Your sunny #staycation zone isn’t going to take care of itself. It’s time to roll up those sleeves NZ, pull off the furniture covers and get down to outdoor furniture business!
You might already be worried about what your brand new outdoor pieces are going to look like next year...or you might not even be thinking about it at all and lapping up the rays without a care. And we wouldn't blame for you wanting to do the latter but it won't help your outdoor furniture last for years to come.
It can totally seem easier to just leave your patio or deck outdoor furniture to its own devices when you’re not using it. But trust us, you’ll wish you had put some protective measures in place once you rediscover the much-loved furniture that you’ve neglected in the darkest corners of your deck when you want to use them again.
Here are our simple care and cleaning tips on how to keep your gorgeous new outdoor furniture looking great for the seasons to come.
Keep It Out Of The Sun! Ironic, We Know.
Although it says “outdoor” in the name, your outdoor furniture is just as susceptible to the harsh summer UV rays as you are. Just because it's designed to be outside, doesn't mean it should be left out there all year long without any protection to speak to.
The sun can do some crazy things to materials, whether it’s baking the oil out of the wood, bleaching the fabric colour out of your outdoor cushions, or splintering your new wicker furniture egg-chair - it’s worth your while doing what you can to reduce your furniture’s exposure.
Find a dry, shaded area to store it while it’s not in use, or invest in a top-quality furniture cover if you would struggle to find a shaded area for larger loungers, chairs and tables.
You could also consider adding a handy sunshade to your patio furniture to keep both you, and it, safe from rays. Simple things like that can add years to your outdoor furniture’s life!
Protect Outdoor Furniture From Heavy Weather
Wait, is it ok to leave patio furniture out in the rain? The short answer is: no, not if it's raining heavily often.
Just like UV rays can damage patio furniture, so can heavy downpours. Most outdoor furniture can withstand light water exposure and can be fairly resistant to a passing shower or odd storm, but it is not designed for heavy wet weather. Water seeps into any material besides metal and can cause mould build-up, warping, discolouration and damage. Metal furniture can rust over time with extended exposure to harsh weather, like some of the winters we experience here in New Zealand.
The same rule applies for sun protection, find a sheltered spot for your furniture - especially in the winter months or invest in a quality cover. If you can fit your unused furniture in your garage or a shed for the wetter months of the year, great! Those fabric pieces also need looking after. Lounger cushions and decorative pillows should always be moved inside with your outdoor furniture to avoid taking a very long rainy bath in the elements. The more protection the better.
Outdoor Furniture Care Kits Are Your Best Friend
Even if you’ve kept your furniture under lock, key, and covers, there will undoubtedly be a slight build-up of grime, mildew, debris, cobwebs and other funky things over the winter break that will need a wipe, rinse or brush off.
Here’s where a furniture care kit can save you hours trying to undo any unsightly stains. Care kits are your first line of defence when it comes to any spills on any surface, be it your outdoor cushions, fabrics or wood furniture - the faster you act the less chance there is of anything becoming a permanent new feature. An effective furniture clean is also easier the sooner you do it, every time.
Besides taking a soft cloth to your furniture every now and again as you use it, there's a little more to taking care of your outdoor chairs and tables, loungers and accessories than meets the eye. No one likes to scrub and clean, so minimise the need for a deep clean and use preventative measures instead!
If you’re one for DIY cleaning solutions when it comes to your patio furniture, there are plenty of options. By being as gentle as possible using non-corrosive solutions, gentle soap and warm water, you can clean months’ worth of grime without ruining the integrity of your outdoor furniture. Make sure you read up on your furniture material and treat it with the appropriate natural or off-the-shelf solution. Clean outdoor furniture every time you remove it from storage before first use for your (and its) comfort. Lightly does it, and if in doubt, always use the more natural cleaning option to keep the integrity of your furniture in one piece.
Make Wooden Furniture Last With Oil
Should I oil my outdoor furniture in summer? If it's made of wood, yep! Beauty is pain when it comes to caring for your average outdoor wood furniture set in the intense heat of a New Zealand summer season. No one can deny how good wooden furniture looks on the back porch, but natural materials like Teak, Karri, and Acacia all have their own flavours of furniture maintenance to keep them looking great under the scorching sun and outdoor elements. There are special kinds of treatments for wicker, too.
By staying on top of regular oil treatment, you'll protect your wooden pieces and you’ll find your wooden furniture can last the summer months outside like a champion and not dry out. However, it’s still best to keep it indoors or in a shed during the wetter and colder months.
Getting Cosy: Outdoor Cushion Care
Prevention is better than a cure, and protecting your cushions is key if you want them looking great and feeling huggable all year around. When you keep an eye on the weather, caring for your outside cushions is low maintenance.
Sunlight will cause UV damage, meaning colour loss and fraying. Then there’s also the risk of mould, trapped dirt, and material breakdown in heavy rains. Moving your outdoor cushions inside when the weather is forecast to chuck it down is smart to avoid any build-up of water and bacteria inside the pillow and to maintain its soft and colourful exterior.
This is where regular washing can work magic for keeping your cushions fresh and bacteria-free. It’s also worth flipping your pillows regularly so that the filling doesn’t settle and compress. Easy eh?!
Now You're All Set!
With just a handful of easy steps, you can protect your brand new furniture. When purchasing your outdoor furniture solution to get the summer staycation you've been waiting for, take into account what you'll need to do to keep your furniture in top-notch condition for years to come (it’s a lot easier than you think). Whether you choose wicker furniture, metal furniture or a mixture of materials - it's easy to protect them all year round with a little bit of planning.