Outdoor FurnitureSummer in Ohio means one thing: Your backyard or patio is THE place to be. From Saturday afternoon barbecues with family and friends to romantic evenings spent sipping wine by the light of candles and fireflies, there’s nothing more satisfying than a well-equipped outdoor space. But with great satisfaction comes great responsibility, and your patio tables and chairs may require a bit of TLC to stay in peak condition. Luckily, none of the work you’ll need to do is very difficult. Read on for five quick tips that’ll keep you sitting pretty in the great outdoors for many summers to come.

 

1. Protect your furniture from the sun and rain. Outdoor furniture is made to weather the elements, but eventually all that exposure will take its toll. Storing items under a protective shelter will limit their contact with the sun and rain, thereby doubling or even tripling their lifespans.

An all-weather outdoor shade structure like the Oakengrove Patio Umbrella by Ashley pulls double duty, providing an aesthetically pleasing centerpiece for your outdoor activities and protecting your table and chairs in the off-hours. An easy slider mechanism pivots the canopy as needed, and a foot pedal on the base allows you to rotate the canopy 360 degrees for maximum coverage.

2. Keep your stuff clean. If you stay on top of things by giving your patio table and chairs a quick five-minute wash once a week or so, you’ll avoid the headaches that arise later due to built-up dirt, grime, and pollen. No need for a full-on pressure wash; keep it easy by picking off stray leaves and twigs, then giving your furniture a quick spray with the garden hose. Voila!

3. Use material-safe cleaning products for deeper cleans. When it comes to outdoor furniture, different materials require different cleaning methods and products. Fabric cushions can be washed with mild detergent then dried in the sun. Wicker should be brushed with a bleach-and-water solution to remove mildew and then rinsed with a fine-spray garden hose. Wood should be washed with a mix of water, detergent, and bleach using a mildly abrasive sponge. Metal can be scrubbed with a brush and a bit of water and detergent, then covered with a thin protective coat of car wax and buffed.

4. Store cushions when you aren’t using them. Even the sturdiest fabric is susceptible to mildew, sun bleaching, and build-up from dirt and pollen. That’s why storing outdoor cushions somewhere cool and dry when you’re not using them is best practice. Invest in an few outdoor storage boxes if you have space, or opt for an easy-to-reach indoor storage solution in your entryway or garage, like this Roselyn Hall Tree With Bench, which is handcrafted from solid wood with cubbies for convenient stowage.

5. Cover or store your furniture during the off-season. When the end of summer rolls around (since all good things must pass), proper storage of your outdoor furniture is crucial. Snow and extremely cold temperatures will significantly reduce the lifespan of your furniture, while proper storage will ensure its long, happy existence. An outdoor shed or garage will do just fine (a storage facility works too if you don’t have either of those). Just be sure to properly wash and dry your items before storing so they’ll be ready to use and in tip-top condition once sunny days return again.