How to get the most out of YOUR garden furniture

Has rain left YOUR garden furniture worse for wear: Cleaning experts reveal how to make it look good as new – from olive oil to clean rattan chairs to white vinegar for removing metal rust

  • Experts have given lowdown on how to get the most out of garden furniture
  • Top tips include applying white vinegar on metal furniture to help remove rust
  • Baking soda is a simple cleaning solution for stainless steel barbecue grills

Come rain of shine, the country’s unpredictable weather conditions can have adverse affects on your pricey garden furniture.  

With a heatwave one minute and hailstones the next, it’s important to know how to freshen up and protect your garden furniture in the heat.

From cleaning barbeques and firepits to preventing colours from fading in the sun, Paul McFadyen, Managing Director at metals4U and Ryan Schwarze, Head of Luxury Rattan has provided the lowdown on how to get the most out of our garden furniture.

Among the top tips include using white vinegar to prevent metal furniture rusting, baking soda to get rid of BBQ grime and olive oil to reduce cracking of rattan chairs.


Experts suggest spreading white vinegar evenly over the surface of metal furniture to help remove rust. Pictured, stock image

Many garden items such as French patio furniture sets, fire pits and barbeques that are made from steel can easily start to build rust as they are kept outdoors for long periods.

Rust can tend to thrive from hot and dry environments but can equally build up in a mix of rainy and humid conditions too, so it’s important to be aware of rust prevention and understand how to keep it clean and also ways to position or store it in your garden.

‘Rust is generally a tough type of corrosion to clean from metal surfaces, and therefore must be treated with the right care as to not damage your furniture,’ says Managing Director, Paul McFadyen at metals4U.

‘Active corrosion spray can be a very useful product to have in your cupboards especially during the summertime when there is more humidity and heat outdoors. This style of spray can also be bought in colours such as white and will offer high coverage and provide excellent adhesion, even to rust.

‘The best way to remove rust If you have already spotted it on your furniture is simple. Simply pour white vinegar evenly over the surface of the furniture and give it some time to settle. An hour should be enough.

‘Once you have done this just wipe away with a cloth wearing gloves and repeat again if necessary.’


Paul advises using a metal lacquer when you have a new product, so you have maximum protection against outdoor weather conditions. Pictured, stock image

Got an egg chair? Lucky you! These have been the talk of the town in outdoor living, but now it means ensuring paint colours don’t flake, rattan materials stay bright and cushions look fresh whilst out in the sunshine. 

This applies to other outdoor furnishing materials too, which may lose their colours with the fast-changing weather conditions in the UK. 

‘You can do several things to help maintain the vibrancy of paint on surfaces so that corrosion is slowed,’ says Paul. ‘Using a metal lacquer is always advisable when you have a new product, so you have maximum protection against outdoor weather conditions from the beginning and will help the metal furniture colour sustain for longer.

‘Inevitably paint can begin to peel, especially when the moisture from rain is regularly hitting furniture, therefore, we would recommend peeling down the paint from the affected area and starting again.

‘Once the surface is exposed you can treat it with an etching liquid, which can be used on all types of metal furniture from stainless steel, copper and aluminum. After this has dried you can paint over the area and reapply the metal lacquer so that it is sealed once again.’

Don’t forget about the cushions! With all the outdoor summer fun to come it’s highly likely your garden cushions and furniture will be victim to a few spills and marks here and there but don’t fret…

For keeping soft furnishings material vibrant, Ryan Schwarze, Head of Luxury Rattan suggests: ‘We would suggest removing cushions from furnishings when they are not being used but will be out in the sun all day, for example, if you are away on holiday.

‘The sun can bleach colours very easily on a hot day and to keep that new, vibrant look it’s best to store them inside when they aren’t in use.

‘When it comes to keeping cushions clean, use warm water with your mild detergent of choice to spot clean non-removable cushion covers.’

‘A soft scrubber is preferred to work the stain away before cleaning with a damp cloth. Excess moisture can be absorbed with towels to ensure that as much moisture is absorbed before leaving to dry.’


Baking soda is a simple cleaning solution for stainless steel barbecue grills. Pictured, stock image

There are plenty of specialist cleaning products for barbeques and firepits. However, you might want to consider using baking soda instead as it’s a simple cleaning solution for stainless steel barbecue grills.

Paul adds: ‘Stainless steel is used for barbecue grills as it’s hard-wearing and doesn’t rust like most other metals – when cleaning it you should be really careful not to use anything too abrasive that might damage the metal coating.

‘We advise using baking soda mixed with water to form a paste to remove any dirt or grime, as it is non-toxic. Avoid using metal grill brushes as the bristles can be dislodged and are incredibly harmful if ingested.

‘Leave the paste for 10 minutes to soak and wipe clean – be sure to rinse the area well after treating. To prevent food sticking to your grill, apply oil before cooking.’


Ryan advises using a soft cloth and rubbing some olive oil onto old rattan furniture to clean it up. Pictured, stock image 

Both hard and soft furniture needs to be cleaned and cared for regularly when kept outdoors, this will ensure that you have a longer-lasting product that continues to look as good as new as the seasons come and go.

If you have metal patio furniture, a gazebo or any type of metal sun lounger, Paul shares how to keep it in top condition.

‘If you have any exposed metal in your outdoor furniture or structures it’s important to maintain the quality of it through cleaning methods,’ he explains. ‘Metal is, of course, more hard-wearing than sort furnishings but it does require upkeep to stop rust, otherwise, it can become hard to maintain the quality of the product over time and can fall into disrepair.

‘We would suggest spraying your metal with a heavy-duty cleaner that is safe on metals, paints and most plastics. This is a solvent designed to cut through dirt, grime and any tough grease that will build upon your furniture when it is sat outdoors over long periods. ‘

When it comes to cleaning rattan furniture it’s important to be gentle and avoid any harsh cleaners or chemicals. 

For the best cleaning methods, Ryan says: ‘Fill a bowl with warm soapy water using some washing up liquid and wipe down your furniture gently with a soft cloth. Be sure to wipe away any soapy residue on your furniture before leaving it to dry outside.

‘If you have an old piece of rattan furniture that is looking worse for wear, I would recommend using a soft cloth and rubbing some olive oil onto the product. This will reduce cracking and add shine to your rattan, making it look as good as new.’

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