Strange as it may sound, furniture care in fact begins before you choose which piece to buy. By considering how a garden side table or teak bench can be cared for, even before you make your purchase, you will give it the best chance of a long and happy life. For example, if you know you won’t have the patience to primp and preen your patio furniture then you might be best off with a very low-maintenance piece. However, if you have the time and the knack for a bit of light sanding and varnishing then you can confidently opt for a set which may require just a little more care.
We decided to put together this guide, not only to help you consider your options before you buy, but also to give you some tips on the best ways to care for the furniture you already own, as well as how to store it (where necessary) over the colder months. All of that said, none of our garden furniture is high maintenance at all, and as it is designed and made to be durable, it does tend to withstand the variable British weather pretty well indeed.
Getting started: To prevent damage during assembly, use the carton box as a floor cover. This helps to avoid any scratching of your new furniture and avoid any marks on your laminate or wooden flooring.
Do your homework: Always read the assembly instructions carefully, making particular note of any elements that need to be part assembled first. For example, sometimes screws and bolts need to be tightened to only 80%, then, when the remainder of the assembly is completed, all the screws and bolts can be tightened together.
General Maintenance Tips
Tip 1: If your furniture is made of "knock down" construction - meaning it needs assembly - by tightening the assembly bolts and screws periodically you will keep the construction tight. Sometimes allowing bolts to loosen exacerbates wear and tear.
Tip 2: If you plan to leave your furniture outside during cold or very wet weather it is certainly worthwhile using covers which will help prolong its life and mean less cleaning and maintenance is required. Always remove cushions from any garden furniture and store inside.
Tip 3: You’ll see we recommend using a soft-bristled plastic brush to clean some of the materials (never use a wire brush). Why not save old toothbrushes – they are the perfect size to get into difficult to reach nooks and crannies!
Artifical Rattan Furniture: Again, super simple – just clean the frame and the rattan with soapy water and a cloth and rinse. Regular cleaning will help keep it looking new and small corners or hard-to-reach areas can be cleaned gently with a soft plastic bristle brush.
Natural Rattan Furniture: This can be cleaned with soapy water and a cloth, but make sure the cloth is only damp rather than sodden. A wet cloth will add too much water – this will be absorbed but will later escape, causing the rattan to crack. For this reason, it is also worth covering or storing the furniture inside at the end of the summer season to keep damp at bay.
If the furniture's frame is aluminium, a non-hazing automotive paste wax can be used to maintain the surface - for best results, apply at the begining and end of each season. When it is cold and wet, storing hollow aluminium upside-down could cause water to freeze in the frame which may result in damage, so keep it upright.
When exposed to the sun, you may notice that the teak turns silver-grey, however this is totally natural and the wood’s physical integrity is unaltered. When needed, you can clean the wood using a soft plastic bristled brush and soapy water. For more ingrained marks, sand very lightly. This will reveal the natural teak colour, but it won’t be long before it once again boasts its silvery weathered hue.
If you would like to bring back the natural colour of the wood, wash it down with soapy water, allow it to dry, lightly sand and then apply a clear oil. You can use either linseed oil or plain clear teak sealer oil, both of which are available at most hardware stores.
Teak is a beautiful and very hardy material with natural oils that prevent wood rot so there is no need to treat it. If however, you would like to keep its natural colour from the start you can treat with a teak sealer when it is new. First remove any dust from the furniture with a damp cloth, allow to dry, and apply the sealer as per the instructions on the tin. To maintain the colour, repeat yearly.
Outdoor furniture made from hardwoods such as Keruing, Eucalyptus and Acacia woods can be looked after in much the same way as teak, however they don't have wood rot preventative oils so they can degrade over time.
To maintain and preserve the wood, simply sand down and re-oil each year. If you plan to keep your furniture outside during the Autumn and Winter, why not take advantage of this beautiful weather and spend a little time doing this now so that your furniture will be protected over the cold, wet months.
When required, just clean with soapy water, rinse and allow to air-dry or wipe with a lint free cloth. A soft-bristled plastic brush can also be used for tricky areas.
Bring inside during bad weather or keep covered.
Very simple - soapy water, a cloth and a soft brush are all you need!