Whether you live in Bangor, Brewer, or Ellsworth, Maine when it comes to your metal patio furniture the extreme Maine weather can wreak havoc on it. Storing it outside will shorten the life of your furniture exposing it to extreme cold and being ice caked for months on end will compromise the integrity of the metal. Self storage is a great option to protect your metal patio furniture when the garage, basement or leaky shed out back are no longer viable places for storage. To properly store your metal patio furniture will require a little prep work depending on the type of metal used for your furniture. Proper cleaning and repair are your best weapons for maintaining the new look of your furniture.
General Metal Cleaning Tips:
First let’s address mold and mildew on your metal furniture. On most metal surfaces mold and mildew are easily removed with a good washing using a solution of warm soapy water. Have you ever noticed that mold and mildew can stain your furniture? To remove this stain is easier than you might expect. Mix a solution of water and white vinegar in a 50/50 mixture. Simply spray the solution onto the affected surfaces. Let this sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing with clear water. Towel dry the surface and allow it to thoroughly air dry before storage. Moisture is needed for mold and mildew to thrive. White vinegar is the best cleaning solution to kill mold and mildew spores because the PH level is typically 2.5 which is extremely acidic. While mold and mildew need a slightly acidic environment to grow, white vinegar’s extremely acidic formula is perfect for killing mold and mildew.
Most metal surfaces are easily cleaned, first wash away any large debris with a hose. Use soapy water to thoroughly clean all metal surfaces. Rinse the soap from the metal and dry with a soft cloth, microfiber cloths are great for drying metal furniture. Avoid using anything abrasive as this will scratch and damage your metal furniture. Some metals require special care see those below:
Aluminum Coated Furniture Cleaning Tips:
On aluminum coated furniture use non abrasive liquid cleaners. Remove scuffs by gently rubbing the area with a soft cloth covered with the cleaner and warm water. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth. If the powder coating is glossy you can apply a light coating of baby oil or a car wax to maintain the finish.
Stainless Steel Furniture Cleaning Tips:
Stainless steel requires a different approach especially with grease or smudges. These are easily cleaned with white vinegar on a damp cloth, once gone rinse and dry with a clean soft cloth to restore the stainless steel shine. Rust and corrosion are combated with a paste of baking powder and water. Scrub the mixture onto the affected area, in the direction of the grain of the finish, using a soft bristled brush, rinse with clean water and wipe off excess water and allow it to air dry. Water marks from hard water are easily removed with a cleaning followed with a good wipe down to remove excess water and allow it to air dry. Hard water hazing aka the white film can be cleaned with a mixture of 1:4 of distilled white vinegar and water. On galvanized steel use a mixture of 50/50 of distilled white vinegar and water to remove the white haze.
Wrought Iron Furniture Cleaning Tips:
Wrought iron can be the trickiest of all to clean due to the often ornate designs. Vacuum with a small brush attachment to remove dust and dirt. Use soapy water and a soft bristled brush to clean, a toothbrush can be used for small crevices in the intricate designs. Rinse well and wipe dry with a soft cloth. If there is damage to the finish follow these instructions to repair. Scrap to remove large flakes of finish, use a wire brush to remove small flakes and rust areas. Sandpaper any remaining rust off and smooth the rough spots in the finish for a sleek finished product. Clean thoroughly using the method above, allow it to dry. Use a rust proof primer to cover the exposed iron, followed with a few light coats of enamel paint. Once dry polish with a paste car wax and buff to a shine. Storage tip: Make sure your metal furniture and appliances are thoroughly clean and dry before storage to prevent mold, mildew or rust.
After properly cleaning your metal patio furniture it’s now time to store it. Typically your cushions should be cleaned and thoroughly dried before storing (see here for cushion cleaning). Stack your metal chairs if possible, protect any surfaces that can be scratched with plastic furniture wrap or an old blanket. Make sure where you store your furniture is dry as moisture will cause rust. Look into self storage as a great alternative to on site storage in your basement or garage. Cleaning before storage has a dual purpose, it prevents rust, mold and mildew during storage. Then next Spring you will be able to enjoy your metal patio furniture as soon as the first nice day arrives!