Skyline Design UK Premium Quality All Weather Outdoor Furniture

How to stop rust on outdoor furniture

Article by Nick Rinylo

Nothing can ruin picture-perfect outdoor furniture sets like rust. This eyesore can easily become the bane of any homeowner’s existence, not to mention the stains rust can leave on light coloured trousers and skirts.  Even the smallest of rust stains can put a downer on an otherwise lovely Saturday BBQ.

Most outdoor furniture is treated for rust before it even leaves the factory, which means that many outdoor pieces are unlikely to remain rust-free even as they get up there in years. This is especially true for furniture made from iron or an iron-based material. After all, outdoor furniture is at the mercy of the elements, which can put a toll on furniture and cause rust to form.

However, this doesn’t mean that your pieces will never rust, especially if you don’t take care of them. If you’re looking to prevent unwanted rust, here are some useful tips to prevent rust stains from forming on outdoor furniture.

Two white garden chairs in front of green trees

Don’t let them get wet

The most simple and effective way to prevent your gorgeous patio sets from rusting is to keep them dry. As soon as you notice that they’re wet, use an old tea towel or cloth to pat them dry. 

Exposure to moisture is the most common cause of corrosion. When iron comes in contact with water and oxygen, it oxidises, resulting in the formation of hydrated iron(III) oxide. After oxidation, rust will begin to appear in the form of small brown spots. When left untreated, rust can expand and ultimately ruin the structural integrity of patio furniture. So, it’s a good idea to not let moisture settle in for extended periods of time to avoid rust forming.

Put your storage to good use

At best, British weather can be a bit grim. At worst, it’s an unpredictable nightmare. And with winter fast approaching, it will become increasingly difficult to keep up with the maintenance of outdoor furniture. 

For most Brits, simply going outside for any reason can feel like taking a trip to Mount Everest- let alone for furniture maintenance. It might be a good idea to start making the most out of any storage space. Who fancies running out into the cold just to dry down patio furniture, anyway? 

Keeping outdoor furniture in a shed or garage when it’s out of use will not only save you time but also money. The less exposure metal furniture has to the elements, the better its condition and finish will be.  Even if your patio furniture was made to be ‘rust-proof, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Cover your outdoor furniture

Finding a new home for your patio furniture when it’s not infrequent use isn’t always easy. Not to mention, it can be a pain to move furniture in and out of storage.  If you’re looking for an option that will be less taxing on both your body and time, consider investing in an outdoor furniture cover.

The great thing about most furniture covers is that they have water-resistant properties that keep furniture protected and dry. Plus, they can be easily stripped off whenever you have guests come over at the last minute. Guests or no guests, some may feel that their patio sets are too beautiful to be covered up or put in storage. Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered (no pun intended).

Outdoor sofa, coffee table and rug on decking within a forest

Apply oil to your furniture

If you don’t want to hide your gorgeous garden furniture and wish to keep it out all year round, consider coating it. Oil and grease offer excellent protection against corrosion and rust. applying oil to any metal parts of your outdoor furniture will help keep rust at bay. The oil acts as a protective barrier that prevents oxidation or further damage.

Bish bash bosh, the job’s done, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t just a one time job. Applying oil and grease to your outdoor furniture will need to become a regular part of your maintenance routine. To be safe, you should apply oil to your outdoor furniture at least once every three months. That way, your furniture will stay weather- and water-proof all year round. 

Linseed oil has been touted as one of the best oils to use on metal patio furniture. Not only will it protect your furniture, but it can be applied in a matter of minutes. Boiled linseed oil is a better choice than cold-pressed linseed oil or mineral oil as it creates a much harder surface and dries faster. 

To improve penetrability,  heat up the metal and then thin the oil using a solvent. This will help create a thicker protective coat that lasts longer. However, most garden furniture is too big to just stick it in the oven. You can always skip heating up the metal unless you can find another method that works, that is. Just remember to dust off and sand down your furniture before applying any oils.

Use rust-resistant paste wax

If applying an oil every two to three months sounds like a hassle, use a paste wax instead. Typically, you only need to reapply paste wax every two to three years. Sounds like a lot less work, right? Besides, many of us tend to lag behind on the upkeep of our outdoor furniture. Not only is this option more time-efficient, but also more realistic for those of us with busy schedules.

All you need to do is wipe down your furniture with a moist cloth and then leave it to dry. Once completely dry, apply the paste wax with a wide paintbrush, making sure to get the brush into every nook and crevice. Set your furniture aside to dry and then use to your heart’s content.

Cream outdoor sofa with cushions on next to an egg chair.


Consider investing in rattan furniture

Though all of the above tips are useful, there is another way to avoid rust entirely. “What is it?”, you might ask. Patio furniture made from non-rusting materials,  of course. 

When it comes to preventing outdoor furniture from rusting, sometimes it’s best to avoid iron or iron-coated products altogether. Instead, opt for furniture made out of teak, aluminium or all-weather rattan. This will save you constantly checking for rust stains. Not to mention, save your time and money as well. Rattan furniture, in particular, is quite versatile, easy to care for and can last for generations when looked after properly. If you need some help elevating your outdoor space, read our guide on choosing the right furniture for your garden.

It’s important to think carefully before purchasing outdoor furniture, as you want something that not only looks good but will last too. 

Fed up of looking at rust stains whenever you want to catch up with the family or go outside to sunbathe?  Browse our collection of luxury rattan furniture to take your garden to the next level today.