I just finished making my grocery list for this weekend’s 4th of July cookout, and dug out the outdoor dinnerware, tablecloths, and cooking tools. Then, when I went outside to count chairs and plan how to seat everyone, I realized I hadn’t cleaned off the deck or porch yet.
Earlier this spring I swept up all the yard debris left over from the winter and even hosed down the pollen, but it sure needs it again before we try to set up a picnic outside.
My task today is to give the outside entertaining areas a good, thorough cleaning. Here’s my plan of attack:
Step 1: Choose your cleaning solutions.
Good old white vinegar works for me. It’s inexpensive, effective, multi-purpose, and safe. Your outdoor space has several cleaning challenges you have to face, possibly including ant hills, weeds, mold, rust, and stains. White vinegar tackles all these problems.
Step 2: Move everything off your patio.
Take everything to another area off the patio. This is a good time to sort out all your furniture, toys, and potted plant containers to see what needs to be discarded. You’ll want to be able to see your entire outdoor surface area in order to inspect and clean it.
Step 3: Take care of problem areas first.
Pull any large weeds coming up around the edges or cracks in the patio, sweep away the dirt, and apply a healthy dose of white vinegar to all the cracks and crevices. This will kill any smaller weeds lingering below.
If you have ants, pour full strength white vinegar in the ant hills and along their trails. They won’t like that in the least and will disappear.
Furniture and potted plants can leave stains on the patio. These can be scrubbed away with a little white vinegar and a touch of dish soap.
Step 4: Give the whole floor a scrub.
Get a good, sturdy broom, preferably a push broom, and sweep the entire surface. Hook up your hose, fill a bucket with water, and splash in about a cup of white vinegar. Throw that water down and use your broom to swoosh the entire patio clean. Take your hose, attach a spray nozzle, and give the patio a power rinse. Fresh as a daisy!
Step 5: Clean your furniture.
A mild solution of white vinegar in warm water, mixed with a touch of dish soap (if you like the bubbles) makes an excellent all-purpose furniture cleaner. Set up your exiled furniture on a grassy area outside the patio. Use a soft brush or cloth and wash down every inch of those chairs and tables. If mold was a problem on your furniture, it won’t be any longer. Give everything a rinse with fresh water and your outdoor furniture will sparkle. Mom, this is a good kid project!
Step 6: Move back in and take time to smell the roses.
Go ahead and bring your furniture back in and set it up. If it’s too early in your region to think of planting flowers, your work is done for now. If it’s time for flowers where you live, go ahead and move in some of your potted plants, or start visiting the nurseries for ideas. This is the fun part!
Now that you’ve gotten your outdoor living area clean and smelling fresh, grab that cup of coffee we were talking about earlier, and enjoy!
I hope you’ll have a pleasant, relaxing, and fun 4th of July surrounded by family and friends, and of course lots of great food!
Ready to tackle some of your own tough cleaning jobs? Take a look at our Spring Cleaning Guide to get great ideas for those big chores – and the little ones, too.