The temps are finally warming up outside, so I’m getting ready to take the covers off my outdoor furniture, unfurl my patio umbrella, inspect my deck for any loose nails or splintered wood, and spruce it all up so my outdoor dining area is ready for action when I fire up the grill. Here’s how I get the job done the right way:

 To clean plastic or resin patio furniture, try…

·        Washing the plastic with a mixture of 3 tablespoon of dishwasher detergent in 1 gallon of hot water. Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes, and then rinse it thoroughly. Be sure to wear long rubber gloves to protect your skin.

·        Scrubbing the pieces with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of powdered oxygenated bleach (like OxiClean® Versatile Stain Remover) in 1 gallon of warm water. Use a nonabrasive plastic scrubbie and plenty of elbow grease.

·        Restoring the shine by wiping the surface with a cloth that’s been sprayed with WD-40®. Buff off the solvent with a clean, dry cloth.

While your furniture is drying in the sunshine, here’s how to swab your deck to get it looking ship-shape:

To avoid a patchy look, you need to clean the entire deck. So don’t bother spot cleaning the surface. Try a household floor cleaner like Spic and Span®, or mix 1 cup of bleach into a gallon of warm water. Make this potion outside, so you don’t breathe in the fumes from the bleach, and wear rubber gloves, goggles, a long-sleeved shirt, and old pants to guard against splashes. Then cover all surrounding vegetation, buildings, and materials with plastic, so they don’t get damaged by any overspray. Scrub the deck just as you would your kitchen floor—but use a stiff push broom instead of a mop. Rinse the deck thoroughly after you scrub it, and you’re done.

Looking for more smart tips, fast tricks, and DIY solutions that’ll leave your outdoor living areas looking bright and feeling sparkling clean? Check out my Cleaning Magic! book—FREE for 21 days! It’s filled with thousands of dirt-defying secrets.

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