Nothing brings an outdoor patio or backyard to life like some classy metal furniture. It beautifies any space and gives you a place where you can meet with guests, enjoy drinks and food on the barbeque (or even just hot wings), and make memories that will last forever!
Garden furniture is an excellent addition to any outdoor space but can be pricey. Metal garden furniture, in particular, is quite expensive. No one wants to invest this much money, only for it to rust away after a few years of exposure to the elements!
Exposure to dust, snow, rain and the tides of time are conditions that can translate to rust in outdoor metal patio furniture, leading to their rapid decline and lack of usability. But does it mean you should give up and opt for plastic outdoor furniture? No, you shouldn't be forced into such a situation.
There are ways you can protect your metal garden furniture to last for many seasons and save you lots of money on replacements. If you have metal garden furniture that is looking worn and in need of some TLC, then it is time to learn how to protect metal garden furniture!
How Do I Stop My Patio Furniture from Rusting?
Getting some wrought iron, stainless steel, or other types of outdoor metal furniture requires a substantial investment. The best way to protect this investment is to prevent rust in the first place.
The following tips give you a few pre-emptive measures to stop rust in the first place:
Keeping Your Metal Garden Furniture Dry at All Times
To some, keeping your metal furniture dry at all times sounds like a tall order. To others, it sounds like an outright futile exercise. Sure, wrought iron, bronze and steel make pieces of furniture that are more resilient than wood or wicker. But, repeated exposure to water and traces of moisture damage your metal furniture over time.
Exposure to even tiny water droplets facilitates the rapid oxidation of the metal or what we commonly call rust. The most straightforward fix to this issue is wiping off any water with a soft, dry, and absorbent towel or piece of cloth. This helps prevent rust and also maintains the glimmer of the paint job or fine finish for longer.
Using Outdoor Furniture Covers
Even though you have taken care to keep your garden furniture dry, this does not mean that it is completely protected from corrosion or rusting. It needs an additional layer of protection to ensure that damage does not occur by ensuring that water does not find its way onto the furniture’s surface.
Protecting your metal garden furniture involves using protective covers, like patio covers, tarpaulin cover-alls or even rubberised dining table pads. The plastic will protect your metal furniture by acting as a layer of protection between the elements and the metal.
But, this is not the most elegant solution for most people, so we look at other alternatives.
Keeping Your Outdoor Furniture Sheltered
Most (if not all) of us hate it when we get caught in the rain. It messes up your clothes, and you get the sniffles for a while. Well, the rain hits your metal backyard furniture and upholstery even harder. Water is, after all, the primary catalyst of rust.
Building a gazebo or a cover deck protects your metal furniture from exposure to heat, rain and wind. You can also spring for an affordable heavy-duty garden & outdoor tarpaulin on Amazon if you're a tenant. With that in place, you can enjoy rust-free garden furniture for longer.
Keeping Your Metal Garden Furniture in Storage
Let's be frank. You won't need to use your garden furniture all year round, even if you live in a warm region. Your work schedule may not allow you to invite your workmates or neighbours for a barbeque every day. And the winter conditions are not that conducive to outdoor activities.
So, the most responsible thing to do is to keep your patio chairs and tables in storage when it's not in use. There, it'll remain safe, and you can pull it out when the need arises. You probably have some garage and other ideal storage spaces, so it's merely a matter of picking what works best.
Aside from that, you can cover your precious metal outdoor furniture with a tarp to reduce instances of mould and mildew bloom or dirt accumulation.
Furniture Care and Maintenance Measures
One of the best ways to keep your outdoor metal furniture rust-free is regular care and maintenance. Sure, you could hire a pro. But, why waste all that money when DIY methods can suffice.
Here are some of the easiest ways to clean all the corrosion out of your metal garden furniture:
Pressure Washing Metal Garden Furniture
Running a garden hose through your garden furniture may work like a charm. But, the problem is it doesn't get into all the cracks and crevices. You're also left with loads of wiping to do after a hose-down.
But that’s not the case when you use a pressure washer. Such a tool cuts away at the grime hiding in the crevices. It also uses less water, so you can leave your metal furniture out to dry after a quick wash.
Pressure washers come in all shapes, sizes and price points on Amazon. So you can spring for one without breaking your piggy bank.
