Summer Is Here, Time for Some Outdoor Cleaning!
Now that summer is upon us, we can finally get outside to enjoy the fresh air and take in all that this wonderful season has to offer. What better place to do that than from your deck or patio? So many great times are had out on a patio: cookouts, roasting smores over a fire pit, drinks with friends. The list goes on! Unfortunately, if you live in an area where the other seasons are less conducive to backyard enjoyment, your patio or deck may need a bit of touching up after its yearly hibernation. Use these tips to get your outdoor space ready for another season of memory making and fun!
If you have a concrete patio, they can tend to get a little mucky having sat under snow, getting caked with dead leaves and dealing with fallout from the spring bloom. The easiest and quickest way to get the concrete clean and neat is with a quick blast from a pressure washer. You can rent one from most local hardware stores for relatively cheap. Just move any furniture, pots or other items from the slab, power the bad-boy up and get to sprayin’! If your patio is made of wood or you have a deck, double check with someone at your hardware store to make sure that the pressure washer you’re using wont ruin the stain or damage the wood in anyway. You may just want to use the jet setting on your hose to try to take care of it.
Pressure washers are great at blasting away build up, but there are some things that it may struggle with if it’s the first time the concrete has been cleaned in a while. If this is the case, you may have to use a bit of elbow grease to help break down tougher spots. Using a hard-bristled scrub brush and a concrete cleaner that’s safe for grass (since you’ll be rinsing it away into the surrounding lawn). Follow the instructions on the cleaner for proper dilution to be safe and go to town. This should help eliminate any lasting stains or buildup and leave you with a clean slate!
If you have patio furniture, they may have suffered the same fate as the concrete or decking and gotten a little sad over the last couple seasons. If your furniture is made of a sturdier material like iron or hard plastic, you may be able to make light work of the situation by using the same pressure washer to easily remove the dirt. If you’re not sure if your furniture could stand up against the pressure washer, rinse off any loose mess with your hose, then use a mildly abrasive sponge (you don’t want to scratch it!) and warm water with some average dish soap to take care of most stains or buildup and rinse.
If you have outdoor cushions, you can use a similar method to get them clean as well. If you can remove the covers, soak them for 15-20 minutes in warm water and dish soap, then use a semi-stiff bristled brush to give them a little scrub. If the covers aren’t removable, give them a good spray with the hose and scrub them down using the same method. If they have mildew on them, mix in some borax to the water and soap solution to kill off any spores. Wear gloves! Even if you follow the dilution recipe from your borax it can be harsh on skin. Once they’re scrubbed, rinse them off and hang them up to dry. Make sure they’re fully dry before putting the covers back on or using to prevent getting a musty smell or re-up of mildew.
An iconic staple of so many great patios and the true champion of summer is the grill. To get your trusty pal back in fighting form, you can use a few common household things. To get the grates clean, heat up the grill to a mild temperature and rub them down with a lemon half dipped in coarse salt. The acid in the lemon helps to break down grease and salt is an abrasive agent that scrubs off any caked-on bits. You may want to do a onceover with a wire brush on tougher areas but most of it should be removed with this method. Since grills are typically used outdoors, most of them can be rinsed clean with a hose, just make sure that if there are any electronic bits that they don’t get damaged. If the inside of your grill accumulated any rust, you can use a mildly abrasive brush with baking soda and vinegar to scrub it away. Let it sit for 20 minutes or so then rinse clean.
Hopefully you can use make great use of your deck or patio this season and make a lot of great memories with friends and family while taking in the glorious summer air. An afternoon spent getting your outdoor space back in whack will pay off tenfold all season long!