How to prevent rust on external garden furniture

Written by barbara raskauskas
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How to prevent rust on external garden furniture
External garden furniture, like this wrought iron chair, could rust without proper care. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Wrought iron, or shaped iron, has been used for centuries to make decorative filigree and for functional purposes like hinges, knobs, fencing and stair railings. Wrought iron garden furniture offers a stability and weight that keeps the furniture in place and usable for years. Wrought iron furniture may be painted white, black, green or other colours to fit any outdoor decor A drawback of iron furniture placed outdoors is that can it rust from exposure to the weather. Through proper care and maintenance, rust on external garden furniture can be avoided.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bucket
  • Dish detergent
  • Sponge or rag
  • Automobile or marine wax

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  1. 1

    Clean the furniture to remove all dirt and grime before putting the furniture away for the season. Squirt liquid dishwashing detergent, the type for washing dishes by hand that is formulated to cut through grease, into a bucket of warm water. Wash all surfaces. Use a brush, if necessary, to reach into crevasses. Rinse and then wipe off the water. Let the pieces air dry in the sun.

  2. 2

    Apply one to two coats of liquid or paste wax designed for use on cars or boats. Buff the wax to a shine as directed by the manufacturer. Repeat the cleaning and waxing process about midsummer.

  3. 3

    Relocate the furniture to a protected area over the winter, like a basement or garage. If no protected area is available and the furniture must remain outdoors, elevate the furniture on bricks or breeze blocks to avoid the legs resting in standing water. Secure a waterproof cover over the furniture, ensuring the wrap prevents any water penetration.

Tips and warnings

  • Outdoor furniture built with non-rusting material, like vinyl or wood, may have hinges or springs that could rust. Keep the furniture protected from rain and periodically lubricate the metal pieces to keep them rust-free and functional.
  • If furniture is already showing signs of rust, remove the rust with steel brush or fine grade steel wool dipped in vinegar. Then, apply a rustproof primer and repaint.

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