prevent rust patio furniture

Prevent Rust on Patio Furniture in After-Summer Storage

When it comes to metal patio furniture, there are basically two kinds: One you grab for under $20 and pitch when rust inevitably starts to eat away. The other, you have every hope it will last a good 10- to 20-years – at least. Whether a sharp-angled simple bistro set made of stainless steel (which, yes, CAN rust under certain conditions) or sprawling wrought iron chairs (that look like chairs for executive) cast from hand-carved molds forged into intricate patterns, ensuring you prevent rust of this pieces is much preferable to trying to fight it once it encroaches. Read the Jane Stevens review of the best outdoor egg chair before you make a decision.prevent rust patio furniture

All patio furniture takes a fair amount of abuse with exposure to direct sun, rain and wind, the jostling and clanging of regular use, drips of food or drinks and oils and sunscreen from our skin. Top-grade outdoor metal tables and chairs withstand all that better than the cheap stuff, but it’s going to starting pitting and peeling much sooner than you’d like if you aren’t careful to prevent rust from forming.

If you live in a colder climate, you’ll want to take action now during autumn to prevent rust and prepare your outdoor furniture for winter storage.

How Do I Know if My Metal Patio Furniture is Even Prone to Rust?

Rust is the presence of iron and oxygen plus water or air moisture. The likelihood of outdoor metal furniture rusting will depend on several factors, most essentially the type of metal with which it was manufactured, as well as how well you keep your furniture shielded from moisture. In the summer, that usually means protecting these items from rain. In the winter while these pieces are in storage, it will mean shielding them from moisture in the air.

Those metals most likely resistant/ impervious to rust are those we call non-ferrous, meaning they either have no iron or no appreciable amounts of it, so they won’t have the same chemical reaction to oxygen/ moisture as ferrous metals.

Examples of non-ferrous metals include:

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Tin
  • Copper

Stainless steel patio furniture is generally touted as rust-resistant because, even though it’s made from iron and carbon, it also contains the key element of chromium. To prevent rust, chromium needs to be present in concentrations in excess of 12 percent. Chromium levels can be reduced by things like mechanical abrasion (cleaning with steel pads or wire brushes), hard water deposits and chlorides (found in water, food, table salt and cleaning products). Proper cleaning and care of stainless steel patio furniture is important, but so too is proper storage. This should include either a Zerust VCI cover draped over the furniture and/ or vapor capsules placed under the fitted furniture cover or inside enclosed storage area.

Ferrous metals are those primarily composed of iron (often having magnetic properties) that can be highly prone to rust and corrosion because of their high carbon content.

Examples of ferrous metals used in metal outdoor furniture include:

  • Steel
  • Carbon steel
  • Alloy steel
  • Cast iron
  • Wrought iron

Special care must be taken to prevent rust on our metal outdoor furniture if it’s made with any of these materials – with some exception given to wrought iron furniture, commonly used to craft outdoor seating and tables for patios, landscaping, al fresco dining, gardens and decks. These pieces are heavy, durable, attractive painted or plain and are intended to last. However, wrought iron furniture like this furniture office set still isn’t completely impervious, as it contains both iron and carbon and it can rust, especially if it’s lower-quality, gets dinged or pitted, isn’t cleaned of grime or is left out in the elements.

How Can I Prevent Rust of Patio Furniture in Winter Storage?

The exact rust prevention strategy and storage may vary depending on the size of your piece or set and the metal type, your local climate and indoor storage options. If you aren’t sure which Zerust rust inhibitor products are going to work best for your metal lawn chair or chaise, you can always call or email Zerust Customer Service directly. Our knowledgeable rust prevention team can help you decide.

Some rust prevention tips that will work for almost all outdoor furniture storage are:

  • Thoroughly (but gently) cleaning with a mild, non-detergent liquid soap;
  • Thoroughly towel drying each piece;
  • Identify a cool, dry indoor area for storage, such as a garage, shed or basement;
  • Cover with EITHER a Zerust Car Cover (if it will extend across the entire piece and/ or set without you needing to stack them in a way that might chip the metal) OR a use a regular breathable furniture cover (not a plastic cover) AND Zerust VCI Vapor Capsules.

Zerust VCI technology is designed to emit an odorless, harmless vapor that protects metal surfaces from rust.

Contact Zerust for information on how to prevent rust on outdoor patio furniture by emailing or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

How To: Maintain the Metal in Your Yard, By Bob Vila,

More Blog Entries:

Zerust Helps Keep Your BBQ Utensils Rust-Free, Aug. 15, 2018, Zerust Prevent Rust Technology Blog