Protecting Your Wicker Furniture in the Winter


As the fall gets chillier, many of us reluctantly realize it is time to prepare for the winter. People enjoy sitting outdoors on their wicker furniture throughout the spring, summer and fall. But when the threat of the first snow is near, you must protect your wicker furniture against the harshness of winter. Cold weather and freezing rain can be harmful to your favorite wicker pieces. Consider basic ways to protect your wicker furniture in the winter to prolong the life of chairs, tables and more. After all, you want enjoy using it again on the first warm days next spring. Learn about protecting your wicker furniture in the winter below.


Remove and Refresh the Cushions

Most people use decorative cushions on outdoor wicker chairs, sofas and sectionals. They make the furniture more comfortable and decorative but they tend to get dirty after months of outdoor use. Remove the cushions before you clean the outdoor furniture. Vacuum the cushions to suck up surface dirt and dust. Read the tags on your cushions to see if they can be laundered. Wash them separately in warm water and gentle detergent. If the cushions are stained and have a canvas or fabric cover, treat the stained areas before laundering them. Use a gallon of hot water with a half cup of disinfecting cleanser with a soft brush to scrub away mildew and stains. You can also bring the cushions to a dry cleaner.


Clean Up Wicker Furniture

Before you decide to cover or store wicker furniture for the winter, you need to clean it up. The process is simple when you have wicker furniture. Start by vacuuming the furniture to get rid of surface grime and dirt. Wicker furniture can be hosed down but it takes a longer time to dry. You can simply mix dish soap with warm water then wipe down the furniture with a soft rag. Use a toothbrush or other small brush to get into the crevices in the weaving of certain wicker pieces. Some wicker furniture has wood trim. Use a mixture of wood soap and warm water to clean the wooden areas. Make sure your outdoor furniture is completely dry before you store it. If moisture or dirt is left on your furniture, mold or mildew may form during the winter months. Mold spreads fast and can cause serious damage to your wicker furniture.


Protect Your Outdoor Wicker Furniture

Once the furniture is clean and dry, you can add a protective coating to keep it looking fresh for next spring. Use a rag to apply a thin coat of paste wax to your wicker outdoor furniture. Another way to clean and polish your wicker furniture is to rub it down with a rag drenched in lemon oil. The lemon oil is protective and gives your furniture a fresh smell. The lemon also helps combat mold and mildew during the long, wet months of winter. You can further extend the life of your wicker furniture by brushing it with a coat of polyurethane or varnish every few years.


Protect Wicker Furniture with Wood Trim

If your outdoor wicker furniture has wood trim, apply a protective sealant to the wooden sections. This seals the wood against the moisture during the winter months. Moisture can make wood freeze and crack in the cold weather. Even if you use a cover, it is important to apply a protective coat to your outdoor furniture to guard it against the elements.


Protect Metal Frames

Certain wicker furniture has a metal frame. Proper maintenance can help prevent the metal components from corroding over time. Metal can rust quickly in the freezing rain and snow. This weakens and compromises the strength of the metal. Galvanized metal stands up best to the outdoor elements but can still breakdown over time. It is best to store furniture with metal framing in an indoor environment. Metal framing can also be protected by applying outdoor furniture protector. The protector is applied right to the metal frame using a paint brush. Always use this protector in a well-ventilated space and wear rubber gloves with a mask.


Covering Your Outdoor Furniture

Some people have limited living space with no room to store outdoor furniture. They might need to store the furniture outside. Use well-fitted wicker furniture covers to protect your wicker furniture during the winter. Take measurements of each piece of furniture to avoid guesswork. Use the measurements to get the perfect fit. Certain wicker furniture makers provide customized covers for their collections. You might also need to have the cover custom-made to fit your furniture. The right fit keeps moisture and other elements off your wicker furniture. Good wicker furniture covers should:

  • fit each piece snugly to keep the harshness of winter weather off your wicker furnishings;
  • be constructed of heavy-duty fabric to stand up to the weather, leaves, animals and other outdoor elements;
  • be water-repellent to protect your wicker pieces against moisture damage from the snow and rain and reduce the possibility of cracking;
  • have built-in venting so air circulates to avoid the growth of mold and mildew; and
  • be durable with drawstring ties or elastic hems and reinforced seams to keep the covers securely in place on windy winter days.


Storing Wicker Furniture

It is best to bring your wicker furniture indoors during the winter. Wicker furniture should be stored in a dry place that is not directly exposed to the sun and cold. Suitable storage areas can include a garage, shed, basement or attic. Wicker furniture is typically lightweight so it is easy to move into a storage space. If you have heavier pieces with wood or metal trim, enlist the assistance of someone else to help you move the furniture. Wicker furniture should still be covered, even when you store it indoors. This protects the furniture against dust, mildew and temperature fluctuations. Never stack the furniture as this can cause it to crack or break during the long winter months.

It only takes a couple of hours to properly protect your wicker furniture in the winter. The effort is well worth it when warm and sunny days return next spring.