It’s time to dust off that garden furniture

garden furnitureAccording to NASA April was the warmest April on record across the globe and whilst that hasn’t meant scorching temperatures for us, we have had a few sunny days. Hopefully there are plenty more to come, so if you weren’t tempted to rush into action and get your garden furniture out of it’s winter storage during those few warm days, it’s probably time to think about it now.

For those of you who were super efficient and cleaned and stored everything away at the end of the last summer season, it’ll be an easy job. Get the furniture out of the shed, garage or storage unit or from under the covers, give it a quick wipe down and you’re ready to go.

But realistically, how many of us do that? We all hung on for that last BBQ. You know the one where it starts off warm but then gets too cold as the evening goes on and everyone goes inside. You promise yourself that first thing in the morning, you’ll go outside and clean off the BBQ and wipe down the table and chairs. But tomorrow comes and it’s raining so it waits another day, and another, and another as the weather quickly changes from summer to Autumn. Before you know it, it’s almost winter and you haven’t used the garden furniture or BBQ for weeks. It’s too cold or wet to clean it all now, so it just gets stacked or put away as it is.

Here are our tips to help get everything out of it’s winter storage and make it spick and span for summer.

 
Furniture
For most furniture a good wash with warm soapy water will do the job. Make sure you wipe everything down afterwards. In addition:

  • Metal furniture– You may find the odd rust spot. Remove using a wire brush or steel wool and wipe with a cloth. You’ll need to repaint to avoid further damage.
  • Wooden furniture – You may need a quick rub down with sandpaper before you re-stain or oil
  • Rattan (and synthetic rattan look) – Use a toothbrush or soft bristled brush to get into the crevices. If real rattan, don’t soak the furniture with water, just use the soap suds off the top to wipe over the furniture
  • Plastic – This furniture is pretty hardy, but plastic can become brittle with time. Check for splits in the backs and seat struts. A pinch can be pretty painful!

No-one wants to take their furniture in and out storage every time it’s used, but let’s face it, the British weather doesn’t provide us with the long hot summers we see overseas, so some care needs to be taken. If you’re leaving your furniture outside all summer

  • Remember to take cushions indoors or put them into a plastic/waterproof container
  • Consider getting some furniture covers which keep your furniture clean while it’s outside. Make sure they’re the right size – you don’t want the wind getting underneath them and tearing them off
  • Some furniture materials like rattan, may look beautiful, but they are not really made with the British weather in mind and may well need to be brought indoors in the bad weather.

BBQs
If you didn’t do a good clean at the end of last season, you’ll need one now. There’s no option but to use soap, water and a lot of elbow grease.

  • Gas BBQs – First and foremost check you gas hoses to make sure there are no splits or cracks. Now you can move on to the cleaning. Take out any removable parts like grill racks and give them a good scrub. Then clean the inside and outside of the main BBQ. Take care not to damage or block the gas jets. Empty and clean the grease tray. Put everything back together and light the BBQ to test that everything is working. 
  • Charcoal BBQs – Remove the grill tray and give it a good scrub. Empty the main BBQ of last year’s leftover charcoal and wash the inside with soap and water. Re-assemble everything and you’re ready to go!

No-one wants to stop enjoying their afternoon or evening to clean the BBQ, so a quick scrape with the BBQ brush to clean off bits of food whenever you’ve finished cooking and while the BBQ is still warm is a good habit to get in to.

Garden equipment
Hopefully your general garden tools were all cleaned up before they were put away. If not, they’ll need a good clean up with soap and water. For more stubborn residues a wire bristle brush may be needed. Rub down wooden handles and sharpen blades where necessary. When it comes to lawn mowers (or similar) you need to be careful. Make sure nothing is plugged in while you’re cleaning it. Scrape old grass cuttings or dirt from the underneath. Petrol mowers may need some lubrication. Unless you are an expert in this area, it may well be safer to get your mower serviced by a specialist.

Now everything is clean, you can relax and enjoy your summer in the garden!

When the end of the season arrives if you want to keep everything in top condition, a second deep clean before thinking about winter storage will extend its life. If you don’t have the space to store everything away and so think it’s not worth doing that deep clean, why not consider a small self storage unit? For a small cost, you can be sure that your furniture and tools will be kept clean, damp free and secure until next season.

Main Image: Kate Tandy