Can You Leave Outdoor Furniture Outside in the Winter?

The frigid winter months are upon us! Natural elements such as rain, snow, ice, and more come with this weather. All of these factors can affect our beautiful outdoor patio sets. So, can we leave our furniture out in the cold this winter?

Some furniture materials are more robust and can handle harsh winter weather. However, many materials need extra care during the cold months. It’s best to bring in furniture sets during the winter. Alternatively, you can apply sealants, tarps, or coverings to protect your outdoor furniture.

As expected, it’s best to bring in furniture during harsh weather. Doing so will protect your furniture, ensuring it lasts for the long term. However, some furniture materials may require less maintenance and care. So, what do you need to know about outdoor furniture in the winter? Read on to find out!

Is My Outdoor Furniture Safe in the Winter?

Patio garden furniture in winter snow, UK

Outdoor furniture sets can be quite beautiful and provide us with a lovely place to relax. However, during the winter months, our furniture sets might need some additional love.

Different outdoor furniture materials will react differently to the natural elements. Some furniture sets may need sealants and preparation, while others can be left out all winter.

For example, most wooden furniture sets will need protective sealing. This is because the moisture from winter can damage the furniture, causing wood rot and mildew. Conversely, aluminum is nearly rust-proof, making it an excellent winter option.

For these reasons, it’s best to prepare your furniture for the winter. Doing so will add an extra layer of defense against the harsh natural elements.

How Can I Prepare My Outdoor Furniture for the Winter?

As mentioned earlier, some furniture materials will need to be prepared for the winter. Properly preparing your furniture will ensure its longevity throughout the cold season. The following are some simple guidelines in accomplishing this task:

Prepare Non-Teak Wood Furniture with Sealants

You’ll want to apply a sealant or finish for non-teak wooden furniture sets. Doing so will prevent moisture from penetrating the wood, reducing the chances of rot and mildew. There are different ways to apply sealants and coatings.

However, Danish and teak oil work best for outdoor usage. To apply your sealant, varnish, or finish, follow all of your product’s instructions and guidelines.

Prepare Teak Wood Furniture for Winter

Although teak furniture is incredibly durable and robust, it still needs care. Teak furniture can attract mold and mildew due to its higher oil content than other woods. This can lead to cracks, warping, and other damages.

To clean teak furniture, wash with a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and 1 gallon of warm water. This mixture will help clean off any dirt and debris. For harder stains and buildup, try mixing 1/4 cup of bleach, 3/4 cup of a mild laundry detergent, and 1 gallon of warm water.

Prepare Aluminum Furniture with Sealants

Aluminum is one of the best winter furniture materials, as it’s nearly rust-proof. That being said, aluminum still needs to be properly cared for during the winter months.

To care for your aluminum furniture, first, wipe off any dirt and debris with a simple cleaning solution. This cleaning solution could be a few drops of dish detergent and warm water.

Afterward, you can apply a one-step metal wax. Metal wax will protect your aluminum furniture during the harshest nights. You can find options online for under $20, such as this Heavy Metal Polish Restorer and Protectant from Chemical Guys (on Amazon).

Do I Need to Bring in My Outdoor Furniture Cushions in the Winter?

Bringing in your outdoor furniture cushions is an excellent idea during the winter! Different fabrics can develop mold and mildew when exposed to moisture. Properly storing and maintaining your outdoor cushions will keep them lasting for longer periods of time.

When storing your cushions for the winter, it’s best to do a deep clean as well. Here’s a quick guide you can follow for deep cleaning your outdoor patio cushions!

Step 1: Remove any washable coverings.

Some outdoor furniture sets have removable coverings. These coverings can typically be easily washed in a washing machine. Be sure to check the labels or the manufacturer’s guidelines to see what your product needs.

Step 2: Clean any loose debris.

You’ll want to be sure to clean any loose debris. These could be leaves, dirt, mold, or other unsightly objects. You can use an upholstery attachment on a vacuum to get a deeper clean. You can find upholstery brushes (on Amazon) online for under $10.

Step 3: Use a cleaning solution.

After you clean any debris, it’s time to use a proper cleaning solution. All surface cleaners like the Star Brite Heavy-Duty Fabric Cleaner Spray (on Amazon) can work exceptionally well. You can dilute these solutions with water if need be.

To clean, spray down your surfaces with the solution, scrub with a brush, and wait at least five minutes.

Step 4: Rinse cushions.

After you’ve cleaned your outdoor cushions with a solution, it’s time to rinse them off. You can spray down your pillows with your garden hose, run them under the sink, or throw them in the washer if the fabric is compatible.

However, if you decide to rinse, remove any leftover cleaning solution.

Step 5: Let the fabric dry.

