Warm Weather is Here: Time to Refurbish Your Outdoor Furniture

Sunny days and seasonable temperatures have arrived! It's time to get back outside and take advantage of the pleasant weather by going to more auctions. Outdoor auctions can be pretty dreary on cold and rainy days. Not to mention that all the moisture might  negatively effect the goods you just fought other bidders tooth-and-nail for!

Refurbish Shutterstock/Victor I. Makhankov


The bloom of spring and the coming of summer gives you an opportunity to do some work outdoors. Temperate weather allows you to refurbish any items that might need to be touched up before resale, and to do it outside of your stuffy garage, workshop, or basement.  For those of you that aren't that handy and have some items that need touched up, here are some basics to get you started this season.

Use the instructions below to get started on making your outdoor furniture, or other items, ready for use this spring and summer! Increase its resale value with a few simple steps!


Outdoor wood furniture can require a lot of attention. Follow these steps to extend your furniture's life!

Shutterstock/Hannamariah Shutterstock/Hannamariah

"Redwood Care 
Redwood naturally resists weathering and rot. However it should be coated with a sealer to keep out moisture and thus retard cracks. Colored sealers restore redness to grayed redwood. Scrub with detergent and water, rinse, and dry thoroughly before sealing; sometimes sanding is also necessary.

In winter, cover and store in a sheltered area.

Wipe with a sudsy sponge, followed by a damp sponge.

Before storing, and when needed, scrub with detergent suds, rinse, and dry.

For grease and soot stains as from outdoor cooking, wash with solution of 1 cup trisodium phosphate in 1 gallon water, and rinse.

Reseal as needed.

Finished White Wood 
This is used for camp stools, directors chairs, parts of some metal frame chairs.

Seal completely with penetrating sealer for exterior use. May also coat with exterior varnish. If cracks develop in finish, refinish to prevent mildew from moisture getting in. Store indoors when not in use outdoors. Do not leave out in rain.

Wipe with damp cloth and dry, when soiled, and before storing. On painted wood, can wash with mild detergent solution, rinse, and dry.

Unfinished White Wood
Used for 'rustic' furniture, tables, benches, etc.

Treat with exterior penetrating stain containing wood preservative and mildew inhibitor. Soak bottom 4 inches of legs that touch ground in wood preservative, or shield with thin aluminum covering. Cover and store in sheltered area in winter.

Wash with detergent solution rinse and dry when soiled, and before storing" (Field, 2003).

Outdoor Metal Furniture

metalchair2 Shuttterstock/cdrin

"Remove general soil and grit with detergent and water. With steel wool, or sandpaper, or wire brush, remove all loose, peeled paint and rust. Wipe surface using cloth dampened with turpentine, or vinegar.

No paint will stick to a greasy or wet surface. First coat should be a "metal primer" or "rust retardant" type paint. Second coat can be of enamel or paint suitable for place item is to be used, usually outdoor enamel. When painted surface is completely dry (a couple days) apply protective finish as if item were new.

Even small chips or scratches should be touched up immediately with primer followed by matching paint to prevent rust forming" (Field, 2003).

Here are some instructions for those of you (like me) with plastic outdoor furniture that could use some attention.

Plastic Outdoor Furniture

"Most plastics can be washed with solution of mild detergent (hand dishwashing liquid) and water, rinsed, and can be wiped dry to prevent water spots if that is a problem. Never use strong alkalis on plastic. Never use scouring powders or other abrasives as plastics scratch easily.

Some new plastic furniture is finished with lacquered resins that protect the surface against ultraviolet rays, rain, and salt spray, with a special resin for plastic tabletops that gives touch ceramic-like finish. For others, waxes or special protective finishes for plastics will give extra protection.

Polyvinyl Chloride Frames and Tops
Not affected by weather, but mat finish on frames soils easily and should be cleaned when soiled. Easily scratched so do not use abrasives. Auto wax protects it.

Wash with mild detergent solutions and rinse

Polyvinyl Chloride Coated Polyester Mesh Fabric
Wash during the season when soiled with mild detergent (hand dishwashing liquid) solution and brush, and rinse. Wash before storage at end of season. Fabric sheds water and dries quickly.

Nylon Webbing Seats
Wash with mild detergent solution and brush and rinse when soiled, and again at end of season before storage.

Vinyl Strapping Seats
Protect from tanning lotions with large towel as some can stain. Never use abrasives or strong detergents.

Clean regularly as buildup of soil, oil, lotion can lead to fungus growth. Wash with mild detergent solution and brush, and rinse, when soiled, and before storage. Some may have mildew inhibitors" (Field, 2003).


With these easy tips you'll have great looking outdoor items in no time! Perfect for resale or your own enjoyment!


-Field, Anne. "Painting Metal Outdoor Furniture - Refurbishing." Painting Metal Outdoor Furniture - Refurbishing. Michigan State University Extension: Home Maintenance And Repair, 24 June 2003. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.

-Field, Anne. "Cleaning Plastic Outdoor Furniture." Cleaning Plastic Outdoor Furniture. Michigan State University Extension: Home Maintenance And Repair, 24 June 2003. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.

-Field, Anne. "Outdoor Wood Furniture--Care and Cleaning." Outdoor Wood Furniture--Care and Cleaning. Michigan State University Extension: Home Maintenance And Repair, 24 June 2003. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.

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