Entertaining family and friends outdoors is one of the perks of summer. Before you welcome your guests to your next summer soiree or barbecue, follow our green cleaning tips to get your outdoor space ready. Your furniture, grill, patio and deck will be ready to take on the dog days of summer. In addition to impressing your guests, you”ll feel great knowing you’re not using harsh chemicals that can damage the environment you enjoy being surrounded by.
After sitting in storage all winter, outdoor chairs and tables can have caked-on dirt, cobwebs, and grease. Clean the grime off with a baking soda solution, using 1 cup baking soda added to some warm water. Clean the furniture with the solution followed by a thorough rinse.
White wicker furniture can show signs of wear-and-tear if left out in the elements. You can help keep it from yellowing by scrubbing it periodically with a brush that you have first wet with salt water. Scrub every nook and cranny and rinse thoroughly.
To clean metal lawn chairs, start with a gallon of warm water. Add 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, a squirt of natural dish soap and a scoop of borax. Spray the solution onto the metal chairs and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Follow by scrubbing with a soft nylon brush and rinse off with a hose.
Deck and patio
Your deck and patio get a ton of foot traffic and are prone to collecting stains and dirt. If your wooden deck becomes stained with suntan lotion or grease from a grill, sprinkle baking soda on it immediately and let it sit for an hour. After brushing away the baking soda with a broom, check to see if any of the stain remains. If so, repeat the procedure. Keep some white vinegar in a spray bottle and use it wherever you see any mildew growth or to remove stubborn stains.
Nothing is more unappealing and unappetizing (not to mention unhealthy) than grilling on a barbecue that has layers of grease and grime stuck to it. If you have stubborn, charred remains on the racks, try treating those areas with a vinegar and baking soda mix. First apply baking soda and then dab with vinegar to get the foamy action started. Use a brush to scrub off the charred remains. Rinse your grill racks thoroughly before using them again. You can also try citrus-based cleaners which are good for helping to remove grease.
After enduring the elements all winter your screens probably have a film of dirt, dust and tree leaves stuck to them. Remove the screens and place them into a tub or on an outdoor hard surface. Dip a damp wire brush into baking soda and gently scrub; rinse the screens thoroughly with a hose. For stubborn dirt, use a mild soap and warm water solution. Rinse clean and air dry.
Clean the exterior of your house
You know what they say, “first impressions count.” Give your guests a great first impression of your home by cleaning the exterior. You can clean your home non-toxically using just water and a pressure washer. Before you pull out the heavy-duty spray, read the instruction manual for safety and usage tips and to find out what method is best for your particular exterior. If you have hard-to-reach areas that need to be cleaned or if your house is tall, it may be best to hire a professional for your safety.
Remember: you’re going to get wet when pressure washing and that puts you at risk of receiving an electrical shock from wires and exterior outlets. Look overhead to check for power lines before placing or extending ladders. Avoid blasting the house’s electrical meter, exterior outlets and exterior lights.
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