A Sponge Bath with Some Dish Soap
Dish soap can be a formidable ally against all the agents of corrosion and rust working against your furniture. It comes with mild alkali compounds that cut at rust. And, the formulation also has oils that provide an invisible protective coating that can shield metals from rust while keeping them smelling fresh.
A White Vinegar and Water Cleanse
White vinegar is one of the best detergents to use when you notice traces of rust on metal objects. As a mild alkali solution, it has active compounds that eliminate tough stains and stubborn mildew.
You can use a 1 part white vinegar and 2 part water mixture, and a fine wire brush for grime. But, if the stains or rust are too stubborn, then you can add more vinegar. You'll also need a harder scouring tool like a ball of steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper to rub all the grime and traces of rust off the affected metal surfaces.
Rust Prevention Measures
Not everyone has the time or patience to clean or maintain their metal garden furniture. You may also be short on storage space. But, that doesn’t mean your patio furniture has no hope for redemption:
The following tips can also help to keep your furniture rust-free for long periods:
- Rust Prevention with Paste Wax
A coat of paste wax provides a water-resistant layer that keeps rust at bay. Best of all, a little wax paste can go a long way.
You can use the following procedure to keep your metal garden furniture reasonably rust-free:
Caution: Paste wax has varied effects on different paints and materials. So, it may be prudent to test it out on hidden surfaces to avoid any undesired results.
- Wipe all traces of dust with a dry cloth
- You can use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper or a wire brush if your lawn chair or other furniture is caked in grime.
- Give the furniture a once-over with a damp cloth to remove any stubborn residual dirt or grime.
- Let it dry
- Apply the paste wax with a large flat paintbrush and a smaller one to get into the crannies
- Once you’re done, allow the furniture to dry for some time before using it
- Grease Sealant for Rust Protection
Grease is thick enough to use as an anti-rust sealant. You can apply a thin layer of grease to keep your lawn chair, umbrella, table or other pieces of metal outdoor furniture rust-resistant.
It's also a robust lubricant. Therefore, it's the best rust protection agent for joints and other articulating (moveable) parts of your furniture. And you can wipe it off with water, dish soap and a soft cloth if it starts dripping all over your lawn or paved surface.
Tip: Grease is a messy affair. So, don’t apply the grease on bits of the furniture that may come into contact with a person or their clothing items.
- Try a Multi-Use Rust Prevention Spray
Grease, paste wax and other household sealants offer an easy DIY route to rust prevention. But, the application process can be messy and tedious. That's where Multi-use sealant sprays come in handy.
These sprays have a quick-drying formulation. They dry within minutes and leave a durable, thin and water-resistant rust-proof layer. So, you won't have to wait for too long before using your lawn furniture.
WD-40 Flexible Straw System comes highly recommended for this purpose and is readily available on Amazon. This product features a bendable straw for greater precision in covering those dug-in crevices.
WD-40 silicone lubricant spray is ideal for wrought iron, stainless steel, cast iron, and chrome. This spray-on sealant locks in all the lustre with an active rust and corrosion protection layer.
With such a rust prevention spray in place, you have the confidence to get more metal garden furniture and ornaments without the worry of rust.
What Else Can You Do To Keep Your Metal Outdoor Furniture Rust-Free?
Constant exposure to the sun, rain, bird droppings and other corrosive elements will encourage rust. Sadly, these effects ring home after years of furniture use. Sometimes even the most dynamic of rust prevention sealants and spring cleaning initiatives don’t work.
So, what options do you have in such a case? Well, you can take some of your free time to give your patio furniture a touch-up paint job. A spray paint helps you dispense with the problem in a matter of hours.
After a couple of years, your factory coated or painted metal furniture loses its appeal. So, the most prudent step to take is to include your lawn furniture in your home improvement drive, where you scrape off all the paint and give it a touch up with a new rust repellent layer.
To Wrap It Up
Getting some beautiful metal garden furniture is a worthy investment. However, it comes with some burden of care. But, as you can see from our tips –it's not that hard if you have the dedication and energy.
These sure-fire rust prevention tips will make the task at hand easier. With some luck, you can even turn your furniture into heirloom pieces that your kin will get to enjoy someday as they frolic in the sun.