A Three Step Guide For Protecting Outdoor Furniture

Homeowners are bringing the indoors out and increasingly creating living rooms, outdoor. Part and parcel of creating one of these outdoor rooms is using outdoor furniture that mimics all the details and virtues of any piece of furniture inside a home. As these pieces can be a sizable investment, many homeowners are looking for ways of protecting outdoor furniture and maintaining their original finishes. The following are some helpful tips that can be used for protecting outdoor furniture and ensure they remain looking new for years to come.

1. Invest in Quality

As a preventative measure, seek to purchase better quality outdoor furniture made with weatherproof and UV resistant fabrics. These pieces look and feel like many couches or settees one might use in a home, but are designed to last longer outdoors. When searching for outdoor furniture, consider investing in pieces that leverage the kinds of materials that can stand up to moisture and UV rays. Higher quality furniture is usually pre-coated with natural sealants capable of protecting against mildews, UV damage, and rust.

When shopping for quality outdoor fabrics, the best colorfast technology is solution dyed acrylics. This is what is used by Sunbrella and other fine outdoor fabric manufacturers from Europe. These fabrics are water resistant. For waterproof performance, you will have to look at coated fabrics which are typically made from polyester or PVC. The better quality outdoor fabrics (water-resistant or waterproof) usually come with 10 year no fade warranties.

2. Cover Your Outdoor Room

Maintaining a healthy amount of shade over an outdoor living area is critical not only for your furniture’s well-being, but for your own comfort as well. Shade structures such as pergolas create an enclosed space and enable the addition of fans, televisions, and other accessories desired to create an outdoor living room. Installing a retractable canopy to an overhead structure gives you the ability to choose how much sun or shade you want on a sunny day. Additionally, retractable canopies also protect your outdoor living room and its accessories from rain on a wet day.

3. Running Maintenance

Regularly running a bit of maintenance on all of your outdoor furniture’s structural materials will protect outdoor furniture and maintain a new look.

For reference, a mild soap solution consists of a gallon of water and 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid. Always use a sponge or a soft bristled brush, followed by a lint-free cloth to dry. Make sure to read all the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to prevent using products that may damage the furniture or void their warranty.


Although wood can naturally withstand the elements, using a protective sealant will preserve the color (which may turn grey if left untreated), protect from moisture and uv damage, and prevent signs of wear and tear.

For maintenance, wood pieces should be sanded down gently each year and then refinished with a light coat of UV resistant varnish. If the wood is subject to stains and/or mildew, scrub the area with a mix containing one gallon of hot water and powdered oxygen bleach.

Aluminum and Other Metals

Aluminum and other metals such as iron and steel are subject to rust, so they are usually finished with powder coats, varnish, or paint.

Wipe down metal furniture with a mild soap solution and apply an auto wax with a lint free cloth to maintain a shiny new look. For stains, rust, and mold, sand the area with fine-grit sandpaper and apply varnish or touch-up paint in multiple thin layers (allowing each coat to dry before next application).


The sun’s UV rays cause the most damage to wicker furniture. As a preventative measure, always cover wicker with a furniture cover if it is going to be left outside for more than two weeks.

When using a mild soap solution to clean wicker, avoid using too much water as it can weaken the fibers. It is recommended that you scrub very gently to prevent damage to the wicker, which also means more frequent cleaning is required to prevent heavier stains or mildew buildup.


As mentioned above, the best outdoor fabrics already contain the proper technology to resist moisture, mildew, and sun damage. For cleaning instructions on tougher stains, please refer to Sunbrella’s outdoor fabric cleaning guides:

Don’t let your investment in your outdoor space go to waste. Some basic steps can keep your outdoor furniture looking new and ensure that your outdoor living space retains its beauty and comfort in the long term. Got any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’re considering covering your outdoor living room, please contact us to see what’s possible.