Spring Cleaning Tips
Most people have a plan of attack when it comes to spring cleaning their home’s interior, but what about their exterior spaces? With warmer months just around the corner, give some TLC to your outdoor spaces and be ready when the urge to get outside takes over. Below find an easy-to-use checklist that details what needs to be done within your outdoor living spaces and yard.
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Check the Deck
- Sweep or pressure wash unsightly cobwebs and other debris from porch ceilings, walls and floors.
- Pay attention to the areas where you and your company will be sitting: wash or replace outdoor rugs, pillows and cushions, drapery and umbrellas as needed.
- Wash all patio furniture with a cleaning solution specially formulated for outdoor furniture. Detailed instructions below.
How Is Your Garden?
- Clear away any dead weeds or leaves from planter boxes and gardening areas.
- Add fresh soil and amendments to garden and landscaped areas.
- Trim and prune trees and shrubs to encourage growth and eliminate an untidy appearance. If tree trimming is new territory for you, seek the help of your neighborhood gardening enthusiast; they will be glad to offer advice.
- Take inventory of existing plants and determine what you would like to add this season.
Give the Home a Once Over
- Give the grill a thorough scrubbing and refill or replace propane tanks if required.
- Clear out debris from gutters. Plan on spending extra time here, especially if nearby tree leaves tend to collect there.
- Hose down or power wash your home’s exterior and doors; touch up the paint where needed as well.
- Wash window and door tracks. Don’t forget the windows!
- Wash decorative flags and fabric decorations while checking for any tears that might need repair.
- Clean outside light fixtures and replace light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs.
- Check hoses for cracks and leaks; store on a decorative hose holder to prevent damage while adding a nice accent to your outdoor space.
- Give a critical eye to retaining walls, driveways, sidewalks and outdoor furniture for damage. The winter months add considerable wear and tear to your home’s exterior.
Our Guide To Cleaning Outdoor Patio Furniture
Get ready for the season by cleaning your outdoor patio furniture. The fact that your outdoor furniture spends all of its time outside exposed to the elements makes it a perfect candidate for regular cleaning. Here we offer up tips on how to clean all kinds of furniture and get it ready for your next outdoor gathering.
How to Clean Wood Patio Furniture
Teak, wicker and cedar patio furniture handle weathering pretty well, but will benefit greatly from regular cleaning. Use a mild, wood soap, such as Murphy’s Oil Soap mixed with warm water and a soft scrub brush and cloth. Rinse it down after scrubbing. If the wood has begun to splinter, see if sanding with fine sandpaper will help restore the finish. A fresh coat of protective finish may help, especially if weather conditions are harsh. Be sure to ask you home store for help in selecting the right finish for your furniture’s wood. Regularly wipe down the wood to keep dirt and debris at bay.
How to Clean Metal Patio Furniture
When wrought iron, cast iron or aluminum furniture is on your patio, then oxidation may be a culprit. Mix a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water and use it with a soft cloth to remove any imperfections. Sometimes a non-abrasive cleaning product can remove scuff marks on aluminum. Rinse with the garden hose immediately after washing.
How to Clean Plastic Patio Furniture
Start by dipping a wet sponge into baking soda and then wipe it on plastic patio furniture in a circular motion. Rinse well afterward. If your white patio furniture has lots its sparkling white sheen, try washing it with a mild dish detergent mixed with a gallon of water and throw in a half cup of bleach. Rinse it thoroughly and air dry. If you have stubborn stains, add white distilled vinegar to a clean rag and wipe down the furniture, then rinse.
How to Protect Patio Furniture
After cleaning plastic or metal furniture, try protecting it with a coat or two of automotive paste wax. If you’ve removed rust or paint while cleaning, then use a rust-resistant primer and paint to restore the finish.
How to Wash Outdoor Cushions
When your outdoor cushions have been in storage over the winter, that first cleaning will need a little extra TLC. Start by vacuuming off any spider webs and dirt that has collected over the winter months. If your cushions have zippered covers, then unzip them and run them on gentle through your washing machine. If not, get a bucket of warm water and add a squeeze of mild dishwashing soap. Use a sponge or soft scrub brush to give your cushions a good scrub. Let them soak for about 15 minutes then rinse with the garden hose. Squeeze out as much water as possible, then stand them upright and let them air dry completely.
How To Clean Your BBQ Grill
As we head into the grilling season, it is wise to be prepared. This overview outlines the basics for cleaning outdoor grills. While it makes sense to do this at the top of the season, it is a process that should be repeated often. Regularly cleaning the grill will ensure that all your food doesn’t start tasting the same, thanks to the leftover bits from grilling moments of days gone by.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- A bucket of hot water
- Work gloves
- A grill brush
- Regular dish soap
- Paper towels
- Aluminum foil
- A garden hose with a spray attachment
STEP #1: Disconnect gas and soak the grates
Be sure that all your dials are in the off position and that your grill is completely disconnected from the propane tank or gas outlet. Remove the grates and the metal plates underneath them. Put them in the bucket of hot water with the dish soap. Remove the drip pan too.
STEP #2: Get under the hood
Residue can build up under the hood from the grease and smoke of everyday grilling. Cover the heating elements loosely with a large piece of aluminum foil, then scrub the underside of the hood with the grill brush.
STEP #3: Clean the Interior Walls
Use the grill brush to scrub the interior walls above the elements. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the walls down.
STEP #4: Scrub and Rinse the Grates
Now that those grates have had some good soaking time, go ahead and take them out of the bucket, lean them against a wall and rinse them with the garden hose.
STEP #5: Put It All Back Together
Throw away the aluminum foil and put the metal plate, grates and drip pan back in their proper places. Reconnect the gas to the grill.
STEP #6: Sweep Out the Cabinet
For grills with cabinets or shelving, take a broom and sweep away any leaves or debris. Use damp paper towels to clear away any layers of dirt.
STEP #7: Shine Up the Exterior
Give the outside a finishing shine using paper towels and glass cleaner or stainless steel wipes.
Done Cleaning Your Home’s Exterior and Now on to…ENTERTAINING!
Need help with outdoor entertaining? Check out our Outdoor Entertaining Ideas for inspiration.