How to care for garden furniture
It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to expand your home through to your garden. You can provide your family with another space to relax, entertain and play whilst enjoying the great outdoors. Garden furniture can last for many years, so long as it’s given a little TLC every once in a while. Taking care of your garden furniture couldn't be easier with our step-by-step care guide.
Hardwood wooden furniture
Hardwoods like Teak and Eucalyptus have a high natural oil content, which makes them weather resistant – perfect for keeping outside no matter what the elements throw at it. Look for sustainably sourced hardwood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Most hardwood garden furniture should already be treated with oil to help prolong its life. You can also follow up with teak oil applications every few months to help to preserve the original colouring. A little can go a really long way!
Little maintenance is required if you’ve chosen a hardwood garden furniture set. However, every year a little scrub with mild soapy water and a soft brush can prolong the life of your furniture. Once you’ve scrubbed it down, allow it to dry and then apply a wood preservative.
Softwood wooden furniture
Softwood too can be left outside in the wet and cold, as long as the wood is tantalized, this means that the softwood has been pressure-treated which protects it from rot whilst also making it weather resistant.
You should treat any softwood garden furniture with a water-based wood stain.
Give your softwood garden furniture a wash down with mild soapy water annually. As softwoods are prone to rot, it’s worth re-applying a water-based wood stain once a year. This will also help to keep your garden furniture looking pristine.
Rattan furniture is extremely attractive to have in the garden but it is also durable and lightweight. However, this is only the case for modern rattan constructed with additional, synthetic materials to make it more hardwearing. Natural rattan that has not been treated can weather badly and subsequently rot. The majority of rattan garden furniture is constructed using weatherproof rattan and boasts rust-resistant frames, allowing you to leave it outdoors year-round. To ensure longevity though, we would still recommend that you clean your furniture weekly and thoroughly once a year.
For real rattan (as opposed to resin weave), we recommend that you place small cushioned stoppers under each leg to prevent any splintering, cracking and damage.
Cleaning rattan weekly
You will need a soft cloth, small brush or tooth brush, a bowl, water and washing up liquid. Take your cloth, dip it into the bubbles (bubbles only as using the water can damage the rattan) and wash your furniture. To get into the crevices use a small brush or toothbrush and clean using the bubbles from the washing up liquid.
Cleaning rattan annually
You will need a paintbrush and lacquer, toothbrush or small brush, a bowl, water, washing up liquid and a hair dryer (optional). If you need to remove stains, scrub the rattan using the bubbles from your bowl of water and washing up liquid with a small brush or toothbrush. You can use a small amount of water from the bowl. Let your furniture dry; either using a hair dryer or leaving it outside in the sun, then apply lacquer with a paintbrush to provide additional protection.
If your rattan has become split, cracked or dry, you can restore it in a few simple steps. Apply boiled linseed oil with a brush until the rattan won’t absorb any more oil, then wipe the furniture clean with a soft cloth and allow it to dry or harden.
Metal and cast aluminium furniture
Some metal garden furniture ranges are powder-coated to ensure durability but this doesn’t guarantee that it won’t corrode over time. A little shower from time to time shouldn’t do much harm but furniture should be protected against any other severe weather. You should:
- Store furniture under cover during winter
- If the surface exposes the bare metal underneath or where the polyester coating is damaged, touch up the paintwork with car paint in a matching colour.
- Touch up any chips to the surface as well with a matching car or metal paint.
- Clean the metal regularly. Simply wiping down the metal with warm water and a cloth after use can make the world of difference to the finish in the long run. Just ensure that you dry it afterwards to minimise the risk of water damage.
- Buffing once a month can protect all furniture but particularly metal. Use a good wax or specialist grease to give the whole piece a good polish.
If you haven’t managed to catch rust in time, then use a rust primer to help contain the rust and prevent it from spreading. Once the primer has dried, you can easily just paint back over the affected area.
Regardless of the material they’re made from, furniture covers are a really good idea in order to protect your furniture out of season or during bad weather. You’ll find a range of covers for benches, chairs, table and chair sets, parasols and BBQs online and at your local garden centre.
These covers will completely shelter your furniture from the elements while also keeping pests away. We advise that you use these covers particularly in the autumn and winter, or if you are expecting really heavy rainfall.