Outdoor seating areas are a pleasure to have. They’re excellent for entertaining guests and relaxing with your family and friends. The only issue people have with them is that it takes work to keep these areas picture-perfect. The gorgeous Pinterest photos don’t show the debris or the deterioration of some parts of the furniture. If you want an outdoor living space, you need to work on maintaining your furniture.

But first things first.

Invest in Outdoor Furniture

Make things easier from the get-go by buying furniture built to endure the outdoors. These are made from durable and weather-resistant materials like steel, treated wood, plastic, and tempered glass. For upholstery and fabrics, synthetic fibers like acrylic, cotton blends, and polyester are ideal because they are chemically treated to be stain and water-resistant.

Sometimes, however, there are furniture and accessory pieces (e.g., beanbags, pillows, quilted throws) that are not made for outdoor use but offer more in terms of aesthetics and comfort. You’re free to use them if you like, but you need to invest time, effort, and materials into keeping them in good shape.

Here are some tips on how to care for your outdoor furniture.

  1. Use furniture covers.

Find appropriate covers for large furniture, especially those with upholstery. Get a cover for the couch, chaise lounge, ottoman, and table. Patio furniture covers are available in a variety of materials such as canvas, marine vinyl, and leather. These are water-resistant, durable, and will protect your furniture from discoloration and damage from rain, strong winds, debris, and oxidation. Although most patio covers are more practical than aesthetic, you can find some that are designed to stay on the furniture all day (i.e., they have tasteful colors and designs, and are custom-fitted to your furniture).

outdoor grill

  1. Dust and clean regularly.

You face a daily battle against dirt and dust when you live in a desert city like Scottsdale in Arizona, Albuquerque in New Mexico, or Palm Springs in California. They get into the tiniest crevices of handcrafted furniture. It doesn’t matter if your carved bench is out on the patio or by the sliding doors: dirt will find it at the end of each day.

Find the time to dust off your furniture, seat padding, pillows, and throws every day as well. Accumulated dirt can abrade the fabrics and smooth surfaces of your furniture, causing them to look worn out sooner than expected.

Lightly sweep or beat the dirt off the upholstery, and use a soft, dry cloth to loosen the fine dust that clings on the surfaces and crevices. When using a moist cloth, make sure to dry the surfaces thoroughly before putting the furniture covers in place. You might also have to use different cleaning tools, depending on the type of furniture you have:

  • Soft-bristled brush for wicker
  • Cloth or soft scrub for aluminum

Use cleaning products like cleaning liquid for wood, glass, and metal, too, once or twice a week. These products can remove dirt more thoroughly and add a layer of protection against discoloration, rust, scratches, and other damage.

  1. Remove mold immediately.

Mold and mildew thrive in humid environments, which can happen in desert cities when the monsoon season rolls in. Mold often grows on the furniture itself, not on the cushions or pillows, so frequently check the legs of your patio furniture during the rainy season. Look for faint, white fuzz or gray spots (they often appear on wood), and lightly brush them off right away. You can use diluted bleach or a lemon juice-and-salt mixture to kill off the growth.

  1. Install a patio umbrella or overhead roof

We get it: all of the tips above can be too much to handle when you live alone, and you have other chores and work to do all day. So if your budget allows it, invest in a patio roof or reinforced umbrella to keep direct sunlight and rain off of your furniture.

These tips can help you enjoy your patio furniture to the fullest. Take care of your outdoor furniture so that your patio or yard will be a comfortable, safe, and welcoming space for you and your family.