With Spring finally here, this is the perfect time of year to get your outdoor furniture, cushions, play equipment and bbq ready for spring and summer entertaining. If you’ve done a good job storing these items over the winter, you might not need to do too much work to get them ready. But even furniture that’s been covered up or kept in the garage might still need a bit of prep work. Here are some tips for getting your outdoor things ready.
Most outdoor furniture will last longer when covered up for the winter. Lower temperatures, ice, water or fall debris can slowly damage finishes, weaken joints or cause rust. No matter what material your outdoor furniture is made of, start by simply wiping down the surfaces so you can assess next steps. Teak or wood furniture usually does best with an annual application of teak oil. If wood furniture was sitting directly on top of wet ground, you may notice that the legs have become discolored. The legs might need additional sanding or oil application – be sure to elevate it next winter. Plastic furniture can easily become discolored from pollen, dirt or winter weather. If it’s been left uncovered all winter, you can try a little soap and water to remove dirt. Sap might require a product like WD-40, just use a little at a time to make sure it doesn’t affect the furniture. Some outdoor furniture can withstand the power of a pressure washer, which can quickly remove moss and dirt. But keep in mind that pressure washers can also damage certain types of materials so if you’re unsure, test a small patch on the underside of your furniture first.
Outdoor cushions and fabric
Ideally, outdoor cushions and fabric are stored inside over the fall and winter months. Leftover oil spills or food stains can attract bugs and dirt over the winter so it’s important to keep those cushions or outdoor fabrics in good shape before long-term storage. Too much humidity, dirt or debris can discolor or ruin outdoor fabrics. Really durable outdoor fabric can be wiped down with a dry cloth to remove cobwebs, loose dirt or other winter remnants. If the cushion covers can be removed from the insert, you may be able to wash them however be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions first. Some outdoor fabrics are treated on the surface, and this treatment may not do well with a regular cycle.
Grill or bbq
Like your other patio or porch furnishings, the grill or bbq should be stored under cover in the winter months, protected from damaging rain, ice or falling branches. To get it ready for the spring or summer, remove the cover and wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth, removing pollen, dirt or other debris. You’ll want to oil moving parts to make sure they are well lubricated. The grills or cooking surfaces should be cleaned according to the manufacturers instructions. Some grates can be cleaned with a bit of soap or water but others are prone to rust and may just need a dry rub or oil to clean the surface. Reconnect your propane tank or purchase fresh charcoal for the season. Your bbq and grilling tools were ideally stored inside during the winter. It’s a good idea to give them a thorough cleaning before using again.
Most of us keep the large, outdoor play equipment outside all season and generally these pieces are too big for a cover. Before your kids use it for the season it’s a good idea to inspect the equipment for bug or animal infestation. Remove cobwebs and wipe down all surfaces and check moving parts to make sure everything is in working condition. Wood may need to be lightly sanded to remove lichen or moss, and plastic might need to be cleaned with soap and water. If your outdoor play equipment utilizes sand or wood chips, this might be a great time of year to pick up a fresh supply.
Top image credit: Gelotte Hommas