The last warm days of autumn are here and it is time to start preparing your patio furniture and yard for the winter. Even if you are fortunate enough to live in a place where you can enjoy your patio year round, the change of seasons, even if it just means that everything is pumpkin flavored, is a great reminder to clean and treat your outdoor furniture.

Most patio furniture is made out of one of three materials and each requires unique care.

Teak is one of the most beautiful and popular materials for patio furniture. Teak is extremely durable and resistant to rotting, and with proper care can remain outdoors through all weathers rain, shine, or snow. Teak is also known for weathering to a silvery-gray tone over a period of nine months or so. If you prefer the golden brown of teak, you can prevent weathering with light sanding then the application of a teak cleaner and protectant. For regular cleaning, a light hose does the job in most instances and light sanding can remove stains. While teak furniture can stay outdoors year round, to lengthen the life of your patio furniture you should invest in high quality furniture covers during harsh winter weather. Alternatively, if you choose to store your teak patio furniture over the winter, you should do so in a watertight garage or shed.

Aluminum furniture needs to be cleaned every now and then with mild soap and warm water.  If the aluminum furniture is kept near a pool or saltwater, it should be cleaned once a week to prevent a build up of salt, which can eat away at the metal over time. Abrasive cleaning products should be avoided and to protect the furniture from sunlight and UV exposure a clear automobile wax should be applied annually to lengthen the life.

Wicker patio furniture if made of high-density polyethylene or resin. It should be cleaned regularly with soap and water. If the furniture is exposed to salt water or chlorine, it should be cleaned more often with fresh water. Wicker furniture is resistant to extreme temperatures, although to protect it from fading, outdoor furniture covers can protect it from sunlight. Make sure the covers and wicker patio furniture are clean and dry before covering or storing to prevent mold.

Patio furniture is an investment; not only in the furniture, but in the enjoyment and entertainment you share with friends and family. Keep your furniture looking great and comfortable to extend its life and to keep your patio, porch, or yard looking great.