patio

Preparing Your Outdoor Space for Entertaining

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This guest blog is brought to us by The Safety Mom, Alison Jacobson.  

I love entertaining in the summer.  It can be casual and spontaneous and easy to throw together.  I’m not a Martha Stewart wannabe – way too much stress – but I certainly like creating a nice outdoor space.

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Here are some easy tips for keeping your outdoor furniture and accessories looking fresh and staying clean.

1. Furniture: I definitely noticed mildew on some of my chairs when I brought them out from the garage. Mildew is a form of mold that develops most easily in a dark, damp, and warm environment. Not only can it cause discoloration to your furniture, it can also cause health problems. No matter what sort of furniture you have, there are some easy ways to clean it.

If you have wood furniture use a mixture of 1 cup of ammonia, ½ cup of white vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda and a gallon of water.  Use a sponge or cloth to wipe them down.  For metal furniture, it’s even easier.  Just clean it with a mild soap and water.  Wicker’s much trickier as there are some many crevices.  It’s way too much work in my opinion which is why I’ve always stayed away from it.  But, if wicker’s your thing once again use a mild soap and water and an old toothbrush to clean as many areas you can reach.  For other areas, a power washer on the lowest setting is your best bet.

2. Cushions: In most cases, bleach will be too harsh when cleaning your cushions. Just use a mild detergent and water and let soak for 10 minutes. If there’s mildew add ¼ cup borax to the water.  For stubborn stains, you might have to use a scrub brush.  After 10 minutes rinse thoroughly with a hose, squeeze out as much water as you can and let dry thoroughly outside.  Make sure they’re completely dry or mildew could start growing.

3. Umbrellas: Regular cleaning of your umbrella will keep it lasting a long time. First, check if the canopy can be removed. If so, lay it on a tarp and clean it using mild soap, such as dishwashing soap, and water. Don’t use a soap that is harsh or abrasive; it could damage the fabric of the umbrella.

If you smell mildew, see some mold or have a tough stain that isn’t coming out use a combination of 1 cup of bleach and 1/4 cup of mild soap for every gallon of water. Work the cleaner into the stain and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Then, use a mild scrub brush to whisk the mark away.

Once you’re done cleaning it, allow it to thoroughly dry in the sun before reattaching it to the stand.

When cleaning mold and mildew, it is helpful to use cleaning supplies that are protected from the growth of mold and mildew, so that you are not cleaning one product, just to dirty up another.  Quickie cleaning supplies, including a number of easy-to-use handheld brushes feature Microban product protection, so they stay cleaner.

4. Check your surface: Maintain your wood deck surface and check often for splintering boards, wobbly rails, and rotting posts. Regularly sweep it but at least once a year give it a good cleaning. Use a garden hose with a spray attachment to wash the surface of the deck and rinse it clean. Use the highest or most powerful setting on the sprayer and aim it directly at muddied or heavily soiled spots to remove as much of the dirt as possible.  Finally use some laundry detergent mixed with water or a commercial cleaning solution to mop down the deck.  Hose it down once more when you’re done to rinse of the detergent. You also want to reseal the wood to keep it looking nice.

If you have a stone patio scrub any stains using a detergent dishwashing liquid. To remove mold, moss and mildew add bleach to the water and scrub with a brush.  Rinse it off with fresh water.

You will also want to make sure any cracks or vulnerable areas in your grout and sealant are repaired.  If you are using outdoor grout, you will want to look for a product that features an added layer of protection against the growth of mold and mildew.  Stains in the grout line can be difficult to clean, so it’s easier in the long run to choose a product that won’t have that issue.  Custom Building Solutions offers a number of grout products with Microban technology to remain cleaner between cleanings.

Maintaining your patio and deck is definitely not my idea of a relaxing weekend activity but it will provide a beautiful area to entertain and enjoy.

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