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5 Outdoor Cleaning Tricks That’ll Make Your Yard Your Favorite Place All Summer


Spending time outside is what summer is all about! Our pro cleaning tricks will turn your yard or patio into a relaxing haven fast — no scrubbing required.

Renew plastic chairs with shaving cream.

To restore plastic lawn chairs to their former glory, just foam on shaving cream, rub it in and leave for 10 minutes, says Joey Green, author of Fix-It Magic (Buy on Amazon, $16.47). “Shaving cream is really just condensed soap,” he reveals. “It loosens tough stains and wipes away more easily than commercial cleaners.” Plus, it’s nonabrasive and won’t harm surfaces, whether those of outdoor chairs or your grandkids’ plastic playhouse.

Clean a grill with an onion.

You love biting into a juicy burger fresh off the grill. But cleaning up afterward? Not so much. To lift grime fast, simply spear a halved onion with a metal fork, pour a bit of cooking oil on the cut side and use it to scrub the stillwarm grate. Onions contain allicin, a natural antimicrobial, as well other enzymes that banish stubborn gunk, while the cooking oil offers a layer of nonstick protection for the next time you grill.

Polish wood furniture fast with olive oil ‘moisturizer.’

Harsh winter conditions may have faded your wooden patio furniture, but you don’t need to buy pricey polish. “Just apply a bit of olive oil to the surface and leave for 10 minutes, then buff with a cloth,” says Leslie Reichert, author of The Joy of Cleaning (Buy on Amazon, $14.95). The oil moisturizes and protects wood from damaging elements like rain and sun. Bonus: Fatty acids in olive oil minimize small nicks on wood. Apply to the scratch, let sit 24 hours and wipe.

Prep your patio umbrella with a tea tree oil solution.

To easily lift mildew from your patio umbrella, just combine one gallon of water, one cup of white vinegar, and 20 drops of tea tree oil in a bucket and use a sponge to wipe down the umbrella with the solution. The white vinegar and tea tree oil will attack the mildew that builds up in the umbrella’s folds. After a few minutes, simply hose it down and let dry completely.

Revive outdoor cushions with a white vinegar spritz.

You happily break out your outdoor cushions, but in the middle of the pretty patterns, you spot mold stains. The fix: white vinegar. “It destroys mold,” says Reichert. In fact, studies show vinegar is even more effective than bleach because it knocks out surface spores, preventing mold from growing back. On the list of patio cleaning tricks, this one is super versatile. “Pour a bit of undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle and spritz the affected area; leave for an hour, then wipe with a damp sponge.”

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

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