How To: Look After Garden Furniture

Whether you’ve recently purchased some garden furniture or you’re looking to spruce up some furniture that’s been neglected in the garden for a few years – we’ve got some tips and tricks to help. Depending on the type of materials it’s made from will dictate how best to look after your furniture. In this guide, we will cover Wood, Metal and Rattan. Some things you may need for this task include a paintbrush, sandpaper, steel wool, wood preserver, sponge, bucket, pressure washer, metal paint, and anti-rust treatment.

How To: Look After Garden Furniture

Caring for Wooden Garden Furniture

Wood, being a natural material produces its own oils, however, you still need to give it some attention to make sure it stays in the best possible condition. Some general care will include using some hot, soapy water and a sponge to wipe over all the surfaces. You can oil or paint these surfaces after the wood has completely dried. If you have Teak furniture, it can be cleaned with a low-power pressure washer, but do not use this on any eucalyptus wood as it will damage the grain of the wood. 

Once clean, you can leave the wood to age naturally which creates a silver patina effect which can be quite attractive. If you would like to keep this effect, you can use clear hardwood oil on eucalyptus or teak oil on teak wood. Apply at least two coats whilst allowing 48 hours for the oil to dry.

Caring for Metal Garden Furniture

Metal furniture is generally the most resilient and durable, so it doesn’t need as much attention to maintain. In most cases, a bucket of hot, soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth will clean up any debris or dirt. You can also use a power washer on a low-pressure setting for this job – avoiding more delicate areas such as glass tops. 

Aluminium frames generally won’t suffer from rust but can be susceptible to aluminium oxidation. While this doesn’t affect its structural integrity, it will change the colour of the metal over time. So if you wish to keep the original colour of your aluminium-based furniture then make sure to clean it regularly and keep it stored away during the wet months. 

If you have steel furniture, you’ll need to make sure that any scratches that have exposed the bare metal underneath are treated to prevent a rust build-up. If rust has already appeared it can be removed using steel wool and then touched up using an exterior metal paint of the same colour.

How To: Look After Garden Furniture

Caring for Rattan Garden Furniture

Rattan furniture can either be synthetic or natural. Synthetic rattan is created to be both weather and UV resistant so won’t need much looking after. An occasional wipe-over with some soapy water if it gets dirty is all it will need. If the frame underneath is steel or aluminium simply follow the care instructions above. 

Natural rattan can weather badly and is susceptible to rotting. To remove stains from natural rattan use some bubbles from your bucket of soapy water and a small brush or toothbrush to clean the surfaces. Leave the furniture to dry out in the sun or use a hair dryer to speed up the process. You can then apply lacquer with a paintbrush to provide further protection. If it has become split or very dry it can be restored with boiled linseed oil. Apply it with a brush until the rattan can not absorb any more oil, then wipe it with a soft cloth and leave it to dry.

Protecting your Furniture

Regardless of the type of material that your furniture is made from, they will all benefit from using a furniture cover during the wet, cold winter months – or when any heavy prolonged rain is forecast. You can get covers for benches, chairs, parasols, and BBQs, as well as table and chair sets. These covers can be placed over your furniture and tied underneath to secure them from the elements and even garden pests.

Looking after your garden furniture needn’t be a chore – a little maintenance every year will go a long way in ensuring the longevity of your chairs, tables and more. Just don’t forget to store away any soft furnishings such as cushions after you have used them to prevent them from bleaching from the sun or becoming soggy in the rain. Pop in-store or contact our friendly team at Holt Garden Centre for more helpful advice about looking after your furniture.

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