How to Care for Garden Furniture
June 15, 2017
When you invest in quality garden furniture you want it to last, which is why maintenance is so important. But what’s the best way to keep it looking good? For starters, we recommend using furniture covers
in winter and harsher weather conditions, but there are plenty of other ways to care for your furniture – have a look below and find out everything you need to know.
Maintaining wooden garden furniture
Hardwood furniture is the most durable because it has more natural oils to protect it from the elements. Common hardwoods used for garden furniture include teak, cedar, acacia and eucalyptus, with teak being especially hardy.
All that’s needed to care for hardwood garden furniture is a yearly scrub with soapy water, followed by a rinse. However, if you feel it needs brightening up a bit more you can use teak oil. Make sure the wood is completely dry when you apply the oil though – otherwise it can blacken. It should never be used on roble wood either as it can cause damage.
Softwood furniture needs a touch more TLC than hardwood furniture as it has fewer natural oils. There are plenty of garden furniture treatments
out there to offer protection, though – here’s what they do and how to use them.
Oil penetrates the wood, replacing the natural oils that may have been lost while out in all weathers. It helps prevent the wood from getting too dry which can lead to it splitting or cracking. There are various brands that make good quality furniture oil, like Cuprinol and Ronseal, and you can also go natural with a raw linseed oil.
When you treat your furniture (once a year is fine), make sure it’s been cleaned thoroughly first with some hot soapy water. When it’s dry after 24-48 hours, lightly sand it and wipe away any dust, and then apply the oil in the direction of the grain with a long-haired natural bristle brush. If you need to do a second coat, let the first coat dry for at least an hour before you reapply.
Wood stains give the timber a new lease of life, enhancing the natural grain and making it more vibrant in colour. It also protects the wood from sun, water damage and rot.
To treat your wooden garden furniture with a stain, make sure it’s clean first like when you treat with oil (see above). Then apply the stain with a paintbrush or lint-free cloth and let it dry for 24 hours.
If the wood’s looking a little grey and weathered, you can use a garden furniture restorer before you treat it with a stain or oil. This prepares the timber for protection by stripping the weathered surface to reveal the wood below. Cuprinol’s garden furniture restorer
is a good one, and it works in just 15 minutes.
To find out more about the characteristics of wood and learn what to look out for, check out our guide on understanding timber.
Maintaining metal garden furniture
Different metals require different types of maintenance, and how much you do depends on the state of the metal. Whether you’re restoring it to its former glory or simply giving it a clean, here’s how to do it.
Cleaning your metal garden furniture
is easy – all you need is a mild, non-detergent soap, some water and a cloth or a sponge
. Just be careful not to use abrasive scrubbers as they can scratch the surface and expose the metal to moisture, causing it to rust. Tip: If you ever spot any bird droppings on your furniture, remove them as soon as you can. They’re highly acidic and can leave permanent marks.
Metal outdoor furniture, like steel or iron, can rust if the paint or powder coating has cracked because the elements can weather the exposed metal surface. To remedy this you’ll first need to remove any rust or mould with some sandpaper (or wire wool if sandpaper isn’t doing the job), and then add two to three coats of paint. If it’s a bubbled effect you’re sanding away then make sure you remove all the paint in that area before you add another coat; repainting over old paint is often the cause of this bubbled appearance and can also cause the paint to chip off.
Aluminium garden furniture, on the other hand, doesn’t rust – but it can oxidise. To remove oxidisation or light stains on other types of metal furniture, wipe it down with a solution of water and a mild acid in equal parts, like white vinegar or lemon (avoid alkaline solutions as they cause oxidisation).
With hardly any maintenance required, this type of furniture is a breeze to clean – as long as you clean it frequently enough, of course. If not, dust and mould can build up between the weaves.
Whenever it looks like it needs some care, grab a cloth and some soapy water, or some specially formulated rattan furniture cleaner, and give it a wipe down. You can also use a toothbrush to get into the cracks and crevices.
If some of the rattan is dry, cracked or split, don’t worry – you can remedy this. Boiled linseed oil works well as it’s absorbed by the rattan and then hardens to protect it. Keep applying the oil until the rattan won’t absorb any more and then wipe it clean with a soft cloth. Just make sure the oil is boiled and not cold as otherwise it won’t dry and harden.
Maintaining resin garden furniture
Super-easy to care for, resin garden furniture needs only a wipe down with soapy water whenever necessary. You could even use a pressure washer
to remove tougher areas of dirt.