then painted with a protective finish, and it is that which protects the raw metal from the elements.
One thing we do believe is that you don’t need any specialist proprietary cleaning products. That’s not to say they don’t work, they do. However, our furniture can just as easily be cleaned with products you have around the home for cleaning your car, etc.
Give your outdoor furniture a wash
Of course, as we’ve already said, the best way to protect garden furniture is prevention. Look after it, keep it clean, and protect it, that’s what will keep it looking like new and ready to use summer after summer.
Anything left exposed to the elements for any period of time, be it a car, patio surface, garden shed or outdoor furniture will get dirty. And nobody wants to sit on dirty garden chairs!
The wind, rain and sun can all create issues, individually, and especially when combined. And that equation doesn’t even factor in things like birds, trees, and yes, even our own families and friends.
So, keeping that painted finish clean will not only keep the furniture looking good and ready to use next summer, it will ensure any potential bigger issues don’t get a chance to take hold.
And we’re not talking about any extensive maintenance such as what’s needed with say wood or iron. A quick wash with warm soapy water, a rinse off with the garden hose and leave to dry will suffice.
We generally advise you to avoid using a pressure washer though. They are just too powerful. Warm soapy water will remove the grime, then just rinse with the hose on a spray setting and leave it to dry in the sun.
Remove any stubborn stains from your outdoor furniture
Don’t be tempted to pressure wash any stubborn stains off too. Things like sunbaked bird droppings or tree sap are best softened first to avoid potentially damaging the painted finish.
The 3 ways we advise you do this are:
- Soak a microfibre cloth in warm soapy water and let it sit on there for a few minutes or so, then wipe off.
- A light squirt of WD-40, leave for a minute or so, and then wipe off with warm soapy water.
- Apply a car bug cleaner such as Autoglym’s Active Insect Remover, again, leave for a minute or so, and wipe off with warm soapy water.
In fact, on that last point, when it comes to the type of soap to use, washing up liquid generally works OK, but a good car wash and wax type product is our preference.
They offer a more powerful clean (they’re specially formulated for painted metal) and they remove outdoor dirt and grime but they'll not damage our painted finish.
You’re also applying wax at the same time as washing, which just helps rain to run off and leaves you with a streak-free sheen for longer.
Protect your outdoor furniture from the elements
Once clean, our top tip, and this is one we recommend in probably all of our cleaning/maintenance articles, is to apply a light coat of car wax.
Whatever ‘carnauba’ style wax you’d apply to your car will do the job, nothing expensive. My personal preference is Simoniz Original Carnauba Wax. Easy to pick up from the local Halfords or online from the likes of Amazon, easy to apply, not too expensive, and most importantly, easy to buff.
I find it leaves our furniture with a nice lustre that’s not too glossy. Plus, it gives you that all-important extra protection against the elements, whilst helping to just keep the furniture cleaner for longer. You don't need much. Just apply a light coat with one microfibre cloth and buff it with another!
Touch up any chips and scratches
It is important that you maintain the painted finish on our furniture. Compromise the integrity and it could lead to problems down the line.
For example, if you get a small scratch or a chip on the foot of a chair whilst pulling it out on a stone patio, then moisture could get under the paintwork. This is super rare but it has happened.
Each Touch Up Paint Kit has 1 or 2 x small tubs of paint specially designed to match your furniture and is supplied with a built-in paintbrush applicator.
To apply our Antique Bronze and achieve the stippled-effect finish:
- Carefully apply the black paint
- Dab with kitchen roll to remove excess paint and leave to dry
- Carefully dab on bronze paint
- Remove excess paint with a sheet of kitchen roll and leave to dry
- Repeat as necessary until the desired finish is achieved
The video below walks you through the above process step by step and shows you how to achieve our distinctive Antique Bronze paint effect:
Our white and slate grey has a one-stage painted finish, so only one colour needs to be applied to touch up any chips or scratches.
Cover & secure your outdoor furniture
At this time of year, you might want to think about covering and securing your furniture if you can’t store it in a garage or shed.
If you have no choice but to leave outside, then there are two options. Leave it (many do) or cover it.
The key with outdoor furniture overs is to ensure they fit, are secured in place and are constructed from a breathable waterproof fabric.
You can pick up large covers that will fit over the full set, however, our advice would be to get ‘fitted’ individual covers for each piece from somewhere like Covers & All.
They supply tabletop, chairs, sun loungers and parasol covers that are custom-made to fit any size or shape. Plus, as well as being waterproof, they are UV and tear-resistant, and come supplied with the all-important tie-down fasteners.
If you just leave it uncovered, then keep it clean, maybe protect it with a little wax?
