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We are so lucky to live in the land of eternal sunshine here in San Diego. With such great weather in America’s Finest City, it is likely that you enjoy your backyard and your patio furniture year round. Follow these four simple tips to keep your patio furniture in summer party condition.

1. Clean – It’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s tags for directions on how to clean your furniture, but usually a mild dish soap and water will do the trick. Cushion covers can also be spot-cleaned with a mild soap and water solution, as well. Check the tags for washing instructions. A gentle cycle or hand washing is better for most fabrics.

2. Protect – Wood furniture needs TLC in the form of oil or varnish. Wax any wicker that is not water-resistant. Paint touch-ups will help keep metal frames rust-resistant. Store your cushions indoors overnight and when not in use. Ideally, it is best to use weather-proof covers, or tarps to protect your furniture. In the least, stack and store in the shade when not in use. Don’t forget to cover up fire pits and chimeneas. The metals burners and grates also need to be protected.

3. Umbrellas – If your patio set includes and umbrella, you can keep it in good working condition with very little effort. Use a spray lubricant or oil to maintain working frame joints. And for the umbrella cover, keep it clean with the same mild, soapy solution you used for cushion covers. Just make sure it is dry before you fold up and put away.

4. Store – If you throw your last BBQ party on Labor Day and retire your hosting duties until May, then make sure you clean your furniture and any cushions once more before you put them in storage. All furniture and fabric should be 100% dry to prevent the growth of mildew.

Outdoor furniture is a big investment. Proper care can extend the life of your furniture and help you comfortably entertain friends, family and guests outdoors. If you’ve provided your furniture with good care, and you see problems beyond “wear and tear,” check your warranty for the possibility of replacements. Don’t make the mistake of throwing away furniture when a few minor repairs or one replaced part will do. It makes sense to put in a bit of effort to protect and maintain all that  you have in your yard.

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