Garden Furniture Care – Maintenance & Upkeep

Good garden furniture care will help to preserve and keep much-loved outdoor furniture in great condition for many years. And there are a few simple but effective ways to do this.  

As garden furniture is often kept outside throughout the entire year, constant exposure to the elements will naturally affect the furniture lifespan and appearance. So regular upkeep is essential from low level every day care to twice yearly more comprehensive maintenance. Here are a few tips on how to keep Chris Bose garden furniture looking good all year round.

Firstly all outdoor furniture will benefit from being cleaned and serviced at least twice a year. And spring and autumn are usually the best times to do this. Dirt and debris build up over summer and winter months that compromise the health look and feel of the furniture. 

When furniture is in full use during the warmer months make sure you clean up food and drink spillages as soon as they happen. Stains from coffee, red wine and greasy foods can leave unsightly marks that can be hard to remove. Wash down surfaces regularly to keep clear of food and other debris from trees, dust and mass made by birds.

garden furniture care

Cleaning painted metal furniture

When cleaning our painted metal furniture we recommend using a soft cloth with warm mild detergent solution such as washing up liquid. This should be sufficient to remove any dirt or mildew.

  • Take care to clean all parts of the furniture not just that which is visible. Green mildew often forms on the underside of chairs and tables where dark damp areas take longer to dry out. To do this gently tip over and rest each piece of furniture on its side.
  • Avoid using harsh detergents and abrasive cleaning equipment as this may damage the paint finish and really shouldn’t be necessary. We use the best quality paint on all our furniture which means cleaning should be a simple process.
  • . When the furniture is clean simply buff up with a dry cloth.
garden furniture care

Metal finishes and stainless steel

Before cleaning any metal surface, gently hose off the top layer of dirt. Take care there is no grit left on the surface that may scratch and mark. Then clean in much the same way as cleaning our painted furniture. We recommend washing metal finishes down using a soft cloth. And mix a gentle solution of warm mild detergent such as washing up liquid. If done regularly this should be sufficient.

Polished Stainless Steel

  • After cleaning dry the surface and buff with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
  • For more stubborn stains mix a solution of 25% white vinegar and 75% water. Use a soft cloth to gently work the solution into the affected area. Then rinse with clean water and buff after with a soft dry cloth.
  • An optional extra is to apply a very thin layer of mineral oil after buffing. This will help prevent water spots forming.
  • Don’t use any abrasive cleaners as this will damage the polished finish.
garden furniture care

Applied Metal Finish

We usually pre-seal our applied metal finishes of bronze, brass, copper or verdigris in our workshop. So the washing process using of water and soap solution should be the only necessary cleaning.

But if our applied metal finish has been specifically left unsealed to patina naturally. There are a couple of options that can help keep this finish fresh.

  • After the initial wet cleaning and when the metal finish is completely dry. Apply a layer of restoration wax to enhance and protect the natural patina. The wax can be easily removed in the future by cleaning but does add a layer of protection.
  • Alternatively to obtain a brighter look. Very gently in circular movements buff the metal finish using the finest grade of wire wool. But take very special care not to rub too hard. Especially on the edges where the finish is more susceptible to damage. When the process is complete and looking visually pleasing the metal can then be sealed with restoration wax. Caution; never use abrasive sand paper for this process as the metal veneer will be damaged as a result and may become patchy. If in any doubt contact our office for advice.

Remove restoration wax by cleaning with white spirit after which wash down with soapy water.

garden furniture care

Cleaning wood

Of course where wood is concerned we expect some aging to occur and that is part of the natural beauty of wood. But keeping the aging process in check and to a manageable level is a key part of garden furniture care.

When cleaning wood we take a similar approach as before. Clean using a warm mild detergent solution such as washing up liquid. But do this using a bristle brush instead of a cloth. Hose down the wood beforehand as it will help to loosen the ground in dirt and grime. Brush along the grain of the wood not across it. You can be reasonably firm with this. For more stubborn stains try using a solution of vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and hot water.

Once cleaning is complete, hose down and allow the wood to dry out completely before sanding back. Use a fine to medium grit paper in the direction of the wood grain.

Preserving wood

So when the wood is clean dry and sanded, decide which form of protection you would prefer. All hardwoods contain natural oils so have a degree of longevity without treatment. If you like the patina of aging wood, then it’s perfectly ok should you wish to leave the surface untreated. Different wood types develop different patinas if left untreated and exposed to light and the elements. Teak will develop a silver patina, sapele will develop a darker brown patina and oak will blacken over time.

However for extra protection and to return the wood to its original colour we would suggest applying furniture oil. Teak oil, Danish oil or Tung oil are the most popular and bring out the individual character of the wood. And we would recommended that once chosen, continuing with the same type of oil year after year. Always follow the product application instructions carefully.

A final option is to apply lacquer, varnish or sealer to the sanded surface. But as outdoor wooden furniture naturally contracts and expands as a result of changing weather conditions. These finishes can be prone to cracking. Ultimately it comes down to personal taste.

Garden furniture care – protective covers

Finally if you want to minimise weathering damage especially during the winter months then invest in a waterproof cover. This will protect from harsh mucky conditions and help to keep maintenance to a minimum. And where possible move furniture off grassed areas onto drier paved or shingle.