How and When to Winterize your Bistro Set


If you are reading this article, you have probably just bought a new bistro set and want to keep it looking good as long as possible so as soon as there are first signs of winter, you might get worried. Well in this article we are going to talk about how to winterize your bistro set and save it from any possible damage.

Can I leave my bistro set outside in the winter?

Yes, you can leave your bistro set outside, but I would highly recommend that you store it indoors or somewhere under a roof, because snow and rain can damage it. If you have any cushions on it you will definitely have to store them. Not just in winter, but in order to keep them looking as good as possible, I would recommend that you always have them indoors, or in an outdoor patio cushion box and only take them out when you are using your bistro set.

If you do not have any space to store your bistro set, then you just will have to prepare it for the winter and the bad weather that comes with it. It is always vital to protect your bistro set with a proper protective sealant, which can vary, depending on the material that your set is made of.  In this article, I will tell you just how you can do that.

When to Winterize your bistro set?

The right time to winterize your bistro set would be when you are not using it anymore and/or there is already a danger of frost. If you can not put it somewhere inside, then I would recommend that you at least use a cover to protect it or wrap it in plastic foil.

How to winterize your bistro set?

If you really want to do a good job and preserve your bistro set as good as you possibly can, then you will have to invest a little bit of time into it. The first step is definitely cleaning your bistro set. Only after it is clean, you will be able to see if it has any damage to it. This is really important if your bistro set is made from iron/metal. If your set did not have a protective layer on it, you might even stumble upon some rust.

In some cases, I’ve seen some rust even on the ones that did have a protective layer on them, but some time has passed and so over the years the weather did its damage to it. The worst cases I have witnessed were with white color bistro sets. The rust there was the most visible and therefore the most disturbing.

Step 1: Clean your bistro set.

Cleaning your bistro set will vary depending on what material it is made of. While some cleaners are good for one material, they can do damage to another. Most people clean their bistro sets twice a year- at the beginning of the season and at the end of it.. oh and during it, if your set gets dirty of course.

Step 2: Repair any damage that you might have

If your set is made out of either wood or iron there are chances that it may get damaged. If yours is made out of wood, just apply some sealant over the surface to cover any cracks that you have. If you do not cover them, then water will come inside and when it freezes it will do more damage. If you want you can also repaint the whole set.

For those of you that use Iron sets and have gotten any damage, it would be best to clean the rust off first. You can do that by rubbing sandpaper on rusty parts. If you have reacted and decided to clean the rust soon enough, there should be no further damage to your furniture. After you got rid of all the rusty parts it is time to apply a protective coat. You can use regular car wax… It should do the trick.

Step 3: Cover your Bistro set

If you really do not have any space indoors or at least somewhere under a roof, I would highly recommend that you get a cover that will protect your patio furniture from snow, rain, etc. If you do not want to buy an expensive cover, regular plastic wrap will also do the trick.

How to clean your bistro set?

Cleaning a wooden bistro set:

Wood is the material that is most sensitive to the outdoors. I always recommend that people buy a cover if their bistro set is made out of wood and cover it up whenever they are not using it. This is the only way to keep your wooden bistro set as good as new.


When it comes to cleaning wooden bistro sets, you will have to do it by hand. Using either a water hose or a pressure washer can damage it. The best thing to use to clean wood with is a soft brush and a bucket of warm water mixed with a little bit of vinegar and baking soda. This will remove even the toughest stains that your wooden set might have. If you leave your set outside with no cover on it, you will definitely decrease its lifespan by a lot.

Use your soft brush to clean the whole set and make sure that you also reach all of the hidden spots. If you see any damage to your bistro set, you might want to sand it or paint it. It is always better to refurbish your patio furniture before winter because it will be much more protected from any possible further damage.

Next, you should rub your wooden bistro set with furniture oil and sealant. The reason why this is important is that it will cover up any possible cracks that your table or chairs might have.     If water reaches those cracks and later turns into ice, it will definitely do damage

Sealants also have an important role when it comes to protecting your furniture from parasites that love wood and from any fungi that will cause your bistro set to rot. I know this process might take a while but in the long run, it will be worth it for sure.

Cleaning an Aluminum bistro set:

The good thing about aluminum is that it is resistant to rust (rust-free). Before you store it for winter I would recommend that you clean it. You can clean aluminum bistro sets with either a water hose, pressure washer or by hand. Just make sure to use either a dishwashing soap or any kind of cleaner that is suitable for outdoors. Also, make sure that you are at least 2 feet away if you are using a power washer to clean it to prevent any damage. If there will be any dirty spots that won’t come off then you can use a soft brush to clean them.

Even though it is really easy to clean, aluminum should also be protected if left outside for the winter with a cover. You can get all sorts and sizes of furniture covers online. Winterizing your patio furniture, made from any material is especially important if you live in a place where winters are very cold and come with a lot of snow.

Cleaning a Plastic bistro set:

Plastic materials do not go well with the changes of the temperature outside, so If you can I would highly suggest that you store any plastic furniture that you might have, indoors. If left outside it will get a lot of cracks and the pain will fade. If there is really no way for you to keep it outside, make sure to get a cover for it.

Nonetheless I think you should clean it before the winter comes. To clean your plastic garden furniture. You will probably have to clean it by hand, using a gallon of water and ¼ cup of either an all-purpose outside cleaner or just mild laundry detergent. Scrub your set with either a sponge or a soft brush. If you use a metal brush you will end up doing damage to your furniture.

Cleaning a Wicker bistro set

By cleaning wicker patio furniture you will first need to know if your set is made out of natural rattan or synthetic. If you have natural rattan, then you will have to be more careful when it comes to cleaning it. If that is the case for you, clean it with a gallon of water mixed with a few drops of oil-based soap. You can use a sponge or a very soft brush to scrub the surface.

If you have synthetic Wicker, you can use a water hose or a pressure washer to clean it. Just make sure to have at least 2 feet distance between the end of the pressure washer and the furniture piece that you are washing. If you come too close you might do damage to it.

Cleaning a Wrought Iron Bistro Set:

If you have outdoor furniture made out of iron, then you will have to be especially careful when it comes to caring for it. Iron can rust easily and once your table and chairs start to rust they will get ugly and also they will get much weaker. If you see any signs of rust whatsoever you should immediately act upon it.

Don’t worry though. Most of Iron made Bistro sets have a protective coating on them and are therefore protected from rusting but you should still cover the set before winter. You can wash your Iron table and chairs with warm water mixed with a bit of soap. As with most other materials, it is okay to use either a sponge or a soft brush to scrub the whole area.

Cleaning a Teak Bistro set:

If you have Teak furniture then you probably know how expensive it was. For cleaning teak patio furniture pieces you should use a bucket of warm water mixed with about 1 cup of vinegar. You might also want to spread a layer of protective oil on it-but only if you see that it has any signs of damage.

Like with all other sets I would recommend that you get a cover for your Teak bistro set and protect it from the snow.

Thank you all for reading and if you have any further questions or would like to share some experiences, please drop a comment below. Have a nice day!


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