Finally, let your outdoor cushions and furniture sets dry entirely. If the weather permits it, set your pieces of furniture in the sun, allowing them ample time to dry. You can squeeze out any excess water to speed up the process.

What Type of Outdoor Furniture Is Best for Winter Weather?

Garden furniture in winter time

Each type of outdoor furniture will have its own set of unique pros and cons. Some materials are better for the colder months, while others may need some extra help. However, teak and aluminum furniture sets are incredibly durable during the winter months,

Teak Wood

Out of all the hardwood varieties, teak is the most durable and robust. Teak has a natural oil content, which repels water, warping, and other damages. On top of that, teak is an all-weather wood, making it an excellent option for winter furniture.

Non-Teak Wood

As we all know, moisture is the biggest enemy of wood. Non-teak wooden furniture can be susceptible to moisture damage when left out in the winter. Without proper sealing and protection, non-teak wood is not the best option for winter weather.


Aluminum is another viable option for winter weather. Aluminum is nearly rust-proof, making it an amazing choice for wetter climates.

However, aluminum furniture is lightweight and typically has holes throughout the frame. This reduction in weight can make your furniture susceptible to being blown around during winter storms.


Both natural and synthetic wicker furniture can be a decent option for the colder months. Natural wicker furniture will need a bit more TLC, as it can chip over time. Synthetic wicker furniture, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be washed as much and is quite durable.

Wrought Iron

Although wrought iron is incredibly robust, it’s susceptible to rust. Moisture, rain, and even bird droppings can cause your wrought iron furniture to rust in the winter months. For those reasons, it’s best to cover, seal, or bring in this type of furniture during winter.

Natural Stone

Natural stone furniture and fire pits look beautiful. However, moisture can freeze within the nooks and crannies, causing damage over time. During the winter months, it’s best to rinse off your stone furniture or apply a sealant.

Can Plastic Patio Furniture Stay Outside in the Winter?

Although the material won’t rust, it’s best to store plastic patio furniture inside during the winter. Plastic is susceptible to cracks and warpage during the colder months.

On top of that, plastic is lightweight, making it susceptible to being blown around during winter storms. For those reasons, it’s best to cover your plastic furniture or bring them inside during the winter months.

To clean plastic furniture sets, you can simply spray them down lightly with a hose. For tougher stains and debris, try mixing ¼ cup of a mild laundry detergent in a gallon of warm water. You can apply this mixture with a sponge and scrub as needed.

What Can I Do to My Outdoor Furniture to Protect It During Winter Weather?

Protecting your outdoor furniture is a must during the winter. The cold and wet weather can ravage your furniture, causing short-term and long-term damage. So, what options do you have for protecting your outdoor furniture?

Bring Furniture Inside

The simplest way to protect your outdoor furniture during the winter is by bringing them inside. By bringing your outdoor furniture inside, you remove it from the moisture and harsh conditions of winter.

You can store your furniture in your shed, garage, house, or even a storage unit. Try stacking your furniture on top of each other to save space. If your furniture is fairly robust, you may only need to bring it in during the roughest nights.

Bring Cushions Inside

Another way you can prevent damage to your outdoor furniture is by bringing in cushions. This is an efficient option for those who may not have enough space for their full furniture sets.

By bringing in just the cushions, you can prevent mold, mildew, and other stains from developing. If your furniture is especially robust, you may only need to bring in the cushions rather than the whole piece.

Apply Sealants

Sealants and coatings are another excellent way to keep your furniture protected during the winter. By applying sealants, you’re adding another layer of defense to your outdoor furniture sets.

You can find various wood sealants (on Amazon) online at affordable prices. Danish oil and teak oil are great options for wooden furniture sets. Different oils and varnishes will create different results, so it’s best to read all instructions and guidelines before using them.

Use Individual Coverings

Using individual coverings is a fine choice for protecting your furniture from moisture damage. By covering your furniture, you lock out moisture, debris, and animals. You can find individual coverings (on Amazon) online at affordable prices.

Cover Your Outdoor Furniture with Tarps

Using tarps is another option, along with individual coverings. Tarps serve the same purpose as coverings, sealing out moisture, debris, and other damages. You can find heavy-duty water-resistant tarps (on Amazon) online for affordable prices.

These are some of the best ways you can protect your outdoor furniture during the winter. The easiest and most effective way is by removing your furniture from the cold. Doing so will protect your furniture from moisture damage.

Additionally, you can apply a variety of oils, varnishes, and stains to protect your furniture. Or, another effective option is simply covering your furniture with a tarp.

Whichever option you choose, doing so is crucial to the longevity of your furniture. Moisture from rain and snow can cause wood rot and mildew. For those reasons, we highly recommend you protect your outdoor furniture this winter!

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