Under Cover: Proper Care Keeps Your Outdoor Furniture as Good as New

The outdoor entertaining season extends into crisp fall evenings, yet it’s during this time that you should to start prepping your outdoor furniture for colder weather. Winterizing is easy to do and will keep your patio furnishings beautiful for the long term by protecting them from rain, sleet, snow, and winter sun.

When you’re ready to winterize, you have a few choices. If you have extra room in a basement, enclosed garage, or shed, you can stow furniture indoors. If storage space is at a premium, high-quality outdoor furniture covers are a viable and simple solution. Plus, covers are convenient to use throughout the year during storms or while on vacation. Covers protect from the elements, as well as keep off dust, dirt, leaves, animals, and other debris.

It’s important to properly clean your furniture before storing or covering it. Vacuum or shake off outdoor cushions, spot clean with mild detergent, and let them air-dry thoroughly before storing indoors or in a watertight cushion keeper for winter. Brush loose dirt from tables and chairs, then wash with mild soapy water, if needed (refer to the furniture care instructions below). Once dry, move to storage or affix the covers, and you’re finished for the season.

If you choose to use covers, you’ll want to take detailed measurements of each piece of furniture to ensure proper fit. Purveyors of better outdoor furnishings typically offer covers that are custom-tailored for each of their collections, which eliminates any guesswork. Regardless, a well-made cover should be made of heavy-duty, water-repellant fabric that protects against moisture damage from rain and snow, and resists cracking in extreme temperatures. You’ll want to be sure it has built-in venting that allows air to circulate to prevent mold and mildew growth. Reinforced seams ensure durability, and drawstring ties and/or an elastic hem should securely hold covers in place even on the most blustery days.