Insure your outdoor furniture for theft and accidental damage
Garden furniture can be an expensive purchase, especially if you have one of our larger sets or multiple pieces.
They can also be an easy target for thieves… Gardens are easy to access, and furniture is easy to resell.
However, if you want to protect your garden furniture, especially when it comes to accidental damage, and for total peace of mind, it is worth taking out or checking your existing policy to see if it is covered.
And that goes for all expensive items in the garden, not just furniture. Tools, even planters, they’re expensive, so worth checking they’re covered if the worst should happen.
We’re also not suggesting that our furniture getting struck by lightning or blown away in a strong gale is a common occurrence too but it could happen.
At the end of the day, garden furniture is meant to be enjoyed, and if we take it off the patio and into a shed or garage, it looks bare. And that’s why many of us are happy to leave it outside all year round.
Clean and store your outdoor cushion
Of course, if you purchase seat cushions to pair with outdoor furniture that is built to last, then it is important you care for and maintain them properly too.
And unlike our furniture, which can be left outside all year, we would definitely advise you to store our cushions indoors when not in use.
Yes, they are constructed from a waterproof fabric and quick-drying foam but leave them outside and they’ll quickly get very grubby, so they’re best stored indoors when not in use.
If they do get dirty, which happens when eating and drinking on them in the summer, you can easily remove the fabric from the seat pad via a zip to give them a wash/refresh if need be.
You can wash them in the machine at 30 degrees if they are heavily soiled but our preference is to hand wash them.
Just fill the sink with warm water and a mild detergent, submerge the covers, and leave them to soak for a few minutes. For any stubborn stains, you could also use a stain remover such as Vanish.
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions, and to be extra safe test first on an inconspicuous area such as an inside seam.
When washed, simply rinse them with cold water but avoid ringing/twisting the covers to remove excess water as you can damage/misshape them. Instead, place them flat between two towels and push them down and absorb any excess moisture.
Do not iron or tumble dry, just let them dry flat on a rack or washing line, and make sure they are fully dry before you pop them into storage.
As for storage, an outdoor cushion bag if they’re going in a shed or outdoor storage box is advised just to help keep them clean and fresh.
For a more detailed guide to cleaning and maintaining our outdoor cushions, please read our recent pair your Lazy Susan chairs with our outdoor furniture cushions post.
Clean and store your parasol
Our parasols are another item that whilst waterproof, it is best to store or cover during the winter month
In terms of general care, there are a couple of things we advise:
1. If you are not using your parasol, we recommend you put it down and remove it from the table or base and place it in storage.
2. Alternatively, if you want to leave it in place, cover it with a waterproof parasol cover just to keep it clean.
However, during the winter we would strongly advise that you store your parasol in a dry and safe environment, preferably a shed or a garage if you can.
In terms of light cleaning, then the following is our tried and tested method:
- Pop the umbrella up and drop it down low.
- Give the fabric a gentle run-over with a soft bristle brush to remove any loose particles.
- With the garden hose rinse it off with cold water on a gentle spray setting.
- Fill a bucket with a solution of warm water and a splash of laundry detergent (you don’t need much, just enough to freshen up).
- With a microfibre cloth, give the fabric a wipe-down.
- Rinse with the garden hose in a spray/shower/cone setting.
- Leave it up to dry in the sun.
If there’s tougher dirt such as bird dropping or tree sap, then just let a wet cloth sit on them for a few minutes. The warm water will often be enough to soften so you can wipe away but never scrub as you can damage the fibres.
However, if you feel it needs a deep clean, the following method should shift most heavy grime:
- Mix 1 cup of undiluted white vinegar with a quarter of a cup of washing-up liquid in a bucket of warm water.
- Open the parasol up fully so the fabric is tight and drop it down as low as it will go or carefully rest it on its side.
- Using a soft bristle brush apply the solution and gently scrub the fabric in a circular motion.
- Make sure you scrub all the fabric not just the areas with stains as if it is mould or mildew forming, then it can still be lurking but not seen. The vinegar will stop it in its tracks.
- Gently rinse with the garden hose. Avoid using a pressure washer as they are just too powerful and you could damage the parasol.
- Leave it open to dry fully in the sun before you use it or put it away.
The pole and base can be cleaned like our garden furniture. Just wipe it down with warm soapy water and leave it to dry in the sun.
A little WD40 on the moving parts once dry will protect them and keep them moving smoothly, just be careful to avoid any contact with the umbrella fabric.
For a more detailed guide to cleaning and maintaining our parasols, please read our recent why pair your outdoor furniture with a parasol post.
If you’ve got any photos of your Lazy Susan Garden Furniture in situ, then we’d love to see them for our Do Some Good charity campaign!