9 Tips for Maintaining Metal Outdoor Furniture

February 24, 2021

Even with proper storage, outdoor furniture can take a beating. But, with proper care and some maintenance, you can make sure your outdoor furniture lasts for a long time and looks great, even if it is metal. Here are some tips for maintaining metal outdoor furniture:

1. Invest in Good Furniture Covers

A good furniture cover will protect your outdoor metal furniture from scratches and other types of harm during a storm or when it is stored. If you need something general, they’re easy to find at any home improvement or retail store. You can also find exact fits for specific furniture lines, but may need to consult the manufacturer for recommendations if they are not standard sizes.

Although you may be tempted to use a plastic tablecloth to protect metal furniture, it’s important to avoid doing so. Plastic traps heat, water, and humidity, which can all damage the finish of the furniture, especially over a prolonged period of time. It’s best to invest in a protective and breathable furniture cover to help prevent mold and damage from moisture.

2. Know the Basics of Metal Furniture

Metal can definitely last a lifetime if you know how to properly take care of it. This is the reason why it’s considered one of the most suitable and durable types of material when choosing outdoor furniture. Plus, outdoor furniture can be a creative way to incorporate wrought iron into your custom home design.

Most outdoor fixtures made of metal are finished with varnish, paint, and powder coating to protect the product from rusting. While aluminum-based furniture does not rust, which is why it is common in beaches and resorts, it does oxidize. And, when it does, the finish becomes dull.

3. Read the Owner’s Manual

When you obtain your metal outdoor furniture and before you clean it, it’s a good idea to read the owner’s manual. Unless you’ve purchased vintage items or inherited furniture, most furniture will come with a manual that includes the proper way of cleaning it and also the best way to maintain it. This will also give you a good idea of anything cleaners to avoid using.

4. Start by Gently Sweeping Surfaces

Always start the cleaning process by lightly sweeping surfaces with a soft cloth or soft brush. This removes debris, dust, and surface dirt. Do this as many times as you need to and then check if your furniture needs more cleaning.

5. Choose the Right Cleaning Products

Your owner’s manual will be able to provide a list of approved cleaners and cleaners to avoid for your outdoor metal furniture. As a general rule when choosing the right cleaning products, always opt for non-detergent types of cleaners like dish soaps or other mild cleaning products.

Doing this will give you peace of mind as you will know these products won’t harm your furniture. Plus, they won’t harm the environment or your landscaping either. If the stain is tougher to clean, you can use a mixture of water and white vinegar to remove it, a non-abrasive multi-purpose cleaner, or window cleaners.

Strong cleaners and scrubbers should be avoided as these can scratch the finish used in the furniture. This leaves the metal exposed and can increase the chance of getting it ruined by rust. Once you have finished cleaning, you can wipe the furniture dry.

6. Wash Off Sunscreen or Bird Droppings Immediately

Sunscreens and bird droppings can seriously damage your furniture and lead to corrosion as well as permanent stains. Because of this, it’s important to wash these substances off of your metal outdoor furniture immediately.

7. Check for Rust or Scratches

Another one of the tips for maintaining metal outdoor furniture is to check for rust or scratches. When you’re in the process of cleaning a piece of metal furniture, you need to look for signs of rust or even simple scratches, especially in the “joints”. If you find scratches, no matter how big or small, apply a considerable amount of touch-up paint to prevent the metal from rusting.

In more severe cases, like furniture with mold or rust, you will want to sand that specific area lightly with the use of fine-grit sandpaper. After that, you can apply a rust-proof type of touch-up paint. If you can’t find a paint that’s the same color as your fixture, you can ask the manufacturer of the product. They will normally carry that as well, or will be able to direct you to where you can find it.

For aluminum-based metal furniture for your garden, you can remove oxidation by using a solution of equal parts of water and white vinegar. Beware of using alkaline cleaners as they are most likely to cause oxidation.

8. Tilt Tables and Chairs to Avoid Pooling Water When Not in Use

If spending time outside is still in season and your furniture has not been stored in the winter, you can tilt the tables and chairs when they are not in use to avoid pooling water. If water is allowed to collect, pool, and sit, it can damage your furniture. You can tilt tables by the wedges and lean the backrests of chairs against them to prevent pooling water.

9. Store Your Furniture in the Winter

Even the best furniture cover can’t help you against harsh winter weather. Because of this, it’s essential to store your outdoor metal furniture in a basement, garage, storage shed, etc. where it will not be exposed to the weather.

These are just a few tips for maintaining metal outdoor furniture and to help protect your patio furniture from seasonal damage. By taking care of it, you can make sure it stays looking great and working well for you season after season.