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Enjoy Your Backyard Again! Use These Quick Tricks to Get Your Space in Tip-Top Shape

If you’ve been putting off cleaning your backyard area, now is the time. From reviving patio furniture and fire pits to unsticking sliding doors, our easy expert tips get your outdoor space in tip-top shape so you can enjoy the warm days all season long.

Restore a fire pit with white vinegar.

Your fire pit adds beauty to your backyard, but after exposure to the elements, it may begin to rust. To restore it without hard scrubbing, try this method from landscaping expert Bryan McKenzie of

“Dampen a cloth with white vinegar, then rub down the rusty metal,” he says. “Let sit for 10 minutes before rinsing and wiping clean. Acidic vinegar eats through the rust, leaving the metal surface underneath unharmed.”

De-grime a grill with onion.

Everyone looks forward to summer grilling, but getting caked-on grease and food bits off the grates can be a hassle. The fix? Just reach for an onion, says Surinder Multani, owner of “Turn the grill on hot. Cut an onion in half, then rub the onion —cut side down — along the grates. The acids help break up and remove buildup, no scrubbing needed. In fact, it’s safer than using a grill brush, which can leave tiny metal fibers behind that can get in your food.”

Bonus tip: If you have a really grimy grill, check out this tutorial on how to get it squeaky clean.

Unstick a sliding door with vegetable oil.

Trouble opening your sliding patio door? The track may be clogged with gunk. The fix: “Lift debris out of the track using the hose attachment on your vacuum,” says Docia Boylen, owner of Then add 1 part vegetable oil and 3 parts water to a spray bottle and spritz the track. The oil dissolves any stuck-on dirt fast and helps the door slide with ease.

Renew outdoor cushions with baking soda.

To clean pollen-coated cushion covers, add ¼ cup of baking soda to the wash cycle, says Clive Harris of “The baking soda scrubs and lifts pollen out of fabric, leaving covers looking like new. And since baking soda is a natural deodorizer, they’ll smell great too!”

Perk up faded wood furniture with black tea.

Reviving weather-weary wood patio furniture is as easy as reaching for a damp black tea bag and rubbing it over the wood, says McKenzie. “Black tea is high in pigmented tannins, which soak into the wood and darken the color, almost like a light stain. It even makes small scratches vanish.” To seal it, buff with furniture polish.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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