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How To Keep Your Outdoor Living Space As Clean As Your Indoor One


Summer’s here: Time to get the grill cleaned and ready to go. Photo by goodmami (Flickr)

We keep our indoors clean, but what about our outdoors? Outside often falls by the wayside, until we holler at the kids to quit tracking dirt inside. Summertime is outdoor fun time, so you want to keep your backyard and patio areas clean and accessible, not only for the times when you have family and friends over but also to prevent everyone from tracking dirt inside the house. Let’s talk about how to keep your outdoor living space as clean as your indoor one.

Clean the Glass

Let’s begin by cleaning the outsides of your windows and all glass accents in your yard decor and patio furniture. Mix a solution of water, white vinegar (a cup should be more than enough), and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap or baby shampoo in a bucket. Using a soft cloth or sponge, wipe down all windows, outdoor table glass, lantern glass, patio light glass, and so on until clean. Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.

Furniture’s Next

Now it’s time to clean the patio furniture. A general cleaning recipe that is safe for all types of patio furniture is 1 teaspoon of biodegradable dish-washing detergent and 1 tablespoon of borax mixed in 1 quart of warm water. Using a soft sponge (not a scrubber sponge, as that will scratch aluminum and plastic furniture), gently wipe down all furniture surfaces until clean. If your patio seats and umbrella are made of canvas, you might be able to remove the material and machine-wash it. If not, wipe that down, too, and rinse everything with fresh water when done.

Don’t Forget the Grill and Fire Pit

Summer means barbecues and evenings around the fire pit, or at least, it does for me. Make sure these important components of the perfect backyard party are clean and in working order for warmer weather. Clean your grill with baking soda and lemon juice, clean your barbecue’s working components per the manufacturer’s directions, and make sure your propane tank is full and ready to go. The same goes for your fire pit; it’s best to clean it per the manufacturer’s instructions if it’s fueled by natural gas or propane. If it’s wood-burning, clean out the ashes and wipe down the safety grill.

Patio and Deck Time

Now that everything else on your patio is clean, it’s time to clean the patio itself. Carefully move all of your outdoor furniture and decor to a safe place. This includes potted and hanging plants and any other types of decor. Do not turn on the hose and wash down your patios and decks. Rather, sweep everything clean to avoid dirt and grime being stuck onto the patio and deck by moisture. Once you’ve swept your patio and deck, clean them according to their material. In other words:

  • Wood: Wooden decks and patios are a tough bird when it comes to cleaning them naturally. You want to clean them, but you don’t want to use a power washer or acidic cleaners, as they might damage the wood. For this, I recommend going to your home improvement store and selecting an eco-friendly wooden deck cleaner and protectant.
  • Concrete: You can usually clean your concrete patios with a simple solution of dish soap and hot water. Take a stiff broom and work on the areas that are particularly dirty, and then rinse lightly with a hose. You don’t want to waste too much water, so rinse as sparingly as possible. For tough stains, try adding baking soda or borax to your cleaning solution.
  • Stone or Brick: Here’s another patio surface you do not want to power-wash; it’s certain you’ll ruin your stone. Rather, clean your stone or brick patio with warm water and dish soap (about a tablespoon will do). Try cleaning dirtier areas with a soft cloth or sponge first to avoid damaging the stone. If that doesn’t work, use a soft-bristled nylon push broom and then rinse everything clean sparingly with fresh water, and replace your furniture and décor when dry.

That’s it! You’re done and ready for some summer fun in the sun and cool relaxation in the evenings. A sparkling clean patio and backyard area invites your friends and neighbors to stop by for a wonderful visit, and it makes family time outdoors even more special as well!

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