Take care in drying out patio cushions, umbrellas and furniture soaked by recent rains

September 24, 2013 Updated: September 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm
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You may want to put away patio furniture for fall/winter weather, but a more immediate need was triggered by last week's flash floods and days of pouring rain: How do you dry out soaking-wet patio cushions, umbrellas and furniture?

Wet cushions should be turned on their sides so they will drain and dry faster, said Sandy Biereichel, salesperson at Christy Sports.

Don't lay cushions flat to dry or leave them in the chairs or on chaises, she said.

Most outdoor cushions have fabric and stuffing designed to withstand the weather and the furniture can be left outdoors all year if people want, Biereichel said, "but at this point I would just get everything dry."

Then clean cushions can go into dry boxes, she said.

A particular concern is wood furniture. "Get the cushions off so it can dry completely."

Don't cover wood furniture because you could end up with a terrarium effect and it could mold, she cautions.

"When the sun is out, open the patio umbrella and allow it to dry out completely," Biereichel said. To clean for storage for the season, take the umbrella out of the table, saturate with a mild household cleaner and allow the solution to penetrate. You'll see dirt streaks, which can be wiped off with a wet rag. Air dry and cover to store.

When it's time to store metal furniture, wash it off and wax it like you would your car with a little bit of clear liquid car wax - no paste, she recommends.

A patio furniture salesperson with Christy Sports since 1985, Biereichel chuckles that she's not dealing right now what has always been one of the biggest things to worry about each fall: squirrels. As they're nesting, they love to dig into the patio-furniture stuffing. "In the fall, it's squirrels, in the spring it's the birds when they're nesting."

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